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About those school grades

As we head back to school do not be alarmed if your school’s “grade” goes down.

As it has been widely reported, the formula for grading schools in Louisiana has changed. These changes bring school scores in line with states in our region. However this new formula may cause many school grades to be lower.

Michael Faulk, executive director of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, said his group has been advising superintendents for months to get ready for the changes, “to prepare people so it won’t be a shock.”

The worries stem from major changes in the calculation of school performance scores, which show how students fared on key tests, graduation rates and academic growth.

According to an Associated Press report, the changes are aimed at adding rigor to classrooms and making annual snapshots of student achievement in Louisiana comparable to other states.

Critics said previous scores were inflated and misled parents on student performance.

State figures show that during the transition, the number of F-rated schools will rise by 57 percent while those with A ratings will drop 38 percent.

This does not mean a particular school or schools have gotten worse. It is simply a reflection of a change in the rules. That being said, it is important to note that if we are competing with neighboring states for industries, residents, and revenue, then the idea of scoring everyone the same way is necessary.

While school grades formulas do not take into account some social and economic factors that affect performance, they are the means by which we are all judged.

In Webster Parish, I believe our best days are ahead of us. Superintendent Johnny Rowland and all of the staff of Webster Parish schools are committed to improving education an exceeding expectations.

So, when the grades come out later, do not be surprised. Do not be disappointed. Understand that we know we have work to do.

Let us all work together, administrators, teachers, parents, students, and the community to improve the education of all. That is truly the way we win.

David Specht Jr. is editor and publisher of the Minden Press-Herald.

David Specht

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