State education candidate calls for school outlook reports


Glenda Ritz, democratic candidate for superintendant of public education, speaks Thursday at Gratzie Italian Eatery. Ritz is currently on a campaign tour throughout the state of Indiana. Steph Langan Buy Photos

A candidate running for Indiana’s top education spot said the state’s education department should release the A-F grades assigned to public schools when she spoke to a small group of supporters in Bloomington on Thursday.

The education department hasn’t released the grades because incumbent Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett knows the results won’t be positive, said Democrat Glenda Ritz, Bennett’s opponent.

“They should show what he predicted they would show,” Ritz said. “We should see half of our schools have C’s, D’s and F’s.”

The grades will be released Oct. 31, said Alex Damron,  Indiana State Department of Education spokesman.

“This year, we’ve extended to review windows for local schools,” Damron said. “This decision was based on feedback we’ve received from school leaders who wanted more time to review the data they submitted to the department and familiarize themselves with new metrics process.”

The State Board of Education approved the grading system in February after the state was waived from the No Child Left Behind Law. Last year, under the old system, grades were released in August.

Ritz said the A-F grading system is based on faulty measurements of student growth. Measurements, she said, would support Bennett’s privatization of public education.

“Having many schools in the D and F category allows privatization to happen at a much quicker rate,” Ritz said.

Ritz said she didn’t know how schools with D and F grades expedite privatization. Indiana law does not allow the state to take over schools based on the grade they receive.

However, several of the people in attendance said they were concerned the grading system would lead to takeovers, which in turn would lead to privatization.

“I think it isn’t possible for a letter grade to represent a school’s needs, strengths and challenges,” said Melissa Keller, clinical professor at the School of Education.    

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