Accrediting panel dumps tougher grading scale

The state Commission on School Accreditation on Tuesday voted for more A-rated schools and fewer F-rated schools than the state Department of Education had wanted, after state officials had discarded an earlier task force recommendation and proposed tougher grading standards.

The Board of Education is scheduled to vote Thursday, sending the proposal out for public comment, with a final vote likely in September.

It’s a high-stakes decision for schools and districts that will get F grades, because after two years of failing marks, the state could take them over. The ratings will also designate D and F districts where charter schools are allowed to locate without local permission, as well as C districts where students can leave to attend charter schools elsewhere.

While there was no dispute about the dividing lines between B and C-rated schools, or between C and D-rated schools, the divisions between A and B and D and F sparked long debate. The panel voted to recommend divisions that would mean 22 districts would get top marks, as opposed to 11 proposed by J.P. Beaudoin, the state department’s chief research and development officer. And the commission, which includes superintendents, principals, teachers and laypeople, voted to give 19 districts Fs, instead of the 28 recommended by Beaudoin.

Clarion Ledger