The DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), the agency that oversees DC public and charter schools, is revamping its system for assigning grades to public schools.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, OSSE compiled and publicly posted STAR ratings for each school. Parents and guardians could and did consider these grades while deciding where the children under their care should go to school. But critics saw bias against schools in poorer neighborhoods, and OSSE has developed a new system that is heading to the State Board of Education for a vote on February 21st.
Ruth Wattenberg, the SBOE’s former Ward 3 representative, has written about the STAR rating system’s flaws for the Washington City Paper, and about the proposed changes to the school report cards.
“The current proposal is still odd, misleading, and very biased,” she told Forest Hills Connection. And in her article, she argues there are more accurate and fairer ways to grade our schools.
The Beacon roundup
For school news from the students’ perspective, we often turn to the Jackson-Reed Beacon. Recent reporting includes:
- As yet unspent money for repairs in the high school’s unusable 850-seat auditorium, and the compounding harms to its theater program.
- The firing of its football coach.
- Marking the one-year anniversary of the school’s name change.
- And going back to grades, an op-ed the December 18th issue (page 5) about the damage the drive for straight As can do to students’ mental health and general well-being.
The most recent printed issue, published in December, has a lot more that isn’t on the website. We especially recommend the colorful, lively and lovely full-page spread with the remainder of a student’s first-person, Page One story about being transgender, and an article about LGBTQ+ teachers and their experiences at Jackson-Reed. You can also read these pieces here and here.
Donating to the Beacon pays for printing and other costs and gets you a subscription to a PDF of each edition. Email [email protected] for information.
Save the date
The Hearst Elementary School auction is 1970s and disco-themed. Murch Elementary is going for a Barbie and Ken vibe. But we think they missed an opportunity to take their fundraisers to a galaxy far, far away. The date for both auctions is May the 4th. Which is, of course, Star Wars Day.
The organizers of both auctions welcome volunteers, sponsors, and donations of items and services they can put up for bid.