House Takes up School Grading Bill Thursday

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MONTGOMERY- A bill aimed to bring unprecedented transparency and awareness of school performance is scheduled to be debated Thursday in the House of Representatives soon.

House Bill 588, sponsored by Representative Terri Collins (R-Decatur), would establish a simple, comprehensive and accurate grading system for schools, allowing parents and community leaders to better understand how their local schools are performing.

“Parents deserve to know how their child’s school is measuring up,” said Representative Collins.  “If we don’t have an honest, data-based assessment of how schools are doing, how can we know what improvements need to be made to ensure our children are getting the best education possible? This bill will provide a comprehensive, yet easy-to-understand evaluation of school performance.”

Under this bill, an A-B-C-D-F grading system would be developed by the State Superintendent of Education based on several performance indicators in order to give the most comprehensive and accurate result possible.  Such indicators include state-authorized assessments, student achievement scores, achievement gap, college and career readiness, learning gains, and other factors that would be critical to measuring student success. The scores would be consistently applied so that grades of one school or system may be compared to the grades of any other school or system.

Rep. Collins began working with House Speaker Mike Hubbard to develop the proposal after a meeting with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who told them implementing an accurate, consistent, easy-to-understand school grading system was the single reform most responsible for Florida’s extraordinary gains in education.

“Governor Bush’s record of improving public education speaks for itself. He told us this reform led to communities becoming more engaged in their public schools, demanding excellence. That kind of community ‘buy-in’ is exactly what many schools in Alabama need in order to improve,” Rep. Collins said.

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