Ritz Campaigns Against School Rating System

Indiana's new system for rating public schools has sparked controversy in this election year.

Democratic candidate for Superintendent of Public Education Glenda Ritz held a press conference in Bloomington on Thursday where she criticized the Department of Education’s school grading system.

The State of Indiana recently updated the rating system it uses to evaluate K-12 public schools. Speaking at Grazie in Bloomington, Glenda Ritz levied several charges against the current “A” through “F” rating system.

She says she thinks the system imposed by her political opponent State School Superintendant Tony Bennett is too complex.

“It violates Indiana Code, which actually states that schools need to be put in improvement categories based upon their own students’ scores compared to their own students,” Ritz said.

“The growth model that Tony Bennett has created, is an artificial growth model, but it actually compares students with their peers from around the state.”

Ritz worries the new grading system will lower ratings for many schools, putting them at risk for a takeover by the state.

Indiana Department of Education spokesperson Alex Damron says the grading system is completely legal and goes beyond traditional systems that only focus on pass or fails rates of state-wide test scores.

“One of the things we look at is academic growth, so not just whether or not students have passed or failed a test, but how much they’ve actually grown over the course of a school year,” Damron said. “So we’re looking at the overall growth of all student populations, as well as each individuals success in closing the achievement gap in their own schools.”

Schools have received their grades and can appeal them any time before Oct. 24. The DOE says it will release final grades on October 31.

Jimmy Jenkins

Jimmy Jenkins is a multimedia journalist for WFIU and WTIU news. A native of Terre Haute, he is a masters student at the Indiana University School of Journalism and is proud to be a part of the public broadcasting stations he listened to and watched since he was a child. Follow him on Twitter @newsjunkyjimmy.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/cathy.fuentesrohwer Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer

    Wait. How do they see growth over the year as this DOE person, said? Isn’t the ISTEP only administered once a year?

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