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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 15, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Gov. Inslee supports grading schools

Schools should embrace current grading systems

We already have two important grading systems for schools [“Inslee says he backs schools A-F grades, with conditions,” NWWednesday, April 10]. Therefore, fighting over a grading system is a diversion from the real work that needs to happen in our state’s education system.

The first is the Washington State Report Card from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction that tracks all of the key state-demographic and test performance metrics as well as graduation rates. Anyone who is incapable of using that tool to evaluate schools has no business evaluating schools. Simplistic, single-metric indicators of quality allow the public to disengage even further from taking a hard look at what schools are doing well and at what they need to do to improve.

The second is the oldest measure of quality in public education: public opinion. Families who want the best for their students talk to one another at church, at the mall, at little-league games, at the bowling alley, etc. Test scores are important, but they don’t express how a student feels about being at a particular school. Only word-of-mouth can convey that, and that authentic, community-based evaluation of schools only matters within the local community that is served by the school.

Let’s stop the needless debate over grading schools and focus on curriculum and instruction — the things that actually lead to success.

Brook Brayman, Seattle

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