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TMCNet:  Think tank gives county schools mixed grades

[February 15, 2013]

Think tank gives county schools mixed grades

Feb 15, 2013 (The Columbian - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Google Washington State School Achievement Index Online Database by Caspio Click here to load this Caspio Online Database.

Source: Washington Policy Center A report released this week by a public policy think tank in Olympia gave 15 public schools in Clark County an A grade for academic achievement, but gave most schools a C or D, and gave seven schools an F.

The Washington Policy Center on Wednesday released its take on a state "achievement index" for 231 schools, to show how schools would fare if the state assigned letter grades to school performance. Bills to mandate such grades are before the Washington Legislature.

"Senior elected leaders, including Governor Inslee, recommend giving public schools letter grades to inform the public about how well schools are fulfilling their paramount duty to provide for the education of every child," Liv Finne, director of the Center for Education at Washington Policy Center, wrote in policy notes released this week.

The Washington Policy Center uses statistics compiled from the State Board of Education's annual School Achievement Index Report, which compares test scores and graduation rates, and adds its own letter grades.

In Clark County, 15 schools, or 11.6 percent, were rated "exemplary" and received an A grade. Fourteen schools, or 10.8 percent, were rated "very good" and were given a B. Fifty-four schools, or 41.8 percent, were rated "good" and given a C. Thirty-nine schools, or 30.2 percent, were rated "fair" and given a D, and seven schools, or 5.4 percent, were rated "struggling" and given an F.

Statewide, 11 percent of the schools received an A grade; 15 percent received a B, 35 percent received a C, 27 percent received a D, and 7 percent received an F.

According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the School Achievement Index was mandated by the Washington State Legislature and adopted by the State Board of Education and OSPI in 2009. Neither OSPI nor the State Board of Education use the statistics to rank schools or to give schools letter grades.

Finne said Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, introduced SB 5328 to create an A through F system based on the State Board of Education's accountability measures, and Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw, has introduced a companion measure, HB 1476, in the House.

The Washington Public Policy Center bills itself as "an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that promotes sound public policy based on free-market solutions." Clark County's highest-achieving schools, rated "exemplary" or grade of A Battle Ground Public Schools CAM Junior/Senior High Battle Ground High School Camas School District Camas High School Grass Valley Elementary Hayes Freedom High School Helen Baller Elementary Liberty Middle School Skyridge Middle School Evergreen Public Schools Fisher's Landing Elementary Riverview Elementary Shahala Middle School Ridgefield School District South Ridge Elementary Vancouver Public Schools Clark Co. Detention Center Vancouver School of Arts and Academics Woodland school district Woodland Intermediate Clark County's lowest-achieving schools, rated "struggling" or grade of F Evergreen Public Schools Crestline Elementary Stevenson-Carson School District Columbia Virtual Academy Vancouver Public Schools Fir Grove Children's Center Fruit Valley Elementary Lewis and Clark High School Vancouver Virtual Learning Academy Woodland school district Yale Elementary Susan Parrish: 360-735-4515; http://www.twitter.com/col_schools; susan.parrish@columbian.com.

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___ (c)2013 The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.) Visit The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.) at www.columbian.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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