Winfield straddles the Marion and Fayette county lines about 75 miles northwest of Birmingham. Probably its greatest claim to fame is the annual “Mule Day” celebration each September.
But in education circles, Winfield has long been known for a small, but excellent, city school system which is only three schools and just over 1,200 students. However, it is good. In fact, the infamous A-F school report card released recently says Winfield elementary is an A school, while the middle and high schools get a B.
And though their schools scored well, the Winfield school board has no faith in the A-F system and recently passed a resolution calling for a vote of no confidence in the A-F process. In doing so, Winfield joins school boards in Marion County, Chambers County and Eufaula that previously did the same.
Keith Davis is the Winfield superintendent of education. This is his 33rd year in education.
“Although we are proud of our student’s’ achievement on the ACT Aspire (the test most of the A-F grades are based upon) we believe that the report card is an inadequate measurement tool because the Aspire is insufficient for the purpose of assigning grades,” explains Davis. “Additionally, the report card fails to recognize innovative and relevant practices such as STEM and project-based learning.”
The Winfield resolution makes the point that this new grading system relies heavily on data from a test that the state no longer uses because it is not properly aligned to our state standards. In other words we are testing students about things they have never been taught and then using this information to label 104 schools in Alabama with an F.
It’s a joke. But not one that is funny. Thanks to Winfield for having the good sense to speak out.