SBCSC Passes Resolution Regarding A-F System of Accountability - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

SBCSC Passes Resolution Regarding A-F System of Accountability

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Indiana's school grading system, coming under fire, just weeks after the former State Superintendent was accused of boosting a donor school's grade.

The South Bend Community School Corporation unanimously passed a resolution to stop recognizing the A-F grading scale of its schools by the state, Monday.

The state's largest school system in Fort Wayne already passed a similar resolution.

We're talking about A-F grades schools receive, not individual grades students get.

These grades determine how much money schools get from the state and have an effect on teacher pay.

School members say the grading scale simply isn't fair.

"They're punishing kids, punishing students across the state of Indiana with this system," says Board Member Maritza Robles.

School Board President Michelle Engel also doesn't support the A-F grading scale.

She says she's never liked the system, and accusations about a grade change by former Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Bennett gave an opportunity to ask for change.

"I don't think that's ok and it brings the whole system into question, this A-F scheme."

Bennett has denied any wrong-doing, but did resign from his role as Florida's Education Commissioner.

Engel says the grading system is too simplistic and should include more factors and she isn't the only board member to feel that way.

"We can't be held accountable to that system. It is not an effective way to assess student performance," says the Board's Vice President, Jay Caponigro.

Engel says, "English language speaking, poverty, special needs, all kinda of factors, parental involvement, that come into play in the evaluation of schools."

The grading system is state law, so Superintendent Dr. Carole Schmidt says the district can't completely detatch itself, but board members say they can take a stand.

"We're telling them again, hoping we have an ear this time around," says Board Member Roger Parent.

Schmidt says current Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz, released a statement last week making a commitment to change the system.

She wants something new drafted by November.

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