The founder of Christel House Academy, the Indianapolis charter school whose performance grade has recently been called in to question, says she supports a review of the A-F school grading system.
In a written statement, Christel DeHaan, who is a prominent Republican donor, praised former Indiana State School Superintendent Bennett’s education policies, but said neither she nor anyone with Christel House made a request to have the school’s grade changed.
“I was as surprised as anyone when I was contacted for a reaction to a soon-to-be published Associated Press story,” DeHaan wrote. “It is unfortunate that [Bennett’s] actions relating to changing the grade given to Indiana schools, including Christel House, may distract from the significant progress that has been made in Indiana.”
The AP story cites e-mails sent by Bennett directing his staff to boost the rating of Christel House after he discovered it would receive a “C” instead of an “A.”
Before resigning Thursday from his position as Florida’s Commissioner of Education, Bennett defended his actions, calling Christel House one of the best charter schools in the state. Our colleagues at StateImpact Indiana profiled the Indianapolis charter in 2011:
In Indianapolis Public Schools, roughly 80 percent of students receive free or reduced price lunches, but only 45 percent of students pass state tests. At Indianapolis charter school Christel House Academy, 90 percent of students receive free or reduced price lunches and about 70 percent pass state tests.
Indiana governor Mike Pence has called for a thorough review of all the A-F ratings in order to restore confidence in the system. The state has also hired an independent task force to review the rating system.