Letter grades are a starting point for school accountability

Published: October 8, 2012

Even multiple pieces of data will fail to give the full picture of a school. The information contained in the report card will be best used with the information parents glean from their children, their children's teachers and their own experiences at the school in question. Sometimes, data can help pinpoint a specific academic achievement issue with an obvious fix. At the same time, troubling data may simply be the result of a bigger issue such as teacher turnover or weak leadership.

And some information that parents want or think is important may not even be part of the report card formula. Whether a school focuses on the arts, offers foreign language courses, has a diverse student or teacher population and even a school's location are some of the factors parents consider.

We hope that parents will find the report cards helpful. But they shouldn't rule out the possibility that they need to do more homework to find the information they deem most important in judging a school's performance. The report cards are just a start.

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