INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mike Pence is insisting Indiana schools be graded for the 2012-13 school year, even though the state's grading system has proven to be easily manipulated and thousands of students had their standardized exams interrupted in April by computer errors.
"We give our kids letter grades every day; I think we need to give our schools letter grades every year," Pence said. "That kind of accountability, I think, is important."
The Republican governor said Thursday he's confident an independent review ordered by the General Assembly will help Hoosiers understand what happened in the Tony Bennett school grade-changing scandal and enable schools to be meaningfully rated for their work last year.
"This administration is committed to accountability, committed to preserving the A-F system and I believe once we answer the questions and bring about appropriate reforms and have a fair A-F system, our school systems will embrace that heartily and see that it is a great, great benefit to our kids and our families," he said.
A law enacted earlier this year requires the State Board of Education develop by November a new method of calculating school grades.
The 2012-13 grades will be determined using the old scoring method that the Department of Education claims Tony Bennett, the former superintendent of public instruction, manipulated to improve the grade of a favored charter school.
The board of Fort Wayne Community Schools, the largest school corporation in Indiana, voted 6-1 Monday to ignore grades issued to their schools until the system is reformed. Board President Mark GiaQuinta encouraged other school corporations do the same.
Pence said the two-year-old A-F system is too important to give up.
"We have tens of thousands of kids that find themselves in underperforming schools in this state," Pence said. "I don't think a time-out on our commitment to accountability and high performance is the right idea."