Letters: Shame evaluation

Published: Friday, Oct. 18 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

The latest round of school grading again exposes the fundamental flaws in the useless assessment system that legislators have imposed on public education.

Despite unfounded legislative hopes that a simple letter grade will provide useful information that we can use to improve our schools, in practice we learn nothing except that some schools have students who are absent, don’t speak English or are missing a lot of credits.

Oddly, this inadequate grading idea seems intended to ensure that there will be failing schools. Under this “bell curve” model, even if every school in the state showed marked improvement and student growth, about 10 percent must still receive an "F." Vague claims of increased transparency and accountability aside, is this what legislators really meant to do?

It's as if we were the audience watching the amazing runners at the Olympic marathon finish their race, and then we all stood and pointed fingers of shame at those runners who didn't make it to the medal stand because, well, they're the losers. Obviously, such a shame-based evaluation system wouldn’t recognize the real achievement, hard work and individual worth of those runners. What purpose, then, does it serve to label someone a failure?

Keith Homer


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