Photo: Ty Tagami
Photo: Ty Tagami

State will stick by school grading that teacher group says does poor job

Georgia plans to release more analysis of the performance of public schools despite pushback from educators.

Last year, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement unveiled an A-F grading system for schools. It was a simpler take on the nuanced -- some would say too complicated -- 110 point College and Career Ready Performance Index already established by the Georgia Department of Education. 

Martha Ann Todd, the GOSA executive director, sees her agency’s new grading system as “parent-friendly, concise reports,” but the state’s largest teacher organization thinks it is ineffective.

The Georgia School Reports website “does a poor job of communicating why students are struggling in high-needs schools and what interventions may help them,” the Professional Association of Georgia Educators told its members in an email Wednesday.

With the beginning of the next legislative session imminent, it was a broadsides against GOSA and its new grading system.

PAGE noted that the state law mandating the A-F school rankings (Ga. Code 20-14-104) was repealed by the failure of Amendment 1 in November. That referendum,  which called for the creation of a statewide Opportunity School District, would have relied on the grading system to identify the “F” schools subject to state takeover.

But Todd on Wednesday showed no indication that she was changing course. Indeed, she told members of the House Appropriations Committee that her agency plans to expand the A-F system in coming weeks, layering on new elements that will give the public more readily accessible information.

For instance, the online tool (the site is down for maintenance until Thursday) will allow anyone to match up schools by demographics to compare their performances, she said.