The school grading program, created by SB271 S3 (2013 Session) is a one-size-fits-all system that dishonors students, their schools and the dedicated educators who serve them. Consider four of several concerns:
1. The school grading program will assign an "F" to some of our finest high schools. This will be due to a requirement in the law to have at least 95 percent participation in the end of year testing by non-proficient students. In early August discussions, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser saw this flaw but expressed little worry about the labeling of any school.
2. The grades are a fairly accurate representation of the wealth or poverty in a community, not a realistic portrayal of true accountability for those schools. Decades of schooling (home, state, online types) continue to indicate that poverty has a huge, negative effect on student academic achievement and is very difficult to overcome. Yet it can be done with early efforts, intense and sustained work with individual children and continued encouragement and help from home. The Utah Legislature continues to stifle efforts to initiate early childhood education, and has eliminated funding for at-risk students in recent years. Now the grades for many schools in neighborhoods of high poverty mislabel the schools as, at least mediocre, if not failures, a far cry from their real value.