State Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane released the following statement regarding the announcement of the results of a recent investigation into the state’s school evaluation program:
“Today’s findings only confirm when standards are set in a climate of limited transparency and accountability and without the input of those being evaluated, the product is more than suspect.
“The report states the previous administration made errors, rushed decisions and compromised objectivity when implementing A-F and instead of ensuring accuracy, they moved forward anyway. That approach does not inspire confidence in that administration, their system or the validity of their results. No matter how you dress it up, the fact remains the previous administration’s system is broken beyond repair.
“Plausible or not, these grades do not wholly reflect the performance of our students or our schools. So much so, that the authors of this report advise throwing them out when considering intervention until a new system can be put in place.
“This episode only underscores the necessity of added transparency. More importantly, it emphasizes the need for broad input from teachers, parents and school administrators to establish a valid, accurate and fair assessment of our schools. Moving forward, it’s my hope that all stakeholders will have a place at the table when developing a growth-based model that fairly assesses our schools. Senate Democrats are ready to advance policies that improve our students’ outcomes rather than reconciling the previous administration’s’ shortcomings. Too much is at stake to focus our efforts otherwise.”
After it was revealed through e-mails that previous Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett altered the grading formula for certain schools, legislative leaders organized a panel of independent investigators to look into the school grades for the 2011-12 school year.