State Officials Deserve an “F” Not Our Kids and Teachers

Our public schools are important to Lakewood. They’re important to me, too; my wife and I look forward to sending our children to good Lakewood schools when we start a family.

So I want to share a few thoughts about Lakewood’s “report card” which Ohio’s Department of Education released last week. This included three Cs, one D and an F.

I think the whole statewide report card system deserves an F, for fraud.

I met with some employees from our school district, shortly after the report card came out. They called Ohio’s report card system inconsistent, counterproductive, and fundamentally “bogus.” I have looked into it since, and all of their objections are substantive. The report card leaves out not only external factors that influence students’ performance, like income level, but ignores entire categories of student experience. In particular the diversity in Lakewood schools is not counted at all, yet preparing young people to deal with a diverse America has enormous, real value to them and to society.

The report card standards also shift, year after year, making the report cards unhelpful even for comparisons over time within one school district. The Department of Education acknowledges most of this, too. The Columbus Dispatch wrote that state officials have warned “Don’t make direct comparisons between these scores and past scores until the system has stabilized after a few years.” The state superintendent admits that report cards “aren’t the only gauge of a school’s or district’s achievement.”