Governor's School Grading Draws Sharp Criticism
Grading System Flawed, Doesn’t Help Schools Succeed
The Department of Education officially released its "grade" for each school district in the state today. In doing so, the DOE created a system which does not accurately reflect the achievement in our public schools and our students in the state. Instead, the system based on standardized test scores and high school graduation rates, pits wealthy communities against poorer ones, giving lower grades to our less financially advantaged students.
Upon review of the grades this analysis becomes clearer—schools in wealthier communities in Maine fared far better under the Governor’s grading scheme, while schools in areas with higher indicators of poverty were the ones branded with the majority of failing grades. For example, 88% of the elementary schools receiving an "F" grade had more than half of their students eligible for free or reduced lunch.
When we grade students and schools based on poverty levels in the community we are taking away the future. Our children should not limited by an arbitrary grade that has no validity and that is handed down by a system that continues to fail our poorest students and families. Until we all provide the necessary supports for our students to come to school having had a meal, seen a doctor, and being given preschool opportunities we cannot compare towns from poorer parts of the state with those from wealthy ones. The comparison is simply not fair.
The MEA knows you work hard each and every day to make sure your students succeed. Please do not let this grade, whether it is an A or an F change how you feel about your school. Instead the MEA would like to congratulate you on the hard work you do each day in continuing to put your students first, despite yet another attack on public education.
To understand how poverty affects the grades, please take a quick look at the chart below, highlighting the impact of students eligible for free and reduced lunch. We encourage you to read the full MEA report which explains the complete bias in the grading system.
Gov. LePage and the Dept. of Education want to hear from you...
As you are all aware by now the Governor’s grading system has been released. During the unveiling of the flawed system the Governor and Education Commissioner encouraged people to call them to share their opinions of the system. Please feel free to share your thoughts with the Governor, reminding him that our public schools are providing a wonderful education for our students and a single snapshot of how students performed on a standardized test does not measure the success of any one school. It is clear, based on all the media coverage, the people have spoken—with the message that this grading system deserves an "F."
Tell the Governor what you think about the school grading system:
Phone: 207-287-3531 (TTY: Maine relay 711)
Office of the Governor
#1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0001
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