Advocates in Ohio and Massachusetts are both fighting recent proposed changes to their states’ accountability and school ranking systems.
In Ohio, HB 591 would change the current school rating system to a series of data dashboards. While providing more data is a good step, Chad Aldis of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute-Ohio argues, “these data should be available as supplemental information and not as a primary way of communicating school quality to the general public.”
In his testimony before the Education and Career Readiness Committee of the Ohio House of Representatives, Aldis reminded lawmakers why the state had embraced school grades previously, including the fact that A-F school grading systems are intuitive, direct, and provide a helpful push to schools.
Proponents of the change to school report cards shared a vision of a car dashboard providing information a driver needs. Aldis refuted this by explaining, “They drive their car virtually every day and have driven thousands or even tens of thousands of hours in their lifetime. That makes them very familiar with the dashboard…Conversely, parents and communities—at most—look at their state report cards once or twice a year.”
Similarly, policymakers in Massachusetts are proposing shifts to the state’s accountability system that would impact the school rating system. The Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) and its affiliates submitted comments encouraging the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to clarify their proposed changes. Currently, districts in Massachusetts are ranked on a five level pyramid. The proposed plan would include three levels with subdivisions within those, for a total of six levels.
Specifically, they’re calling on BESE to, “amend the new regulations to clarify and better define the new categories for classifying schools and districts and determining improvement targets schools will have to meet.”
To connect with advocates working on school and district report cards, reach out.