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Approval of Tulsa Public Schools Accreditation Amidst Culture Clash with Republican Officials



Last Updated on August 25, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) in Oklahoma has received an upgraded accreditation status from the state school board. Despite concerns that TPS could have lost its accreditation during the 2023-2024 school year, the board has upgraded it to “accredited with deficiencies.” This decision follows the resignation of TPS Superintendent Deborah Gist, who has been embroiled in a battle with Republican officials, including Governor Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters.

Walters, known for his criticism of critical race theory and transgender athletes in girls’ sports, had threatened to revoke TPS’ accreditation and called for new leadership. However, Gist accused Walters of unfairly targeting the diverse school district. Her departure from TPS is scheduled for September 15, and Ebony Johnson will serve as interim superintendent.

This recent upgrade is significant for TPS, as it was previously demoted to “accreditation with warning” in July 2022 over allegations of violating a state law that prohibits the teaching of critical race theory. The Oklahoma Department of Education assigns five possible rankings to school districts, ranging from “accredited with no deficiencies” to “non-accredited.”

Despite the recent controversy, TPS continues to face challenges. The district currently ranks #505 out of 537 school districts in Oklahoma based on math and reading proficiency testing data. However, it boasts a diverse student body, with 78% of students identifying as people of color, placing it among the top 1% in terms of size and diversity.

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In addition to the disagreement over critical race theory, TPS has clashed with Governor Stitt regarding its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stitt has criticized TPS for its handling of the crisis and has called for a comprehensive national search to find Gist’s replacement.

With these recent developments, TPS and its new leadership will have to navigate a challenging landscape and work towards improving its academic performance while addressing the concerns raised by Republican officials. The upgraded accreditation status provides an opportunity for the district to reflect and implement necessary changes to ensure the success and quality of education for its diverse student population.

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Stephen is an experienced writer and journalist with a focus on MBA news and MBA jobs news. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for business and education, he has established himself as a leading voice in the MBA community. Stephen's writing on MBA news and MBA jobs news can be found in a variety of publications, including online news sources and job boards. His work covers a wide range of topics, from industry trends and emerging technologies to job market statistics and career development strategies. He is known for his insightful commentary and his ability to distill complex information into clear and concise language.

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