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More Office Supplies

October 26, 2012

Earlier this month, Superintendent Barresi expressed her disappointment with the 313 superintendents with the audacity to express their concerns over A-F Report Cards using an unfortunate insulting metaphor:

I’m very disappointed. Really what’s coming to mind is the kid that’s coming home from school as fast as they can to intercept the report card in the mail with some white-out to change the grade so mom and dad don’t know how they’re doing. Really? This is very sad.

Forget white-out. Use a big red Sharpie. Administrators and teachers should tell parents with all sincerity what they think of the report cards. Tell them that the weights just don’t make sense. Tell them that the deck is stacked against schools with high levels of poverty. Tell them if your calls about discrepancies in your calculations have never been returned. Tell them, as I said yesterday, that the needs of their children are what drive decision making, rather than an arbitrarily calculated letter.

A comment by reader Kate on last night’s post was one of my favorite ever:

They know the grades are wrong.  They don’t care.  Heck, they won’t even give the schools a spreadsheet so that they can see exactly how the calculations were made.  This isn’t transparency nor accountability.  It’s a con game.

That’s why so many high performing districts still continue to scrutinize both the process and the product. Critics received a stern talking to after yesterday’s unanimous State Board of Education vote to approve the report cards. I expect the communication between many districts and their community will reflect this continued mutual lack of confidence.

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  1. October 26, 2012 at 8:47 am

    When asked, I can explain and justify a student’s grade. I can tell a parent your child did well here, didn’t turn in this assignment, etc. Why can’t the SDE do the same? If I refused, I wouldn’t keep my job for very long. Plus, I find it insulting that I and my school received a grade when no one from the SDE ever set foot in my classroom, talked to any of my students or parents, or talked to me. That would be like me assigning a child a grade simply because I’d heard what king of student he/she was or saw a test score–but never had the child in class.

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