State Board of Education Approves Draft of New A-F Grading Rules

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): It took two votes, but the State Board of Education has approved a draft of new rules for the state's A-to-F grading system for schools.

The first vote was a 5-to-5 tie after some board members complained about a lack of communication between State Superintendent Glenda Ritz's office and the Center For Education and Career Innovation (CECI), the agency that provides staff for board members. Some members believed that was the reason an amendment to the proposed draft was proposed at the last minute.

“What's currently written in the rule right now is totally static and does not take into account enrollment in any way,” said Ritz.

While almost all board members said they understood and supported the amendment, some balked because of the late addition. “I am not supporting the amendment today, but that does not mean I don't support what it says,” said board member Sarah O'Brien.

Brad Oliver added “I want to make sure that when I am voting on things, it's on the things I know I have done due diligence on.” After some additional explanation of the amendment from staffers for Ritz and the board, the amendment was approved on an 8-to-2 vote, with only Oliver and BJ Watts opposing it.

The board then approved the overall draft of the A-to-F rules 7-to-3, with board member Tony Walker saying he disagreed with assigning A-to-F grades, especially to elementary schools. “I am principally against giving a letter grade to an elementary school based on a single assessment test,” Walker said. Oliver and Andrea Neal also voted against the draft of the rules.

There will now be a series of public hearings before the grading system is up for final approval before the 2015-16 school year.