Earlier this week the Marion County school board said “enough is enough” and voted “no confidence” in the state’s soon-to-be released A-F school report cards. (Since then, both the Eufaula city board and Chambers County board have done the same thing and others are set to follow.)
News of this action spread quickly throughout the education community and was overwhelmingly supported. Ryan Hollingsworth is superintendent of the Marion County school system and we interviewed him after the vote.
Educators seem very reluctant to take a public stand on many issues. Why did you do so in this case?
“Most educators spend all their time trying to meet the needs of their students in the classroom or on a school wide basis and stay ver4y busy. However, when I see a law or policy, such as this one, that is completely unfair and harmful to students and schools, I can’t help but speak out.”
Did you have any pushback from your board?
“Absolutely not. But I did get a few ‘amens’ after reading the resolution.”
What next? Do you let other superintendents know what you’ve done and encourage them to do the same? Try and generate media coverage? Share with the state school board? Let your local legislators know?
“The purpose was to inform the people in Marion County of our opinion of what was about to be released and the reasons behind our position. I understand many people across the state support us.”
Why do you think this A-F report card is bad?
“I don’t have enough time to give you all the reasons. But, essentially how can you boil down everything a school does and present that in one simple letter grade? How in the world does that inform the public about anything?
How will A-F benefit your school system and your decisions?
“Honestly, I can’t think of a single benefit.”
Does negative press harm your system?
“It harms everything about my community–not just the school.”
“We should repeal this law as other states have done.