News and Tribune

August 1, 2013

Teachers union wants Ind. A-F grades suspended; Governor calls for review


The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — The American Federation of Teachers says Indiana should immediately suspend its A-F school grading system because of emails showing former schools chief Tony Bennett and his staff changed the grading formula to benefit a top GOP donor’s school.

The union issued its call at a Statehouse news conference Thursday, just hours after Bennett resigned as Florida’s education commissioner.

Indiana uses A-F grades to determine which schools get taken over by the state and whether students seeking state-funded vouchers to attend private school need to first spend a year in public school. They also help determine how much state funding schools receive.

The grades’ validity has been questioned since The Associated Press disclosed emails showing Bennett and his staff worked to raise Christel House Academy from a C to an A.

 

Pence seeks speedy review of A-F grading system

Gov. Mike Pence is urging the Indiana Department of Education to review questions surrounding A-F accountability grades given to state schools in 2011 and 2012 and report its findings next week.

Pence spokeswoman Kara Brooks said Thursday that parents and teachers deserve to know that the grading system for schools is fair, impartial and accurately reflects their performance.

Pence wants the findings of the review made available at the State Board of Education’s next meeting on Wednesday.

The call for the review follows an Associated Press report showing former schools chief Tony Bennett and his staff scrambled to overhaul the grading formula to ensure a school run by a top Republican donor received an A. Christel House Academy initially received a C.

Bennett resigned Thursday as Florida’s education commissioner.