No doubt you are tired of reading posts about how dumb the A-F school report cards are. And I am tired of writing about this fiasco.
But then I come across another example of how truly silly it is and can’t help telling you about it. Each year the Council for Leaders of Alabama Schools (CLAS) holds an awards ceremony to recognize BANNER schools. These are not run-of-mill places, but schools that are working with all their might to make a change in the lives of their students.
There are eight districts for the state school board. So three schools are selected for each district and then one selected as the district winner. CLAS holds a luncheon at the RTJ golf course in Prattville for the occasion. Several hundred folks attend. This year’s event was Feb. 26. I was there. So were six of the eight state board members. Along with lots of superintendents, principals and teachers.
Like all of us, they appreciate a pat on the back. And this one is well-deserved.
Schools are nominated by local systems and a carefully chosen group of educators narrows them down to three per district. Then another committee looks these 24 over and picks the outstanding school in each district.
After the luncheon, I couldn’t wait to look at each banner school and see how the A-F report cards graded them. You guessed it, once again the report card grades made no sense at all. Of the top eight (one per district) four got a D, one a C, and three were Bs.
And of all the schools recognized, there was one F, six Ds, four Cs, eight Bs and three As. (I could not find two being honored on the A-F report card list. Maybe they just got lost.)
Which is what we should work toward for the A-F grading system. Get lost. I keep reading articles where people try and defend this mess by saying it is good to have conversations about the failures. But you cannot defend a process like this that simply makes no sense. We’ve long since run out of lipstick to put on this pig.
After the luncheon I spoke to a member of the final judging committee, who is also on the state school board. She made no attempt to defend A-F. She thinks it is a farce.
Here are the schools that were recognized.
District 1–Baker high, Mobile County system; Citronelle high, Mobile system and Mary B. Austin elementary school, Mobile system.
District 2–Eufaula primary, Eufaula system, Kinston school, Coffee County system, Lance elementary, Lanett City system.
District 3–Childersburg Middle, Talladega County system, Meadow View elementary, Alabaster city system, Montevallo elementary, Shelby County system.
District 4–Central elementary, Tuscaloosa city system, Paul W. Bryant high, Tuscaloosa city, Westlawn middle, Tuscaloosa city.
District 5–Booker T. Washington high, Macon County system, Pike County high, Pike County system, U.S. Jones elementary, Demopolis city system.
District 6–Boaz high, Boaz city system, Cullman City primary, Cullman city system, Hartselle Intermediate, Hartselle city system.
District 7–Florence high, Florence city system, Howell Graves preschool, Muscle Shoals city system, Russellville high, Russellville city system.
District 8–James Clemens high, Madison city system, Mill Creek elementary, Madison city, Riverton Elementary, Madison County system.
The overall winners for each district were: Mary B. Austin elementary, Eufaula Primary, Childersburg middle, Paul W. Bryant high, Booker T. Washington high, Boaz high, Russellville high and Riverton elementary.
Congratulations to all the students, faculty, support personnel and administrators at these schools for the job they are doing.
And for A-F, you were a joke when passed by the legislature in 2012 and that has now been confirmed.