Comments about ‘Grades for Utah schools bring strong reaction from parents and educators’

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Published: Tuesday, Sept. 3 2013 6:40 p.m. MDT

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Howard Beal
Provo, UT

So the entirety of a school's grade is based on three CRT tests. Wow, that's pretty shallow. Is it just me, or is there a bit more that goes into a school than just language arts, math and science?

BTW--I give the legislature a F grade and I give their instrument of assessment a F grade as well.

OnlyInUtah
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Another example of an industry - education - being micromanaged by government. The result will always be failure.

I do agree with Howard Beal... I give our state legislature an F grade in understanding the true assessment of a good school.

And while I'm at it I will just add that I feel we should stress more ethic and moral based values in our schools. Teaching morals equates to more humanity and civility in society. Which is something this world desperately needs.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

What a complete joke of a system the Legislature has forced upon us. Once again it makes the schools look incompetent while telling us nothing of vital importance.

All this system really measures is who performed poorly in the past but is now doing o.k.

What a complete joke and waste of my tax money.

Can we recall whoever thought this one up?

wYo8
Rock Springs, WY

Why is income automatically associated with the ability to learn. No other success can compensate for the failure in the home. Teachers can only do so much. If parents don't care and the student doesn't care either. How in the world do you expect the teacher to make up the difference.

Reader81
SLC, UT

I totally agree with the comments that this system is demoralizing. I choose to teach at a school with a high number of English Language Learners, economically disadvantaged students (over 60% disadvantaged), and/or students with learning disabilities. We work often to the point of exhaustion at our school, have a limited number aides (our reading specialist must now only work with teachers, not students), and little extra funding. However, on our audit last fall we received some of the highest marks for using best practice. On this grading system we squeaked by with a C. The system was founded/created by a group that historically doesn't support public education. The Parents For Choice commentator said the grades will encourage parents to help out. In my neighborhood, parents leave for charter schools because of AYP, etc., rather than help. It seems to be a conflict of interest to have such a group create the grading system. By the way, my learning disabled students and students who are learning English will count twice against my school. Any student who scores below proficient magically counts as two students below proficient. I don't understand.

Leav3ItAlone
Payson, UT

Parents need to opt their students out of testing. If enough parents did this, all schools would receive an F and the accountability system would become meaningless. High-stakes standardized testing has lead to a narrowed curriculum where students become good test takers. The most important aspects of schools cannot be measure by a test including collaboration, critical-thinking, problem solving, leadership, and effective communication.

Clarissa
Layton, UT

I recently retired from one of the schools on the list. I was so shocked. It got a C? It's a wonderful school. Great parents, teachers, and great support. We get excellent test scores. This grading program is way off.

Observation Deck
American Fork, UT

The tool is obviously flawed for all of the reasons already mentioned. But what I found amusing is that the school needs to obtain 80% of the points to score an A. At my child's school, she has to get 90% to score an A. Using the grading system that we hold our children to, my daughter's school, which scored 80%, would have been awarded a B-.

I don't have a problem with us coming up with a system to grade our schools and help them improve the quality of education, but the tool would have to be developed by a group of parents and educators together.

birder
Salt Lake City, UT

Well, well, I teach in a "D" school. That will do a lot to build morale. The only thing that seems to matter to our beloved Legislature is how well kids do on one silly test. It doesn't matter at all whether the kids have a positive experience at school, whether there is real learning taking place, as opposed to the score on one test, etc. I truly "dare" members of the Legislature who make these stupid policies to come and take my place for a month or two. I will gleefully sit and watch you handle all of the stuff we deal with every single day with virtually no help. Is anyone willing to take on the challenge? And, BTW, you can do all of the lesson planning, parent contacts (when the parents don't respond), and on and on. I loved my job a lot more years ago when I didn't have to spend every waking moment testing kids or getting them ready for the next test. This system takes the joy out of learning for the kids and the teachers.

Justmythoughts
Provo, UT

If you want to grade our schools...compare them to the rest of the country....Utahns are the center of their own universe. My guess is that it wouldn't be pretty.

AllSeeingEye
Salt Lake City, UT

What a joke.

The legislature has two motives here. First, to take attention away from the dismal funding situation in Utah's educational system. Second, to try to change the result of a referendum vote against school vouchers.

It's just that simple.

weareight
Midland, MI

Overall... I would say these are accurate grades. It does not matter the economic status of a student... they deserve as good an education as children with stable backgrounds. Public education must work to improve everyone... that's the beauty of it. These grades should motivate everyone to improve Utah schools. The disadvantage of these grades is the very real possibility of losing more families to home schooling situations. We need those families, we need those parents to be active in the public education arena.

raybies
Layton, UT

Once again, Congrats to NUAMES Highschool!! This year they beat out Intech (the USU equiv) and of course made short-work of Davis HS. They appear to be #1 from the scores I've seen so far... Their close association with Weber State university, and a faculty that's dedicated to creating a strong learning environment continues to pay dividends that other schools clearly must envy. Congrats to the highly motivated students that take a pledge as they enter the school that they are there to learn and prepare for college. Something clearly is working right there.

oldschooler
USA, TX

As always, political motives over people's needs.

Edyag
South Jordan, UT

Bell curve? So fifties. The science of performance measurement is so far beyond such foolishness. The reaction from the public is predictable.

BU52
Provo, ut

An F for the legislature, plus I'll vote against any sitting members next Nov. The goal is to cover their lack of funding by moving the blame down the road. How did the charter schools grade? Oh they didn't get graded? Imagine that. Its hard to work in a system where those who control the system want to ruin the system but not take the blame for pulling the rug out. Come on legislators step up and take some responsibility.

bradleyc
Layton, UT

We all know that this was simply an attempt to make the Charter School Program look good. Charter schools don't have to deal with free and reduced or disabled children to the same degree that public schools do. This makes a huge difference for them.

TRUTH
Salt Lake City, UT

Now if they could just figure out a way to test the administrators that work in the districts that comprise the other 50% of our taxes that are wasted.? There are now as many admin as teachers which is rediculous, and the real scandal that is UTAH Education.....the governor should also get a failing grade!

RBB
Sandy, UT

Wow accountability can make people uncomfortable. While it sounds like the judging parameters need to be adjusted, testing every student every year should be required to see how effective we arr with the money we spend. Of course, schools that perform poorly are not only due to the teachers. One place that the state really needs to address is getting parents invovlved in their children's education. $5000 extra per kids will do far less than a parent who reads with their children and goes over homework with them every night.

kimnprovo
Orem, UT

I am, once again, in the minority it seems. I love the idea of our schools being graded. I believe the grades our schools receive are as complete in judging the job they are doing as the grades my children receive. It's NOT the complete picture, but it does give some idea where improvement needs to be made. That's it. It doesn't tell me how hard the employees are working or how dedicated the students and parents are.

Also, I echo what was said above by Observation Deck. The actual letter grades are flawed. 60-69% is not a C anywhere else in this country. That is a full-on D. So if your school is marked as a C you should know that it's really a D and the state didn't want those true grades made public.

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