Are Florida's school grades a good gauge for other states?
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush continues to travel the country making the case for school letter grades as part of an education accountability policy. Most recently, he pushed the idea in Virginia, touting Florida's success with the model. "It was a wakeup call," Bush said. "What happened was the number of D and F schools has dropped dramatically and the number of A and B schools has gone up."
Matt DiCarlo of the teacher union-affiliated Shanker Institute acknowledges that the pressure of grading did lead to some academic improvement. But in a new blog post today, Di Carlo also raises a big concern with the claims that the grades markedly improved:
"(P)utting aside the serious confusion about what Florida’s grades actually measure, as well as the incorrect premise that we can evaluate a grading policy’s effect by looking at the simple distribution of those grades over time, there’s a much deeper problem here: The grades changed in part because the criteria changed."
With "solid evidence" to draw upon when touting school grades, he contends, Bush does a disservice with the talking point about quadrupling the number of A schools in six years. Time will tell how much Virginia (and other states) care.