Indiana District Abandons A-F Grading System; Are Others About to Follow?

From 21Live reporters Rachel Martin and Eric Dutkeywicz:

Fort Wayne Community Schools will no longer use a statewide A-F performance system to determine schools’ achievement.

The school board approved a resolution Monday night that “will no longer give public recognition to its schools based solely upon the letter grade assigned to a school under the Bennett A-F System.”

“The Bennett A-F System has been determined to have been corrupted.” Mark GiaQuinta, FWCS board president, says. “It is not a legitimate method by which to assess excellence in our classrooms.”

The vote was 6-1. Lisa Olinger voted against the resolution.

The board’s resolution says other criteria should be used to determine a school’s performance, including: closing of achievement gaps between groups of students, overall improvement of student body, skill and experience of school leaders, attendance rates, extracurricular activities, and disciplinary statistics.

GiaQuinta predicted earlier in the day that if the resolution passed, other districts would follow suit.  The Fort Wayne school board presidents is emerging as an important voice in Indiana. He wrote this in response to columnist Matthew Tully:

I will continue to take issue with your use of the word “reform” to describe the Bennett policies. Reform connotes improvement that has been proven. The policies initiated by Tony have not reformed anything yet. They have made a lot of people a lot of money. There may come a time when the results of these policies warrant the use of that term, but that day has yet to arrive. Until then, the policies are merely experiments. And if they fail, there will be a lot of young people who will have paid a dear price for Tony’s bluster.

Would a Florida district board be so bold?

More than 20 passed a resolution against high-stakes testing last year. The Associated Press, the Florida Times-Union and now the American Federation of Teachers are among those who have publicly made requests for FDOE emails in general and Tony Bennett’s in particular. Revelations of any creative manipulations of this year’s school grade safety net by Bennett and chief of staff, Dale Chu, would trigger an unprecedented onslaught to Florida’s entire accountability system. Resolutions against Florida’s school grade system wouldn’t be needed.


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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One Response to Indiana District Abandons A-F Grading System; Are Others About to Follow?

  1. camb88 says:

    The Fort Wayne School Board took a brave step, and its members are to be commended for doing the right thing for public schooling and for children. Other districts should follow their lead and stand up to the corporate reform scheme of privatization and profits for the few. Do the right thing.

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