Dan Liljenquist: Utah school grading program should spark dialog

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  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    June 28, 2013 8:43 p.m.

    Until we replace 'schooling' with 'education', problems will not only persist, but get worse. Citizens keep trying to solve family problems within the school system, a system that in many cases continues to show a new gadget, whether NCLB, or IPADs in the classroom, to uninvolved 'concerned' parents that go on their merry way while the children suffer. Many teachers fall prey to the same gadgetry, trying to figure out what 'new' gadget state, federal, and local officers are pressing this time around.

  • metisophia Ogden, UT
    June 28, 2013 3:51 p.m.

    Grading schools is an idea from ALEC. I wish our legislatures would represent the citizens of Utah instead of the corporations that formed ALEC.

    ALEC's goal is to get corporate hands on any money that government (citizens) have available for educating children. The goal is not actually to educate, just get the money.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 28, 2013 12:14 p.m.

    Irony Guy:

    Beyond that, the educators at the most challenging schools will labeled failures while the educators at schools with higher socio-economics (Davis, Lone Peak, Skyline etc.) will be applauded...

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    June 28, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    Dan, you know very well that schools like Davis High with a high professional, upper socio-economic demographic are going to get an "A" and schools serving a less-educated, lower socio-economic community are going to get a "D." That's a given. It's just one more excuse for the privileged to break one arm patting themselves on the back while using the other hand to point with alarm at those dumb poor people.

  • Ya Buddy Spanish Fork, Utah
    June 28, 2013 7:54 a.m.

    The version of grading schools you present sounds ok. But you and most of the legislators are missing one important factor. The schools are graded on a bell curve. A bell curve has some schools that are A's and some that must be F's.
    Your teacher's grading system was probably based on a standard. Standards are usually fair. The grading schools model is not, it is based on comparison. The proficiency score is based on a standard, but the growth score is based on comparison. The growth score dwarfs the proficiency scores since the range of scores are much greater in the growth category.

    My own daughter showed increase in her scaled score on both her Language Arts and Math by one point. One score was 70 percentile one and the 29 on the other. The 29 would receive a F, and she showed "sufficient growth". Schools are going to have that same problem.

    What does a "F" school look like? That should be the question and the standard should be created to fit that. The grading schools does not do that. Good schools will be mislabeled.

    The bell curve is being misused and it is inappropriate.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 27, 2013 10:47 p.m.


    The evaluation instruments are deeply flawed based mostly on test scores that evaluate shallow learning at best.

    Beyond that, I think evaluating a school is a little bit more complex than this. What these scores will evaluate is not necessarily the quality of the school per se and certainly not the teachers, but it should give an indication when the grades come out which schools have resources (money) and involved parents. It will probably also show what students have the most/least ESL students and students with special needs. But again I doubt in the end these grades will tell much about teaching and student learning.

  • bricha lehi, ut
    June 27, 2013 4:57 p.m.

    Church member,

    And how do we pick that 5 percent? I would be willing to guess that you might have a completely different list than I would. And it would probably be safe to say that some of your students parents, or even some of the administrators at your school from time to time would have put you on that 5% list.

    This plan is far from perfect, but I see it as a start, and as a baseline so that all teachers are held to the same standard.

    I think I speak for many when I say that it isn't necessarily about firing x% of teachers, but it is about finding ways to help the students do better and reach their potential. If we are unwilling to stretch learn and grow things will never get better.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    June 27, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    I agree with Howard Beal:

    This program is a waste of time. It will be replaced with another ridiculous program in a couple of years. As a teacher we see these programs come and ago every couple of years.

    We need to fire the teachers who we all know are lazy and not doing a good job (about 5% in my opinion).

    Then we need to get parents more involved in their kids education. It's that simple.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 27, 2013 12:13 a.m.

    I guess I'll start the dialog. The plan is stupid!