One of my favorite edu-parent-bloggers, Bill Ferriter, of The Tempered Radical, recently wrote about the North Carolina’s decision to assign letter grades to individual schools based on nothing more than test scores, a practice which I believe should be illegal.
It’s high time we started tearing down the belief that “grading” schools somehow informs parents or improves education. Not only does it unnecessarily worry parents, it’s unfairly blames teachers, increases segregation in our communities and undermines our public education system as a whole.
Grading schools is wrong
Here’s a bit of what Bill has to say about his state’s rating system, and it’s impact on his daughter’s school:
My daughter’s school is nothing short of a remarkable place. EVERY time that I stop by, I feel a sense of happiness from everyone that I meet. Students smile and skip and laugh and joke with each other and with their teachers. Teachers are relaxed and joyful, invested in each other and in their students. Provocative questions are being asked and answered, positive messages are being shared in conversations and in school-wide displays, and programs that concentrate on developing the whole child….
…But they were rated a C — which means something akin to “decidedly average” — by the State of North Carolina last week. And that has me worried…[My daughter] has role models to look up to who challenge her to be better than who she is — and I am convinced that those role models see her as something much more than just a test score…
…I am worried about is the consequences that a C rating will have on the choices that her teachers make.