Democrats: A-F Report Not The End Of The Story
Pelath: Does not exonerate Tony Bennett and his staff
House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath (wibc.com file photo)
Some Democrats don't think much of the report that said former state superintendent Tony Bennett's staff was fair in adjusting the rules for the state's A-F grading system for schools.
The investigation ordered by the Republican leaders of the state House and Senate said that changes made to the grade for the Christel House charter school and several other schools were legitimate. The report did not address the motivation for the change in the A-F formula, but said the change in grades was “both an attempt to save the credibility of the new accountability system and a desire to treat a recognized good school fairly."
House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath says the problem is not in the report, but in the system that gave the state it's current A-F formula. "Those guys tried their best. But it’s going to be hard to get the stench off the A-F system. Tony Bennett let a skunk spray all over it."
Pelath says regardless of what the report says, he thinks Bennett was "picking the winners in advance, then kept re-running the numbers to make sure the winners and losers came out the way that he hoped. It was about making friends look good, and that the weak were punished." Pelath said.
"It's clearly going to take a lot of smart, dedicated Democrats to clean up the mess Tony Bennett left behind," said John Zody, chairman of the state Democratic Party. "We have to make the best decisions for those students, not decisions that are convenient for our political allies."
But even though a Democrat is now the state superintendent, Pelath says he still doesn't believe A-F grades should be given to schools. "The fact is people will never fully trust grades doled out by politicians for political purposes. The grades are for rewarding friends and punishing the weak. That's why some communities in Indiana are pledging to ignore them altogether.