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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 12, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Washington state Senate approves education reforms

Letter-grade bill will lead to overcrowding

A bill that recently passed the Washington state Senate to assign a single letter grade to each school in the state is yet another poorly thought out example of “education reform” [“After debate, Senate OKs education package,” NWThursday, March 7].

Assuming no “grade inflation,” what this proposal means is that a third or more of the schools in the state would be labeled as failing or near failing. Schools with lots of poor children and struggling parents will end up on the bottom of the heap, demoralizing schools and students.

The immediate response of many parents to having their child’s school given an F or a D will be to do whatever they can to get their kids out of those schools. This will immediately drain the lowest-ranking schools of kids, siphoning off some to private schools, and putting pressure on school districts to absorb fleeing students in schools with higher grades, leading to larger classes and greater stress on resources.

I’m all for making information about how schools are performing easier to find and use, but simplistic proposals that mask an effort to drain some schools of resources and overcrowd others won’t do a thing to help kids or improve schools.

–Mark Gardner, Bellingham

Comments | More in Children, Education, Education reform, Washington Legislature | Topics: Washington state Senate

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