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Local News

August 8, 2013

Cox: ‘Cookie-cutter’ approach doesn’t work in education

Ada —

A school superintendent with 28 years’ experience has joined the race to replace State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi.

Dr. John Cox, a Democrat who leads the Peggs school district in Cherokee County, recently declared his candidacy for the state superintendent’s office. He will face at least two rivals — longtime Oklahoma education official Jack Herron of Norman and Bennington Superintendent Donna Anderson — in the Democratic primary election, set for June 24, 2014.

Cox said Wednesday that he is disappointed with the state’s efforts to implement education reforms such as A-F report cards for public schools. He said the report cards could have been a valuable tool for measuring a school district’s performance, but the current system does not provide a true picture of how schools are doing.

“You can’t cookie-cut every school across the state and say one size fits every school,” he said.

The state released A-F report cards in October 2012, giving all public schools a grade of A, B, C, D or F. The report cards are designed to give students and parents an easy-to-understand snapshot of their school’s performance.

The report cards weren’t the only issue on Cox’s mind. He touched on a variety of education-related issues, including end-of-instruction exams, possible changes to the state’s public school system and his management style.

• End-of-instruction exams: Cox said he thought the state relies too heavily on high-stakes testing to determine whether high school seniors should receive diplomas. He said he thought local school boards should decide whether a student graduates from high school.

“Local boards, local communities know the price that student has paid throughout their educational career,” Cox said. “You need to allow local school boards to be the judge of that student and whether they should receive a diploma.”

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