Friday, December 20, 2013

Department Of Education Releases A To F Grades For State's Schools

The Department of Education released the A to F accountability grades for the state's schools today for the 2012-13 school year, and the grades indicate that statewide schools are performing better than the previous year. More than two-thirds (67%) of the state's schools received an A or B grade. That's up from 62% the previous school year. Even better, the percentage of schools earning a D or F grade fell from 20% to 16%. “These grades are a credit to the hard work of students, teachers, and families,” said Sarah O’Brien, District 4 representative to the board.  “It’s encouraging to see our schools make continued gains in student academic performance.”

Radio talk show host Amos Brown broke down the numbers for Indianapolis schools and, like the statewide results, he found improvement in the overall grades, although the city's charter schools fared worse than the previous year. Brown found 28 schools in the city receiving a failing grade, which is down from 36 the previous year. The number of failing charter schools in the city jumped to 7 from 4. The list of failing charter schools includes the Christel House Academy, which was the source of controversy that led to former Supt. of Education Tony Bennett's ouster from his new job in charge of Florida's schools after it was revealed that he changed last year's grading to improve the schools grade from a "C" to an "A." The Gulen-affiliated Indiana Math & Science Academy received a failing grade compared to the "B" grade it earned the previous school year.

Overall, six charter schools earned an "A" compared to fourteen earning a "D" (7) or "F"(7). Four of the failing charter schools in Indianapolis includes those administered by the Mayor's Office, while two are administered by Ball State University. Overall, six of the charter schools administered by the Mayor's Office earned an "A" compared to eight that earned a "D" or "F." Ball State's best charter school only earned a "C", while three earned a "D" in addition to the two earning an "F." Brown also found that the failing IPS schools taken over by Mayor Greg Ballard's Charter School Office (Arlington, Howe, Manuel and Emma Donnan) all received failing grades.

According to Chalkbeat, Christel Academy officials are blaming testing errors last spring for the school's failing grade this year. CEO Carey Dahncke claimed that 90% of the students who passed state tests the previous year but failed the most recent test were among the students bounced offline while the test was being administered. “That was the common element,” he said. “It is due to the testing disruptions.” The school's appeal of its failing grade was turned down by the state. Click here to use Chalkbeat's search engine to find out how schools across the state fared.

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