Letter of Transmittal
Oklahoma Advisory Committee to
the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
of the Commission
Mary Frances Berry, Chairperson
Cruz Reynoso, Vice Chairperson
Carl A. Anderson
Christopher F. Edley, Jr.
Yvonne Y. Lee
Elsie M. Meeks
Russell G. Redenbaugh
Ruby G. Moy, Staff Director
The Oklahoma Advisory Committee submits this summary report, Equal Educational Opportunity for Hispanic Students in the Oklahoma City Public Schools. As part of its responsibility to advise the Commission on civil rights issues in Oklahoma, the Advisory Committee on September 29, 1998, held a community forum on educational equity in Oklahoma City. The Committee invited knowledgeable persons and school district personnel to provide their perspectives on the subject noted above.
The Advisory Committee found that there is a serious problem in the large number of student suspensions at both the elementary and secondary schools in the school district. The Committee’s review also showed that there are different methods and procedures for counting dropouts at the school district and State levels.
The Advisory Committee also received information on the use of waivers to exempt Hispanic students from taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. The school district claims that the exemption is for the benefit of limited-English-proficient students. However, community advocates claim that the waiver is a form of discrimination that targets Hispanic students and does not allow the school district to properly assess their educational potential. Overall several presenters recommended that the number of bilingual teachers and bilingual school personnel be increased, more improvement to the curriculum, more parental involvement, and removing the language barriers that hamper communications.
The Advisory Committee believes that the school district, community agencies, and the Hispanic Advisory Committee to the school district working together in Oklahoma City are capable of improving education for the students of color in the areas of school suspensions, dropouts, testing programs, and curriculum innovations.
The Advisory Committee hopes that the community forum and the information received from the presenters will be beneficial to the residents of Oklahoma City.
Stephanie C. Hudson, Chairperson
Oklahoma Advisory Committee