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4 Indiana school districts given failing ratings

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Four Indiana school districts received failing grades in new ratings approved Wednesday by the State Board of Education.

The A-F grades for the state's 289 districts were developed after the board released ratings for individual schools last month.

The new ratings give A's to 94 districts, while 82 received B's, 91 C's, and 18 D's, The Indianapolis Star reported. Those given F's are the Indianapolis Public Schools, the Medora Community Schools in southern Indiana's Jackson County and the Gary and East Chicago districts in Lake County.

Six districts received failing grades last year. The Kokomo and Hammond districts improved from F's last year to D ratings.

The Indianapolis district, which has about 29,000 students, received an F based on a score of 0.96 on a 4-point scale. Last year, the district's score was 0.24.

District Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said he hoped that grade could increase to a D yet this year as the district has filed a request with the state education officials to recalculate the A-F grades for some of its schools.

"We might not be at the bar for proficiency, but we have done a really good job with growth and that needs to be noted," he said. "I am excited about that progress but obviously we have a lot more work to do. I am looking to get us out of that F category."

The Board of Education approved the district ratings with little of the controversy between board members and Democratic schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz that surrounded the December release of the individual school grades.

Those ratings were delayed while reviews were made after The Associated Press reported on emails showing Ritz's predecessor, Republican Tony Bennett, changed the rules to raise the grade of a political donor's charter school from a "C'' to an "A'' in 2012.

The state board is setting new standards for A-F grades to be used in the 2014-15 school year.

Ritz told WTHR-TV that the revised standards will put more emphasis on whether students are improving on standardized tests, rather than ranking them among students statewide.

"The big difference is that the growth component in this new system will be based upon individual student growth, each individual child," Ritz said. "They won't be in comparison to their peers around the state."

 

Posted 1/15/2014