Let me start by telling you right off the bat that I don’t even know what rating my kids’ elementary school received. Know why? Because I don’t care. I used to care about school rating sheets, and report cards. When it was time for my first child to go to school I was a NEVER public school parent. Under no circumstances was any child of mine attend a public school. As far as I was concerned nothing good came from public schools. I can admit that my attitude was largely based on my local public school’s report card and statistics. Long story short, after spinning our wheels for several years at a couple different schools my kids went to our local public school for the first time last year.
Here’s what the ratings wont tell you about my kids’ school.
Last year we adopted a daughter from China. She did not speak English, and it was her first year in an American school. Our school knocked it out of the park! The teachers and students welcomed her with open arms. They allowed us to enroll her in a grade level one down from her age group to give her time to learn some English , and acclimate a bit, before pushing her into the hell that is Middle School. The librarian let her order some books in Mandarin for the library. Her language arts teacher went out of her way to find the books they were reading as a class in Mandarin. Her PE teacher encouraged her to play on the volley ball team even though she uses a wheelchair. The school counselor helped her on tough days when she was missing China, and had had enough of constantly listening to, and trying to learn in, a language she didn’t speak. And as far as academics goes…. she has moved to Middle School taking all Pre AP classes except for math which she is taking the advanced class. She does her own projects, and I rarely even need to translate her homework for her. Did I mention she has only been an English speaking American for 17 months now?
The ratings won’t tell you anything about the low vision teacher who taught my son to tie his shoes or use tools that will help him be successful in the future. She goes above and beyond helping me file summer camp paperwork, and giving each of her students Christmas gifts. It won’t tell you how the teachers work hard to foster an inclusive classroom quickly addressing any concerns of bullying, or how hard the math teacher and special ed teacher work to help my daughter on the spectrum succeed.
The A-F scale doesn’t’ take into account how many extra hours teachers work to prepare and grade lessons, or for the teachers who give their lunch to a child that doesn’t have one. It doesn’t take into account all the extra money teachers spend on their kids because they found some really cool thing that isn’t in the budget, but they know will help their kids learn. The ratings know nothing about the principal, and how supportive she has been to my family. It won’t tell you that I know if I have a problem with something in the classroom she will listen and do her best to work it out. She loves her students, and her teachers.
You know what the A-F ratings will tell you about my kids’ school? It will largely tell you how well the kids did on a developmentally inappropriate, invalidated, and hugely expensive exam that they took once. So basically the A-F ratings tells you more about who ate breakfast that day, and the educational levels of their parents which is more closely tied to standardized testing outcomes than actual academic knowledge and skills. So no, I didn’t read the A-F grade the powers that be gave my school. I don’t care, and you shouldn’t either.