Gov. DeWine Open To Changing Grade System For School Report Cards

Dec 6, 2019

A study by lawmakers of the state’s often-criticized school report cards is due on December 15. As the deadline approaches, Gov. Mike DeWine is signaling that he’d be O.K. with lawmakers once again making changes to that system.

Report cards assign single letter grades to all districts and buildings based on six factors, including student achievement, graduation rate, and progress in closing gaps between racial and economic student groups.

But ever since the state switched to an A-F system in 2012, it’s been called both too simplistic and too complicated.

DeWine said he’s not attached to the system.

“No, I’m not wedded. I’m not wedded. But I think clarity is important,” DeWine said. “We want something that’s comprehensive, but we also want something that – we gotta balance that with something that people can actually understand.”

In the most recent round of report cards released in September, six of the state's eight big urban districts improved from an "F" to a "D." That includes Dayton, which was in danger of a potential state takeover.

Just 31 districts got As, up from 28 last year. But a plurality of districts (46.4%, or 282) got Cs.

Some lawmakers and groups have said they think the report card system is misleading and arbitrary.

The A-F grades were created under former Gov. John Kasich to replace the system that rated schools on a scale from “excellent” to “academic emergency,” labels which some had said were confusing.

Lawmakers have also struggled for years with the state’s high school graduation requirements, which were called both too tough and too easy, this year finally settling on standards they say are permanent.