Tuesday, August 13, 2013

FWCS Says No to A-F

from NEIFPE's Anne Duff:
Congratulations to the Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees on their resolution to dispense with the Bennett A-F grading system. However, as a parent with three children in Fort Wayne Community Schools, I would like to have seen the word “Bennett” removed.

Having said that, I don’t agree with any grading system that rates our schools. I believe these systems have been put into place to gradually weed out schools – whether they are good or “bad”- so that privatizers and corporate entities can come in and take over our public schools, making a profit on the backs of our children.

Who can judge a school? Do we need an A-F grading system that stigmatizes our schools? Do we need an outside accrediting agency to tell us how our school is doing? Absolutely not. The answer to who knows whether a school is successful is very obvious: parents. They know what they want for their children’s education. Parents want a curriculum that has high academic standards, is rich in the arts and social sciences, offers an adequate amount of time to eat lunch and have recess, has after school programs, updates technology regularly, uses a variety of methods to instruct children, and has teachers who love their students and love their jobs.

Steve Corona was spot on with his analogy of buying a gas stove. How did he ultimately decide which stove to buy? He valued the opinion of someone he trusted. We make choices by listening to someone we trust. If I were to choose a new school for my children, I would do my research online, but ultimately, I would ask those I trusted.

How did I find the schools my children currently attend? By talking with teachers and parents. Our teachers and parents are proud of their schools and want to share with others the great things that are happening. They both are in the “trenches” every day. Who would know more about what is going on and how schools are meeting the needs of our children? I don’t need some constantly changing, unexplainable A-F system to tell me where my kids should go to school; I want caring, passionate individuals to tell me what they see and what they feel and what they know.

Again, congratulations and thank you to the FWCS Board for taking huge steps in denouncing the reform movement with your resolutions against vouchers, charter schools, and now the A-F grading system. Your stand on what you believe is harmful to our children and to public schools was courageous.

Anne Duff, Fort Wayne

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