Gov. Jay Inslee took steps to clarify his position on a school grading issue today. Giving public schools an A through F grade on performance was something he had backed as a candidate, backed away from last week and now seems to be supporting – if certain conditions are met to allow more nuance in the grading.
Pete Callaghan of the News Tribune wrote a column Sunday that carried a headline suggesting Inslee’s position deserved an F for fuzziness. The Democratic governor gave a briefing today to clarify – telling three reporters covering the issue that he would support a grading bill that met certain conditions.
Reports on what Inslee now is saying – to reporters and lawmakers – are here from the Associated Press and here from Brian Rosenthal of the Seattle Times. Rosenthal got into it in more detail, describing the governor’s conditions this way:
First, the governor said, each school shouldn’t receive one A-F grade but five of them, based on different factors — progress in closing the achievement gap, scores on state tests, school performance relative to similar schools, graduation rates and college and career readiness.
Parents should weigh those grades themselves, Inslee said.
The system must acknowledge differences in student learning, including English language learners, students with disabilities, poverty and demographic situations, the governor said.
The grading system must be created with stakeholder input, he said.
And it must come with funding for schools that get low marks, he said.”
That sounds a lot more complicated than the grading spelled out in Senate Bill 5328, which appeared to die in the House Education Committee last week.
Inslee’s choice of direction on education has come into question in another area this week – his decision to replace half of the members of the still-new Student Achievement Council, including a former congressman, Brian Baird.
As Calllaghan reported Monday here, Inslee’s positions on several education issues were captured in the interview he gave to the Washington Stand for Children advocacy group during last year’s campaign. See it here: