Should school ratings be available before start of new school year?

Back-to-school season is in full swing.?? Of the seven schools that Fordham authorizes, five have already opened their doors and by the middle of this week nearly all Ohio school kids will be back in classes. But it won't be till this Friday morning that the Ohio Department of Education will release annual report cards for both district and school performance.

The fact that families made determinations about where to send their children to school without the availability of academic performance data for the last school year wasn't lost on the Columbus Dispatch, which highlighted the problem in an article Sunday.

In the story, I expressed my frustration that parents are making school choice decisions for the new school year without the benefit of any data from last year. But, would such data matter? Would parents use it to make different decisions if it were available to them earlier? Maybe not, but the state surely has an obligation to make last year's performance data available to parents who might want it before they enroll their children in a charter school or an open enrollment district school this year ??? or who move to the state during the summer.

The state surely has an obligation to make last year's performance data available to parents who might want it before they enroll their children.

It is hard to stomach the thought that children have been enrolled in schools that will be rated F this year, and show little hope of being any better during 2010-11, and parents didn't have access to recent information from the state before enrolling their children in these schools.

Is it too much to ask the state to make data available in, say, July rather than the last Friday morning in August? Flypaper readers, do other states make performance data available earlier in the summer? Should we expect better in the Buckeye State?

- Terry Ryan

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