Supt. Glenda Ritz confirms A-F grade 'manipulation'

Multiple reviews underway

Indiana schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz says Department of Education staffers have found evidence of "manipulation" in the state's school grading formula as part of a review stemming from a grade-changing scandal.
 
"Upon our preliminary examination, the department has verified that there was manipulation of calculation categories," Ritz said. "And the department has also determined there are broader issues that must be examined."
 
DOE staffers are reviewing the grading formula after emails were published by The Associated Press showing former Superintendent Tony Bennett reworked the A-F system to elevate a charter school run by a top Republican donor from a "C" to an "A."
 
Bennett resigned as Florida's schools chief last week. He denies giving special treatment to the Christel House Academy.
 
Ritz declined Wednesday to give more details about the review. She told the state Board of Education a report could come as soon as Sept. 2.
 
"We aren't even close to begin talking about anything as a result of this. We have to let the examination be thorough, be complete," she said.
 
Ritz said the manipulation will impact grades given out two years ago and will delay grades from last year and the implementation of new grading rules for next year.  
 
Although the political impact is obvious, one board member said he is trying to avoid all that.
 
"All I took from this discussion is that we want to help schools get better," said school board member Dan Elsener. "And we want parents to know where their schools stand and how they can get better."
 
Indiana's legislative leaders have launched their own investigation into the grading system.
 
Ritz and the leaders of the House and Senate were supposed to have a summit Wednesday afternoon, but Speaker Brian Bosma and President Pro Tem David Long sent subordinates instead.
 
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