Schools throughout Ohio are finding out whether they are making the grade on the state’s annual school report cards.
This is the first time since 2013 when school districts have actually been given a letter grade. For the past few years, the report card has read more like a data chart by offering information on a district's progress but not assigning a grade. Ohio Governor John Kasich and other lawmakers wanted to go back to letter grades so Ohioans would have a better picture of where their districts and schools stand when it comes to measuring the quality of education provided. Schools are judged on test scores, graduation rate and other categories.
Ohio's School Superintendent, Paolo DeMaria, is upbeat about the report cards this year.“We’re seeing improvement and academic achievement happening all across the state in every corner of the state," DeMaria says.
There were 14 "F's" and 28 "A's" but the most common grade for districts was a "C." Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Youngstown are among schools getting "F’s." A’s are awarded primarily in wealthier districts. That disparity between wealthy and poorer school districts has rung true in the past as well.
Why is DeMaria so positive about these grades this year? He says there’s been improvement, even in some districts with an overall failing grade and he explains it’s important to look at the data behind those letter grades.
“If a district or a school has a C grade, you know what are the contributors? What are the successful things that contribute to that C? What might be the weaknesses that need further attention or further improvement?," DeMaria says.
The state can take over management of school districts that have failing grades year after year. That's already happened to Youngstown and Lorain City Schools. But it appears another school district could join them soon. DeMaria says East Cleveland is the only district in Ohio that will be subject to state takeover because of continued failing grades in the past and on this year's report card.