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Chatham County Schools concerned about School Report Cards

Posted Sunday, February 8, 2015

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Pittsboro, NC - On February 5, 2015, the State Board of Education released the annual School Report Cards. School Report Cards have been provided for parents and communities since 2002. Report Card data is available for each school, for each school district, and for the state’s education system as a whole. For the first time, schools will be assigned a letter grade A-F to reflect overall student academic achievement and growth in the school. The letter grades are based on student proficiency (80%) and academic growth (20%). Schools will send home Report Card Snapshot letters between February 5-27, 2015.

Each snapshot includes instructions about where to find more information online. The School Performance Grade is just one indicator of overall school performance. Parents and community members are encouraged to ask additional questions and learn more about unique programs and efforts underway at their children’s schools.

Since the legislation was enacted to include School Performance Grades (A-F) in 2013, there has been disagreement about the validity of reducing the complex nature of a school to a single letter grade. The process for determining these grades has been revised numerous times, ultimately minimizing the importance of growth and focusing more on proficiency. Superintendents and other public education advocates across the state have stood together to underscore the fact that the proposed grades do not adequately measure the many great things happening in our public schools on a daily basis.

According to Superintendent Dr. Derrick D. Jordan, “What we know is that if these scores had been calculated on a growth model, as was initially suggested by state officials, all but one of our schools would have been reported as an A or B for the School Performance Grade. Additionally, the one school that would have earned a C designation was within one point of a B.”

The Chatham County School Board of Education passed a resolution calling for the repeal or revision of the School Performance Grades. In addition,the Chatham Chamber of Commerce has voiced concerns about the negative implications of the current grading formula.

An excerpt from the their letter to the Chatham County legislative delegation states, “Our organization is confident in the Chatham County School system and its leadership in our community. It would be regretful and detrimental to have one of our schools labeled with a “grade” that is not an accurate portrayal of the true performance of the school. We respectfully request your consideration in delaying the issuance of “School Performance Grades” until a new system is in place that would more accurately reflect the performance of public schools.”

 
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