Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What will happen this session regarding A-F school grading?

The A-F school grading bill was one of the more misguided pieces of legislation passed in the last session.  Implementation of this measure will unfairly affect high-poverty schools and exacerbate the current academic disparities that typify Virginia public education.
We cannot accurately reflect school performance across 34 mandated SOL exams, hundreds of state standards and regulations, and over 200 hundred evaluation components in the federal No Child Left Behind Act with a single letter grade “A-F.”

The current School Report Card published by the Virginia Department of Education lists more than 300 data points of school assessment.  So how might a single letter grade accurately reflect school performance across all of these standards and regulations?

VEA’s legislative agenda calls for the repeal of A-F, and Delegate Kaye Kory’s HB 318 does just that.

Interestingly, there are also a number of measures to alter the bill or delay implementation.  Delegate Krupicka’s HB 553 assigns 5 grades to each school.

Senator John Miller and Delegate Monty Mason have introduced similar bills to delay implementation, add additional measures to the formula used to derive the grade, and compare schools with similar demographics, HB 618 and SB324.

There are and probably will be other bills on this topic.  A-F will be a hot topic this session.

I write on the first day on the session – let’s hope by session’s end that we have a better measure for our schools.