Local Schools Fall Under New Grading System

New assessments could result in worse ratings

May 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Ohio received a No Child Left Behind waiver yesterday, and the state is now expected to evaluate its schools with a more stringent assessment plan suggested by Gov. John Kasich.

The state released district-by-district data showing how each school district would fall under the new system, which uses letter grades to evaluate schools. The simulation, which uses 2010-2011 data, shows most local schools would drop

Cincinnati Public Schools would drop from the second-best rating of “Effective” under the current system to a D-, with 23 schools flunking and Walnut Hills High School retaining its top mark with an A.

Charter schools in particular are worried about surviving under the new grading system. Under Ohio law, if a charter school flunks two out of three consecutive years, the school has to close down.

Some local charter schools are especially desperate to improve performance. Earlier this year, Dohn Community High School began a program that would literally pay students for showing up to class and working hard.

The waiver from No Child Left Behind frees Ohio from a requirement to make 100 percent of students “proficient” in math and reading by 2014. Many parents, teachers and schools had criticized the No Child Left Behind requirement for being unrealistic.

With freedom from No Child Left Behind, Ohio now has the responsibility of paving its own path toward school and student accountability. The new grading system was singled out as a big caveat by the Obama administration. Ohio is also expected to put extra funds in low-performing schools and create new accountability measures for teachers and principals.

Ohio is expected to work out the full details of its plan by Sept. 15. If it doesn’t, the No Child Left Behind waiver will expire. The suggestions would then need to be approved by the legislature before January 2013 and go into effect August 2013.

The Obama administration is using the waivers as an incentive for education reform in states. Ohio was one of eight states to get waivers yesterday. Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island also obtained waivers.