Ohio’s new school rating system already shocking many

Yesterday we wrote
about Ohio’s recent waiver application to the U.S. Department of Education for
relief from parts of the federal No Child Left Behind act and the proposed revamping
of the state’s reporting system for schools and districts. We also warned that
many parents, teachers, and students would be shocked by the results and that
there would be a push to water down the new system, insisting that it is unfair
and not accurate.

As we predicted, there have been several articles describing
the coming changes and what they mean for districts across the state. The Columbus
Dispatch
today quoted the superintendent of Bexley City Schools, a suburb
of Columbus, as saying, “I don’t know how a high-performing district like ours
and many others gets a B?” “It might be a way of communicating in the simplest
way but you miss a whole lot.” Bexley, currently rated Excellent with Distinction,
would fall to a B under the new system. 
Superintendents of currently high-performing districts in Montgomery
County will also see
a decline in their academic rating under the new system. Of the 28
districts in Montgomery that received a rating of Excellent with Distinction or Excellent on
the last report card, only three (Oakwood, Miami East, and Mason) would receive
an A with the new system.

We expected to see district leaders, teachers, and parents
to be surprised at how their districts and schools fare under the new system. As
Marc Schare, a member of the Worthington Board of Education stated,
“The notion that so many school districts in Ohio could be rated excellent or
effective is simply not possible given the remediation rates from kids going on
to Ohio colleges.” There will surely be much more backlash in the coming
months, but moving forward with this improved and honest rating system is the
right thing to do for our kids and their future.

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