Dear Parents, You’re Welcome. Sincerely, The Legislature

Viewmont Screen Shot School GradeDear Parents,

We want you to be able to make informed decisions on the school your child attends.  But we know you are not very bright.  We know you cannot comprehend multiple factors; that you need it really, really simple.  So we have something for you.  It’s the high fashion of school reform, the ultimate silver bullet, and requires absolutely no financial commitment from the Legislature!  You’ll love it because we love it!

It’s called: SCHOOL GRADING!

School grading gives you one letter grade that will represent EVERYTHING going on at your school while only taking into account a few factors.

Yes, we in the Legislature are doing amazing things working for you.  

For example, we’ve created a formula to measure academic growth so complex that, depending on who runs it, the results change.  

It’s truly miraculous!  

We’ve also been working hard at changing the high stakes testing that will affect your school’s grade.  We are moving from one testing system to a completely different one and this further complicates how we will measure academic growth.  But no worries, we’ll just tell the State Office of Education to make some stuff up to align these two scores, then next year we’ll rail on that office when the scores don’t correlate.

We realize proportionately more charter schools than traditional public schools received failing grades last year.  But we want to hold everyone to the exact same common standard, even if every school is different.  Because our schools are common and so we must have common standards in school grading!

In the Governor’s State of the State and in subsequent State Board of Education meetings there has been discussion of creating a school report card.  It seems that would put a lot of facts on one sheet of paper. Facts such as your school’s graduation rate, attendance, and third grade reading scores compared to district and statewide averages like on the current UCAS report.  Superfluous!

We have heard from parents that their students’ report cards have multiple grades, and when they know their little Johnny has a C in Math and an A in Reading parents feel they can help their child more effectively.  But wouldn’t it be more helpful if Johnny just came home with a B.  So. Much. Simpler.

We are opposed to a school report card because it makes things too complicated.  We want ONE GRADE, it’s for your sake.

Remember school grading is all about outcomes.  We hold firmly that schools must be accountable for outcomes, and that we will absolutely not consider inputs.  There is no consideration on our part of students beginning Kindergarten ready to learn.  Likewise in measuring outputs we simply measure graduation rates for example, and do not take into account high school students completing: concurrent enrollment courses, AP scores, UCAT certifications, or IB classes.  All of that information simply muddies the water.  

One final note, please do not get the impression that if your school received a D last year and a C this year that your school is improving.  The reality is we will be changing the formula for the school grades every year and so that sort of conclusion is not really accurate.

So you’re welcome.  It really is amazing what we here at the Legislature can come up! 

Sincerely,

The Legislature

P.S.  There exist now two grading systems imposed on schools.  Pay no mind to the other one.  We don’t, and we were the ones who originally mandated it and sat on the working group that created it!

P.P.S. Please stop calling us about your school’s poor grade.  These grades are in no way tied to increased funding, interventions, or even further evaluation.  If your school received a failing grade, it’s probably your fault.

This session Sen. Stuart Adams is carrying SB209  School Grading Revisions.  To see last year’s school grades visit: https://psdreports.schools.utah.gov/Gateway.

The opinions expressed in the above post are those of the author alone.