Ben, it is essential that you report the facts around the development of both
UCAS and this grading system. Both of these programs were a direct result of
laws submitted and designed by Parents for Choice, the voucher proponents.When meeting with Niederhauser prior to the release of grades, his
comments toward the very concerns he is expressing NOW was to tell the education
experts that nothing they were telling him was "compelling" enough to
delay release. I believe that he did not count on the backlash!Also,
parent "trigger", the ability to flip a neighborhood public school to a
for-profit charter, is on the Master Study Resolution. The grading is a
precursor to this next step in destroying our public schools. The irony is that
a very few charters do better than our neighborhood public schools-those that do
serve a homogenous student population.Time to "cap" the
number of charter schools. We need to invest in the schools we have now and stop
diluting our funds by sending money to start-up schools which do not outperform
our neighborhood schools!
The community council member from Logan has it right, the local school people
have the insight on what the school needs to do to improve. Parents and School
Staff working together create a school improvement plan as described by another
person in the article. A grading system designed by non-educators based
primarily on test scores gives very little information to anybody, parents or
Not surprised. Public schools are a joke. Kids can learn more, better, and
faster on a website like Khan Academy then from our (and by "our" I mean
Utah's and the US's) public schools. Part of the problem is that a lot
of what is taught in public schools is pretty useless Jeopardy type trivia.
This Utah system has been touted by Niederhauser and other legislators as being
modeled after the Florida grading program. Yet the Florida program included
and still includes significant funding to help schools improve their grades.
The Utah program only provides labels but no support to implement improvement.
Re: "The grading is a precursor to this next step in destroying our public
schools."That's just trade-union newspeak for
"accountability is making hidebound, union-controlled schools look
bad."And, all the blather regarding diversion of funds to
"schools that perform no better than what we have," merely diverts
attention from the unassailable fact that they perform no worse, either, and do
so at lower cost.Just as in ANY endeavor, competition is the key to
both excellence and economy.
re: "But Slye said the scores are frustrating because the requirement for
constant student improvement makes it difficult, if not impossible, for a
high-scoring school to maintain its grade."It SHOULD be
difficult to maintain a high grade! All of our schools should be making a
SIGNIFICANT effort to get better. Just because things are good, doesn't
mean they can't be better. In the corporate world, the best companies in
the world are engaged in what is called "continuous improvement". Most
of these firms are already best in their respective segments.And in
my experience, Utah schools can be MUCH better. We moved to Utah from back east
from schools that I would give an A- (maybe a B+ depending on the particular
school). After moving into what are considered some of the top schools in Utah,
trying to be completely objective, I would give these schools here a B or B-.
The key problems? 1) large class sizes. 2) too low of expectations for
students by parents and teachers. 3) too many young, inexperienced teachers.
4) over-emphasis on sports and extra-curricular activities 5) Too little
emphasis/resources on math, science, critical reasoning and writing.
It would help if, for a number of years, thee could be an equivalency graph
showing the A
This grading scheme really does not reflect the schools well. They should have
a report card, instead of a single grade.The report card should
include things like the following:Average daily attendancePercent student population moves outTest scoresStudent/Teacher
ratioPercent students graduate collegeCrime ratesMake a
report card so that a person can make an accurate determination about the
effectiveness of the school.
Good start to your list redhshirt but I would also include:No. of AP
tests taken and passedExtracurricular program success (athletics, arts,
music, clubs)Number of course offeringsPercentage of students going
on to collegeScholarship money earned (per pupil average)parental
satisfactionstudent satisfactionteacher satisfaction
It's time our legislators get behind public education instead of watching
from a distance and throwing rocks.