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August 5, 2013

Grades scandal prompts review

There are concerns that A to F system is fundamentally flawed

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

The grades have impact: Chronically failing schools can be taken over by the state and highly graded schools can get more funding.  

Bosma said he had concerns about the A-F formula as early as March 2012, as schools throughout Indiana were learning about the details of how the new formula would work. He said he met with “a whole parade of interested parties” who vehemently voiced their concerns. 

“We came very close to putting a moratorium on it then,” Bosma said.

He relented, though, when Bennett agreed to work on revising the formula through the summer of 2012. That delayed the release of the test scores until early last November. 

When those scores were finally released, critics once again voiced their concerns, only more vehemently. Legislators who saw schools in their districts experience dramatic drops in their grades under the new formula were most concerned and pushed for the law that mandates the State Board of Education come up with a new formula by November. 

One unstated goal of the independent review by Grew and Sheldrake: To move the conversation on the A-F grading system away from the partisan politics in which it’s currently mired and back into the public policy realm. 

“The primary purpose must, for all, be improving education for Hoosier students,” Bosma said. “It can’t be about politics. It can’t be about the impact on adults. It must be about improving education for Hoosier students.” 

— Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

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