Are Some Indiana Legislators Looking to Scrap Tony Bennett’s School Grade System?


Incoming Florida education commissioner said in an interview with Gradebook’s Jeff Solochek, “I was the person who was described as bringing the Florida reforms to Indiana.”  Well it appears one of those reforms isn’t seen as so great to some Indiana legislators. Jeff Schultz of the Chesterton Tribune writes:

Her lips are sealed for now but Indiana State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, told the Chesterton Tribune she is authoring a “major” bill dealing with education that she will reveal next week as the Indiana General Assembly gets underway starting Monday afternoon.

Tallian, who represents all of Duneland, said she will hold a press conference to introduce the bill. All state legislators have until Jan. 11 to introduce legislation they have authored or co-authored.

On the topic of education, Tallian said she expects the current A to F grading system on schools implemented by former State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Bennett is going to be “thrown out.” That is one of the goals of newly elected Democrat Glenda Ritz, who beat Bennett in last November’s election.

Bennett’s system grades schools on an academic growth factor, encouraging schools to make better test scores. But many top-performing schools saw their grades fall this year, including Chesterton Middle School which went from an A in 2011 to a D in 2012, simply because of a lack of increase in the growth factor.

Tallian said she concurs with Ritz’s stance that the system is “too complicated” and many schools are not able to make sense of the grades they received.

“The bottom line is it makes no sense,” Tallian said, adding that even some of her colleagues on the Republican side would agree.

What? Republicans, you say?

Floridians are even more tired of Jeb Bush’s school grade system.  The editors of the Citrus County Chronicle noted this week that a troubling disconnect exists between an A school and poor graduation rates of at-risk kids. They observed that school grades  “just provides the who’s, what’s, when’s and where’s; it doesn’t address the why’s.”

It appears the Chronicle’s editors would agree with Tallian’s point that the system “makes no sense.” Tony Bennett is bringing “at least four people” from Indiana – all likely to be true believers in the Bush-Bennett way. Any opposition or skepticism will be met by  dismissive flurries of “accountable’s” and “accountability’s.” It’s as if they believe that if that they just keep saying it, it will make it true.

About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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