Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

August 21, 2013

Problems within A-to-F school ratings bear blame for anxiety

Problems within A-to-F school ratings are root of anxiety.

The long-unexplained calculations of the A-to-F school grading formula caused anxiety in school communities across Indiana.

The revelation that former state superintendent Tony Bennett and his staff scrambled to change the formula to ensure a charter school run by a top campaign donor received an A instead of a C caused anxiety, too.

Computer-system disruptions in the implementation of ISTEP tests, taken by Indiana students last spring, caused anxiety, as well.

Newspaper and television reports exposing and detailing those problems did not cause such anxieties. The problems caused the anxieties in Hoosiers who deserve to decide whether the state’s school accountability system is itself accountable.

Last week, Gov. Mike Pence rejected calls for a one-year suspension of the A-to-F letter grades for schools across Indiana. In his statement, Pence blamed the media for anxiety over the A-to-F school ratings. “I don’t think we should take a timeout on accountability,” Pence said Thursday, as reported by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. “We’ve got too many kids in this state that find themselves in under-performing and, in some cases, failing schools. And high standards and high accountability is and has been an important aspect of how we’ve made progress in Indiana.”

High standards are indeed important. So is a smooth, well-prepared, transparent method of setting and carrying out such standards. Few realistic people see such qualities in Indiana’s A-to-F school rating formula. Certainly, the situation surrounding the changing of the school grade for the Christel House charter school in Indianapolis raises doubt. The facility is operated by influential Republican campaign contributor Christel DeHaan.

The questionable nature of the changes led to calls for Bennett to resign as Florida’s schools commissioner, an appointed job he took in January after he lost re-election in Indiana last November. Bennett defended his actions, denied any wrongdoing and explained that the Christel House grades were changed to fix a flaw in the system that might penalize schools with odd grade configurations, including that particular K-through-10 charter school. However, four Indianapolis Public Schools officials say four IPS schools were denied similar consideration in 2011, which would have prevented them from receiving an F and undergoing a state takeover.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • 'Reads' panel narrows titles Howard County Reads, a program introduced in 2004 to cultivate a love of reading and promote a sense of community, is another step closer to selecting a book for its 10th anniversary.In February, county residents began nominating a favorite for consi

    August 1, 2014

  • LETTERS: Concert Series 'beautiful musical experience' Store employees should split prizeSeveral weeks ago, a winning lottery ticket was purchased at one of our larger grocery stores. What I’d like to know is why the upper-management get a large cash prize (which they don’t need) while the employees of t

    August 1, 2014

  • Work program requires buy-in from industry Good help is hard to find.That’s essentially what Indiana companies have insisted for several years. The state struggles with a “skills gap,” the firms explain. They need employees, but can’t find enough — or in some cases, any — qualified Hoosiers.

    August 1, 2014

  • Take a walk to school At the risk of sounding like “old fogies,” we remember walking to school when we were kids.Back in the day, that’s how it was. If it was within walking distance, you were walking to school.Today, like much else, it’s a very different picture. The vas

    July 31, 2014

  • DAN COATS: New Harmony marks its 200th anniversary Situated between St. Louis and Louisville, New Harmony is a small town in southwest Indiana smaller than 1 square mile in area. Fewer than 1,000 Hoosiers call this serene Posey County community home.Despite its size, the town has monumental significa

    July 31, 2014

  • LETTERS: Marriage culture in area must change Marriage culture in area must change Last week's article on the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Kids Count report caught my eye. While I'm happy that Indiana is improving in the educational domain, the poverty statistics are saddening. I was just s

    July 31, 2014

  • A lookat IU salaries Of the five highest paid employees of Indiana University, three are involved with athletics. That was the case in 2013 as well.In new evidence that spending on athletic department salaries is outpacing the rest of the university, if not the vast majo

    July 31, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Let's put lethal injection to sleep

    It was only a matter of time before this happened again; and I’m sad to say I’m not surprised at all.
    On July 22, the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for the killing of Arizona death row inmate James R. Wood III, who had filed suit requesting a delay until the state revealed the details of the drugs that would be used to end his life.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Plot a plan to quit now OK, so maybe today isn’t the perfect day to quit smoking. For years, the experts were preaching any day was a good day to quit, and they had annual campaigns encouraging people to give up the habit.The campaigns raised awareness, and they led many sm

    July 30, 2014

  • LETTERS: City should celebrate its young track star City should celebrate its young track starCongratulations to Tionna Brown, who has given the city of Kokomo the platform to acknowledge what commitment, perseverance, sacrifice and determination can do.I find this a unique opportunity for her Common

    July 30, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll