The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri (CEAM) believes strongly in the importance of providing parents and other community members with accessible, transparent, and meaningful information about school performance and student achievement through an A-F School Rating System. Please read the letter below and sign on your support to get this important policy passed in Missouri!
For more information about the type of A-F School Rating System supported by CEAM, check out the new A-F Accountability System that was recently passed and is now being implemented in Indiana. You can also view a sample A-F school report card for elementary and middle schools here, and a sample A-F school report card for high school students here.
You can sign the letter here.
Dear Missouri State Board of Education and Members of the Missouri General Assembly:
We are writing to urge your support for an A-F school rating system. Under this system, public schools would be required to issue building-level report cards to parents in an easy-to-understand format. Such a system would be an important step toward ensuring that parents and other stakeholders are empowered with meaningful information about how well our schools are educating kids. With this type of information, parents and community members will be better informed, and therefore better positioned, to help address problems and celebrate successes.
Under the current system, there is not an easily accessible, understandable, and transparent method with which to rate individual schools. Instead, the focus is on ratings of entire districts. This type of system masks the high performing schools among the low performing schools. For example, Gateway High School in St. Louis has a proficiency rate that is 2.5 times better than that of the provisionally accredited St. Louis Public Schools. Yet, because the district is only provisionally accredited, the school is still being tagged with a failed rating.
The current system also masks the low performers among the high performers. The Springfield school district, for example, has the state’s highest rating: accredited with distinction. Despite this, at Westport Elementary, only 25.5% of students are reading on grade level. It’s hard to imagine a parent taking solace in the fact that although their school is failing, the district is doing okay.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Several states have begun implementing simple A-F school report cards that make it easy for parents, teachers, districts, community members, and elected officials to see how individual schools are performing. The information is presented in a way that is engaging and accessible. I have attached a copy of a school report card from Indiana for your review. As you can see, the information is also meaningful because it is tied to clear targets, making it easier to understand for those outside of the education establishment.
States that have taken this step have seen what schools have been begging for: increased parent engagement. When Oklahoma released its first A-F school report cards in November, 675,000 parents signed on to check out the grades in less than one week. The clear, understandable, and accessible information has not only alerted parents to how their child’s school is performing, but has caused administrators, elected officials, and others to act quickly to address issues leading to low scores.
Parents and other community members across the state are working to ensure that each child in Missouri gets the quality education that they deserve. An A-F School Rating System is an important way to help us address problems and celebrate successes, better equipping us all to be part of ensuring that every child in our state gets the education they deserve.