The new “A to F” grades for schools

Editor’s Note: In the 2013 legislative session, state Representative Brian Renegar plans to address new rules adopted by the State Department of Education that will grade school districts on student performance. Here is a compilation of his recent statements on the new “A to F” grades for schools, including the new system’s inclusion of the performance of students who take online courses or attend virtual schools:

To The Editor: 
I find it unfair that we will soon be grading school districts on factors outside of their control. How is it fair to grade a brick and mortar public school according to how well a virtual student performs?
As the Department of Education is incredibly supportive of virtual schools that don’t even exist yet, to the point of raiding money from very real public schools and students, my legislation will hold it accountable for the academic successes or failures of virtual courses and schools. If virtual students underperform on any areas, the Education Department would be accountable.
In addition, the Education Department thinks it’s appropriate to grade schools based on student attendance, so likewise, it will be graded on this criteria as it applies to the participation and completion rate of virtual students. 
As a reminder, the Education Department adopted standards in which it takes a 93.7% or higher to score an “A” grade.”
Why would the Education Department intentionally develop a formula in order to decrease the chances of schools receiving an “A” grade? Is the Department’s goal to make our public schools appear to be under-performing? If so, why?
Honestly, I am fed up with the loose use of the word “fair” when it comes to how our public schools are funded. I am frustrated with how the Education Department is prioritizing funding for charter and virtual schools over our public schools.
I am upset with school districts being forced to ask their patrons to approve bond issues or to ask for donations because the Department is placing our taxpayer dollars in the hands of private and for-profit virtual schools.
Right now the education evaluation standards in place for schools is anything but fair.


State Rep. Brian Renegar

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