Education

in the City of Tulsa

Education serves as the gateway to equality and a more inclusive society. Educating students and nurturing their curiosity for lifelong learning and achievement is a central function of school systems. Many factors, both inside and outside of the school system, impact how students experience their formal education. The Education theme analyzes inequalities by race, income, English proficiency, and geography.

The Education theme explores inequalities by race, income, language, and geography.

The topics in the Education theme are Impediment to Learning, Quality and Opportunity, and Student Achievement.

You can see a snapshot of the indicators averaged in this theme in the chart to your right and then visit the sections below for more detail.

Read our recent blogs about Education…

Impediment to Learning

The indicators in the Impediment to Learning topic are:
  • Race & Suspensions
  • Race & Chronic Absenteeism
  • Income & Dropping Out
Impediments to learning include circumstances that remove students from the classroom. Racial and economic disparities exist in suspensions, chronic absenteeism, and dropout rates. Irregular classroom time can have a negative effect on both immediate and long-term student success. In addition to impacting the suspended, absent, and dropped-out students, these events can cause direct and indirect disruptions to the rest of the students in the class. Look at the chart to your right for an overall picture of this topic, and then look at each indicator and the scores in context for more detail and additional findings.

Indicators within Impediment to Learning

  • Race & Suspensions

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of suspension rates of Black to Hispanic students

    What are the Results?
    Black: 13.7%; Hispanic: 4.9%

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
     2.796

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    35

    What Did We Find?
    Missing days of school is detrimental to a student’s academic success. Elementary schools in the Tulsa Public Schools district with a primarily Black student population suspend students at a rate seven times that of schools that are primarily White. Schools that are primarily Hispanic / Latino have twice the rate of suspensions as primarily White schools.

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Tulsa Public Schools, Suspension counts for SY 2016-17 & SY 2017-18 (by request)

    Note
    This indicator has changed in two ways for the 2019 report. First, due to better data availability,
    we were able to compare suspension rates at the student level rather than at the school level, which we initially did in 2018. Based on this revised analysis, it was revealed that the greatest
    disparity in the baseline year was between Black and Hispanic students, rather than between Black and White students (which were the groups identified when the comparison was by school).

  • Race & Chronic Absenteeism

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of chronic absenteeism rates of Native American to Asian/Pacific Islander students

    What are the Results?
    Native American: 28.9%; Asian/Pacific Islander: 14.4%

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    2.010

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    40

    What Did We Find?
    Student mobility is when a student changes schools during a school year. Student mobility can be voluntary (for example, moving) or involuntary (for example, following expulsion from another school). Changing schools, especially when it occurs frequently, can have a negative effect on students’ academic achievement. In the Tulsa Public Schools district, primarily Black elementary schools have over a five and a half times higher student mobility rate than primarily White elementary schools. Primarily Hispanic / Latino elementary schools have about a two and a half times higher mobility rate than White schools.

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma School Report Card, SY 2017-18; Tulsa Public Schools, Chronic absenteeism counts, SY 2016-17 (by request)

  • Income & Dropping Out

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of dropout rates for economically disadvantaged to not economically disadvantaged students

    What are the Results?
    Lower income: 16.7%; Higher income: 7.1%

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    2.352

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    38

    What Did We Find?
    There is a huge disparity between income levels regarding dropout rates. Schools with primarily lower income students have a five times higher dropout rate than schools with primarily higher income.

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Tulsa Public Schools, Dropout counts for SY 2015-16 & 2016-17 (by request)

    Note
    Economically disadvantaged students are defined as those qualifying for the free and reduced lunch program. Due to better data availability, we were able to compare dropout rates at the student level rather than at the school level, which we initially did in 2018.

Quality and Opportunity

The indicators in the Quality and Opportunity topic are:
  • Geography & Emergency Teacher Certification
  • Race & Advanced Placement (AP) Courses
  • Income & School A-F Report Card Score
Various standards exist to measure educational quality and opportunity, locally and nationally. Students are often tested on an individual basis, and aggregate measures of schools, teachers, and/or students are used to evaluate the overall performance of an education system. A school’s quality can also be evaluated according to the resources and opportunities it provides its students. High school students who have access to AP courses have the opportunity to earn college credits before starting college, which benefits them both academically and financially. Ongoing state budget issues continue to greatly impact the financial health and the resources available to Oklahoma public schools. Across the state, public schools continue to experience a shortage of experienced and degreed teachers which results in very high levels of emergency teacher certifications. Look at the chart to your right for an overall picture of this topic, and then look at each indicator and the scores in context for more detail and additional findings.

Indicators within Quality and Opportunity

  • Geography & Emergency Teacher Certification

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of emergency teacher certifications per 1,000 teachers in Tulsa Public School (TPS) district to all other public school districts in Tulsa County

    What are the Results?
    TPS: 110.6; Other Tulsa County: 24.0

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    4.600

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    23

    What Did We Find?
    Emergency teacher certifications are granted to individuals who are not traditionally trained to be educators. They are granted emergency teaching certifications in order to get in the classroom as soon as possible. The teacher training process begins after being hired. Oklahoma schools are facing major shortages in educators and are relying more heavily on hiring individuals with no traditional teaching experience. In the TPS district, 110.6 out of 1,000 teachers have emergency teaching certifications, whereas the combined rate for the other schools in the county (including: Sand Springs, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Collinsville, Sperry, Union, Owasso, Glenpool, Liberty, Berryhill, Bixby, Skiatook, and Keystone) is a much lower 23.0 out of 1,000.

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Oklahoma State Department of Education, School Personnel Records, SY 2016-17 & 2017-18

    Note
    The 13 other public school districts in Tulsa County include: Sand Springs, Broken Arrow, Jenks,
    Collinsville, Sperry, Union, Owasso, Glenpool, Liberty, Berryhill, Bixby, Skiatook, and Keystone

  • Race & Advanced Placement (AP) Courses

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of rates of Advanced Placement courses offered at high schools with at least 35% White population to high schools with at least 35% Hispanic/Latinx population per 1,000 students

    What are the Results?
    White: 22.2; Hispanic/Latinx: 14.3

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
     1.554

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    58

    What Did We Find?
    AP courses have a number of benefits for high school students. Not only do AP courses provide students with a chance to learn how to prepare for college level classes, they can also count toward college credit in the future. This can be both time and cost-saving for students once they enter college. Primarily White schools offer two and half times more AP classes per 1,000 students (22.2) than primarily Hispanic/Latinx schools (14.3), but this number did raise from 8.6 for primarily Hispanic/Latinx schools in 2018 to 22.2 in 2019.

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Tulsa Public Schools, website, SY 2016-17, and data request, SY 2017-18

    Note
    The student demographics of many of Tulsa’s high schools reflect a predominant race – either White, Black, or Hispanic/Latinx. Based on those demographic distributions, we determined that 35% was the logical cut-off point, with a 10% margin over any other race, to best categorize the schools by race.

  • Income & School A-F Report Card Score

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of A-F report card scores for higher to lower income schools

    What are the Results?
    Higher income: 60; Lower income: 20

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    3.000

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    34

    What Did We Find?
    The A-F School Grading system is a tool meant to hold schools accountable for student achievement. In Tulsa, higher income schools score higher (60) than lower income scores (20) on the A-F School Grading system. Scores on the A-F school report cards are: A (90-100), B (80-89), C (70-79), D (60-69), and F (below 60).

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma School Report Card, SY 2017-18

    Note
    Higher income schools for this indicator are defined as those with less than 60% of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch, and lower income schools as those with at least 90% of students qualifying. Because a new A-F school report card methodology was developed and implemented by the Oklahoma State Department of Education beginning with the 2017-18 school year, yielding the prior system no longer comparable, the scores for 2017-18 school year are used for both the 2018 and 2019 report years.

Student Achievement

The indicators in the Student Achievement topic are:
  • Income & Elementary School Reading Proficiency
  • English Proficiency & Graduation
  • Race & College Completion
Student achievement can be measured at many levels. Reading and language arts proficiency in elementary school, high school graduation rates, and college completion are examples of achievement at three levels of the education system. Each of these achievement levels play a unique role in a student’s academic success and later employment and earnings potential. Look at the chart to your right for an overall picture of this topic, and then look at each indicator and the scores in context for more detail and additional findings.

Indicators within Student Achievement

  • Income & Elementary School Reading Proficiency

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of percentages of not economically disadvantaged to economically disadvantaged students scoring proficient or above on elementary school reading and language arts assessment

    What are the Results?
    Not economically disadvantaged: 38%; Economically disadvantaged: 20%

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    1.900

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    44

    What Did We Find?
    Reading proficiency is critical to not only a student’s academic performance overall, but also their economic opportunities later in life. There is a large disparity in reading proficiency for students who experience economic hardships. For TPS students, only 20% of students who are economically disadvantaged are proficient or advanced in reading and language arts, compared to 38% of students who are not economically disadvantaged.

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Oklahoma State Department of Education, SY 2015-16 & 2016-17

    Note
    Economically disadvantaged students are defined as those qualifying for the free and reduced lunch program.

  • English Proficiency & Graduation

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of high school cohort graduation rates for all students to English language learners (ELL)

    What are the Results?
    All students: 78%; ELL: 61%

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    1.279

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    72

    What Did We Find?
    Many students in Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) speak a language other than English at home. English language learners graduate with their class at a lower rate than their peers. Asian students have the highest four-year graduation rate followed by White students. Black and Hispanic/Latinx students graduate at nearly the same rate as the overall student population, while Native American students graduate at a somewhat lower rate.

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE), SY 2015-16 & 2016-17

  • Race & College Completion

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of the percentages of Black to Hispanic/Latinx persons age 25 and older who started college, but did not graduate with a degree

    What are the Results?
    Black: 28.5%; Hispanic/Latinx: 15.9%

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    1.792

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    49

    What Did We Find?
    Black adults age 25 and older are more likely than Hispanic/Latinx to have started college, but not graduate with a degree. Whites are the second most likely to start college without completing, followed by Native Americans. Asians are the most likely to have a college degree, followed by Whites, Native Americans, Blacks, and Hispanic/Latinx.

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    U.S. Census Bureau, 2016 & 2017 American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates