Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Letters: School remediation is in details

NEIFPE member Judith Beineke discussed the A-F Grading of Schools in this letter to the editor from last November.

School remediation is in details

November 5, 2013 3:00 a.m.

A-F grading of schools may not be a constructive approach, but it is now law.

When good teachers have students who consistently earn F’s, they know what to try. What happens to an F school? Opinions differ. A good school district would work out what the problems are then use established methods to effect change. Perhaps class sizes are too large, or perhaps the children have trouble learning without a good breakfast, or perhaps teachers need mentoring or additional training. It takes time, energy, creativity and probably, if they’re serious, a whole lot of money.

Another option for F schools, one we hear that some legislators favor, is to close the school and hand it over to a charter organization to “reform.” Perhaps, a parallel might be to take our F students and farm them out to foster families. Rather drastic measures, wouldn’t you say, with outcomes far from certain?

While there are effective and principled charter school foundations, many have no better, and some, in fact, worse, records than the public schools they replace. Many are run by out-of-state corporations with their own investors to answer to and financial profit as the bottom line.

Please clarify, dear legislators, exactly how a school might merit an F grade and what remediation steps you will put in place for its redemption.


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