September 7, 2019

Should schools be ranked with a single number or grade?  That’s the question raised by a Los Angeles Unified plan — still in draft form — that would assign all its schools, including charter schools, a number on a 1-to-5 scale based on several factors, but tilted heavily to academic performance.

California, in adopting a new accountability system based on multiple measures, has firmly rejected the idea of a single ranking for schools. In this week’s podcast, Michael Kirst, the former president of the State Board of Education, tells us why he is still against the idea of a single rating for schools.

For a transcript of Kirst’s comments, go here.

And we interview Jon Deane, the CEO of GreatSchools.org, an Oakland-based parent-oriented nonprofit that ranks schools on a 1-to-10 scale, which he says many parents find helpful.

We also discuss the possibility of a state construction bond for schools and community college facilities being put on the March 2020 ballot. The Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom must reach an agreement soon to pass legislation to do so by Sept. 13.

This week, EdSource released a video that looks at the school construction and renovation needs of Fresno Unified. It indicates that low-income communities with lower than average property values, like Fresno, get a disproportionately small share of state bond funding – a subject that may be part of the current negotiations in the governor’s office.

For more, see the following articles: