Indianapolis’s Christel House Academy South charter school saw its state grade rise this year thanks to a back-door intervention — again.
For the second time in three years, changes to the state’s grading formula, made after preliminary grades were assigned, raised the grade.
This time, it was the Indiana State Board of Education that voted to give Christel House a B in place of the D recommended by State Superintendent Glenda Ritz. Only Ritz voted no. The new grade was be official when the board voted to approve all the school grades on Wednesday morning, but the larger decision was delayed due to incomplete data from the Legislative Service Agency.
That angered advocates for traditional public schools, who have complained Christel House gets special treatment because founder Christel DeHaan, is an influential philanthropist, has supported education reforms favored by Republicans.
“They’re changing the rules as they go to play favorites,” Indiana Teachers Association President Teresa Meredith said. “That’s not right.”
But Christel House CEO Carey Dahncke argued the school’s circumstances were unique, making a D unfair. Changing the grade was the right thing to do because the school simply did not fit the mold expected by the model that calculated it deserved a D, he said.
“The incomplete model has a very high likelihood of penalizing schools,” he said . . .