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A Hattrick of Metaphors

March 1, 2013

They teased us with the agenda and made us believe Superintendent Barresi was going to address the OU/OSU report on the A-F grades. We should have known not to get our hopes up. She basically said in five minutes that people around the state have been telling her how much the report cards mean to her.

Several hours into yesterday’s meeting, the Board took public comments, and a slew of metaphors developed. There were cogs in wheels. There was an explanation of how hard it is to turn a cruise ship. And remarkably there was a question about whether we should be hunting elephants instead of squirrels. One board member said that he still hadn’t read the study. One suggested the rules provide for more incremental grades (+/-), which would probably be agreeable to many people.

Superintendents have read the study. They know that the rules are deeply flawed and that the proposed rule revisions really don’t fix this. All of this discussion and rule development means one thing for certain: schools won’t know the rules until the school year has ended.

This morning, I predicted several statements that would be made in defense of the A-F Report Cards. Of those, the only thing that materialized was the defense of the process.

I also expressed hope that some key questions would be asked. The pointed question I heard was about why, with the long list of problems with the process, are the proposed changes so limited. They also discussed whether they can only accept public comments on the proposed changes or the rules as a whole. That’s an important distinction to make.

For example, the proposed changes do not address the faulty metric used to assign the Student Achievement Index. Can the SDE be responsive to points raised during the public comment period (which runs through March 25) if they address this metric? I honestly do not know the answer to that.

I listened to the audio of the board meeting, which is why I didn’t get this posted last night. And this is all I really took from that.

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