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Grading school grades: Parents speak out on accountability scores

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  • squirt Taylorsville, ut
    Oct. 6, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    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!

  • jotab Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 9:23 a.m.

    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 educators.

  • Gunn4r Saint George, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 10:20 a.m.

    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.

  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 12:55 p.m.

    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.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 2:32 p.m.

    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.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 3:36 p.m.

    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.

  • grip Meridian, ID
    Oct. 6, 2013 4:49 p.m.

    It would help if, for a number of years, thee could be an equivalency graph showing the A

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Oct. 7, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    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 attendance
    Percent student population moves out
    Test scores
    Student/Teacher ratio
    Percent students graduate college
    Crime rates

    Make a report card so that a person can make an accurate determination about the effectiveness of the school.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Oct. 7, 2013 7:03 p.m.

    Good start to your list redhshirt but I would also include:

    No. of AP tests taken and passed
    Extracurricular program success (athletics, arts, music, clubs)
    Number of course offerings
    Percentage of students going on to college
    Scholarship money earned (per pupil average)
    parental satisfaction
    student satisfaction
    teacher satisfaction

  • wecandobetter logan, UT
    Oct. 8, 2013 4:49 p.m.

    It's time our legislators get behind public education instead of watching from a distance and throwing rocks.