The city Department of Education’s latest letter grades for elementary and middle schools once again demonstrate how ridiculous its evaluation system is. Assessing the quality of our schools is worthwhile, but any system that gives an A to half the schools on the state’s list of “persistently dangerous” schools will baffle parents instead of inform them.
There are two problems with the DOE system. The first is that it is reliant on test scores. A fair test that students are not taught to game might reasonably account for part of the school grades formula. Instead, incessant test prep is rampant and tests are getting easier. The second problem is that tests count for far too much of the grades.
Any mother who walks into a school knows quickly whether she would want her child to go to that school. The school environment is a major factor, but so are the professionalism of the teachers, attitudes of the students and involvement of the principal.
When it comes to telling parents what they need to know about school evaluations, the DOE gets an F.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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