@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

House panel modifies school grading system

Posted April 2, 2013

— Public schools in North Carolina would get A through F letter grades to reflect their performance, starting next year, under legislation approved Tuesday by a House committee.

House Bill 435, which passed easily on a voice vote, would modify the letter-grade system that was part of Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger's sweeping education reform package last year. Although the package never made it out of the House, portions were rolled into the state budget and approved.

Currently, schools would be scored based on the percentage of students considered proficient in reading, math and biology and the percentage of students who graduate high school within four years and are deemed to be ready for either college or the workplace.

Co-sponsor Rep. Tricia Cotham, R-Mecklenburg, said those measures would mean that more than 70 percent of North Carolina public high schools would receive a D or F grade.

"This bill seeks to modify, and possibly improve some, the way that we assess and label these schools," said Cotham, a former teacher and principal in what she said grade out as "all F schools."

The proposed bill, which next goes to the House floor, would use a composite of student test scores in various subjects, depending on whether students are in elementary, middle or high school, as well as graduation rates and other measures and then compare those composites with the statewide mean. Schools scoring far above the mean would receive A's, while those far below would get failing grades.

Schools also could get bumped up as much as two letter grades by exceeding expected growth in student learning and by having at least 80 percent of students deemed proficient in key subjects for three straight years.

Although letter grades were to start this year, the bill pushes it back one year to allow for schools to implement Common Core reading and math standards this year.

Rep. Deb McManus, D-Chatham, said assigning letter grades to schools unfairly punishes those located in poor communities because students from low-income families or who are still learning English struggle the most with standardized tests.

"They're going to be labeled as failing schools even if they're working really hard and getting a lot of growth," McManus said. "These are the schools that need our best teachers, and I don't know how we're going to get teachers to choose to go to a school that is getting a D or an F."

Co-sponsor James Langdon, R-Johnston, said there's no evidence that teachers choose schools based on how well they perform, but Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, argued that could change if legislation calling for merit pay for teachers passes.

14 Comments

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  • Justathought12 Apr 4, 3:58 p.m.

    I am so tired of hearing about grading our schools , teachers, etc. There are many awesome teachers struggling to find a way to make every student learn. They spend more hours working after hours then most other jobs.
    We need to wake up and give resposibility back to the parents. They are responsible for homework and extra help if there child isn't making the grades.
    Our problem is to many free rides. Maybe our government needs to set limits on how long you get welfare and all the free stuff. Children learn from their families, if they are harding working and and have great expectations the children will know what is expected of them.
    Just so you know we have a large number of teachers out their who have been teaching five years and still being paid at a first year teacher salary. How much more can we ask of them? They can't live on their own with That salary!

  • tracmister Apr 3, 6:02 a.m.

    Many of these education problems have been created in the past ten years under NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. This legislation forces schools to keep students in school that disrupt the classroom and pose a threat to students under the safe schools portion of the bill. There's a reason that Europe and Asia are destroying the United States educational system in test scores. Maybe instead of creating a failing system, like charter schools and vouchers, we ought to look at the number of days we go to school and how are schools are actually set up.

  • exteacher Apr 2, 5:59 p.m.

    All of you bashing the schools need to look at the test results and where NC is ranked before declaring that teachers aren't doing a good job and "don't know what they are doing."

  • Plenty Coups Apr 2, 5:19 p.m.

    "Time for vouchers and time to get rid of the traditional public system. It has been destroyed by the leftists."

    Whatever. Try backing up your claim in order to have credibility.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 2, 5:07 p.m.

    "OK, so you're going to label the schools even though anyone who wants to can look up testing results etc. online. Now what about putting more money into education since statistics show that we're one of the worst funded states?"

    We need to spend far less not more. Time for vouchers and time to get rid of the traditional public system. It has been destroyed by the leftists.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 2, 5:06 p.m.

    "The legislature needs to leave grading to educators which they certainly are not!! Deal with the issues you need to be dealing with-instead of issues you know little about!!"

    The mistake is believing that the Educators know what they are doing. They don't. The results is ample proof. The cost is ample proof. The educators ONLY care about keeping the system going so they can continue to get their money. Nothing more. The dumbest thing people do is voting ex-Educators onto school boards. All that does is guarantee nothing will change.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 2, 5:03 p.m.

    "This should really help recruit promising young teachers to schools with a right wing REPUBLICAN legislature grade of "D" or "F". Unbelievably stupid idea, but that's what we've grown accustomed to in the past 2 years at the REPUBLICAN NC legislature."

    Yeah it is much better to have ZERO accountability for the school systems so they can suck up ever more money and continue to deliver horrific results. what is truly unbelievably stupid is to keep building more public schools. It is time for the money to go WITH the Student and not into the bottomless pit of a system that only cares about how much money it can suck out of the private sector taxpayer.
    It amazes me how POVERTY has become an excuse for poor performance of schools. I had no idea that poverty meant low intelligence. The low intelligence comes from the progressives that continue to want to trap people in these horrible public institutions.

  • geosol Apr 2, 4:46 p.m.

    This should really help recruit promising young teachers to schools with a right wing REPUBLICAN legislature grade of "D" or "F". Unbelievably stupid idea, but that's what we've grown accustomed to in the past 2 years at the REPUBLICAN NC legislature.

  • baldchip Apr 2, 3:18 p.m.

    The legislature needs to leave grading to educators which they certainly are not!! Deal with the issues you need to be dealing with-instead of issues you know little about!!

  • Wirklich Apr 2, 3:08 p.m.

    This will likely penalize teachers and schools with higher percentages of students with additional challenges (English as Second Language, poverty, etc.)

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