Change to system coming after grade change scandal

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Change is coming to the state's system of grading schools following the scandal that led to Tony Bennett's resignation in Florida.

Legislative leaders ordered an investigation Friday into the state's A to-F grading system. It follows the governor's call for a review. And Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has already begun working on a new system.

Republican Bill Sheldrake and Democrat John Grew have been selected by legislative leaders to evaluate the A to F grading system.

GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma says the system may need to be replaced.

"We want to have an independent third party look at this," he said, "not vested in the program, respected, bi-partisan."

It's the result of the scandal that led Bennett to resign as education commissioner in Florida. Recently discovered emails show that Bennett instructed his staff to change the formula so that the grade for the Christel House Academy Charter Schools changed from a "C" to an "A."

Live from the State Fair on WISH-TV's Daybreak, the governor explained why he wants a separate review conducted by the Indiana Department of Education.

"I really think it's important that we preserve our A to F system," said Pence. "I believe we can do that in a way that parents and teachers and every Hoosier is confident going forward in this system."

All three approaches have one thing in common.  They will result in an accountability system of some kind.

"What we want is an accurate measurement," said Bosma, "an accurate measurement tool, so that schools, teachers, students, parents, and policymakers can use it to improve.  That's the goal is to improve."

And, if nothing else, Bennett's experience has pointed out that the current system has flaws.

The governor would like a review completed before the board of education meets next week. Legislative leaders have a deadline of Labor Day for their investigation to be completed. Ritz has offered no announced timeline for the development of her plan.

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