The following was written and circulated by Dr. Victor Smith, a professor at Indiana University.  You can find the full post here.  I’m trusting his research, as the state of Indiana under Dr. Tony Bennett makes it nearly impossible to understand the school grading system.  All of the data is available on the states’ web sites (FL and IN), but it isn’t easy to analyze.  You need at least doctorate in Mathematics to even look at Indiana’s system, and that might not be enough.

At the bottom of this post you will find a link to the information that Indiana DOE provides on its web site.  The information voters REALLY need to have is somewhere within what is not being said.  The sad part is, most people will not be able to sort out what IS being said.  I certainly can’t.  Dr. Bennett has succeeded in making this so complicated that even the schools can’t figure out their own grades.  It’s mid October, and we still don’t have the grades for the 2011-12 school year.  The DOE keeps setting release dates and then moving them back.  Days and days of work time have been wasted by school district employees state-wide who don’t have days and days of work time to waste.  How are we supposed to know how to improve education for our students if the DOE can’t even come up with any grades using it’s own wonderful new system?  As Dr. Smith so aptly labeled it–“fiasco”.

As election day draws near, please ask yourself if a fiasco at the state level is the best thing for the young minds that attend Indiana schools…

Dr. Bennett is the Republican.


INDIANA’S A-F SYSTEM                   Comments by Dr. Vic Smith                                       September 22, 2012

Tony Bennett’s flawed A-F system is hurting efforts to bring jobs to Indiana.

The Mayor of Goshen drove three hours to bring that message to the only public hearing on the A-F model last January.  His community was working overtime to attract new businesses, and the first thing businesses ask is about the quality of the schools.  He knew the schools were top notch, serving a student population of great diversity, but Tony Bennett’s grading system was undervaluing the schools in his community.  For the sake of economic development, he asked for a revised plan to grade schools.

He was ignored, but in an election season when jobs and the economy are the biggest issues, Tony Bennett should have listened.  Why would he want to undervalue and degrade the schools of Indiana when our communities are struggling with the Great Recession and the loss of jobs?  Why wouldn’t he want a more accurate and more realistic profile of our schools to be available for economic development efforts?

Is the A-F system unfair in the way it devalues many Indiana schools?  Compare Indiana and Florida on NAEP:


Reading/Math Year Florida Indiana   US Average
4th Grade Math 2005 82% 84% (Higher by 2%) 79%
  2007 86% 89% (Higher by 3%) 81%
  2009 86% 87% (Higher by 1%) 81%
  2011 84% 87% (Higher by 3%) 82%
8th Grade Math 2005 65% 74% (Higher by 9%) 68%
  2007 68% 76% (Higher by 8%) 70%
  2009 70% 78% (Higher by 8%) 71%
  2011 68% 77% (Higher by 9%) 72%
4th Grade Reading 2005 64% 65% (Higher by 1%) 62%
  2007 68% 70% (Higher by 2%) 66%
  2009 70% 73% (Higher by 3%) 66%
  2011 68% 71% (Higher by 3%) 66%
8th Grade Reading 2005 66% 73% (Higher by 7%) 71%
  2007 71% 76% (Higher by 5%) 73%
  2009 76% 79% (Higher by 3%) 74%
  2011 73% 78% (Higher by 5%) 75%

Clearly, Indiana outscores Florida on the National Assessment, yet Florida only gave 6% of its schools D’s and F’s while IDOE figures from last spring showed that D’s and F’s would go to 22% of Indiana schools.

That is simply wrong.  This system has been miscalibrated.  It will hurt our schools and our economy.  The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has called it a flawed system.  It must be revised.

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