INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday rejected the idea of a one-year hiatus on school letter grades because of testing interruptions and a scandal that has put their validity in question.
“I don’t think we should take a time-out on accountability,” he said. “We grade our kids every day. We ought to be willing to grade our schools every year.”
Computer errors in the spring plagued thousands of students taking the ISTEP test – a large part of the A-F grades given to schools every year.
And then earlier this month the Associated Press revealed emails from then-Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett showing he and his staff frantically worked to improve the accountability grade of a key charter school from a C to an A.
As a result, Bennett resigned as Florida education commissioner.
Lawmakers earlier this year – before the Bennett scandal – already mandated a new grading system be established after concerns were raised by schools and other groups. But it is still being designed and doesn’t go into effect until 2014.
That means Indiana schools will receive a grade under the disputed system later this year.
But Pence told The Journal Gazette regardless of the circumstances it is not right to back away, noting that thousands of children are stuck in underperforming schools.
House and Senate leaders have launched an independent, bipartisan review of the grading system, and Pence said he hopes that analysis will get to the bottom of the issues being raised.
“I understand the anxiety that has been created,” he said.