Lew Leone is the vice president and general manager of WNYW-FOX 5. He is taking to the airwaves with his thoughts on current affairs. It's called "Lew's View." The views expressed are not necessarily those of the station or its employees. In this commentary, Mr. Leone talks about the elimination of the grading system for the public schools themselves.
Teachers and school administrators grade our children every day. For the most part they get it right by using objective test scores, their best judgment, and they try to be fair.
But let's face it, as in life, sometimes favoritism, subjectivity and unfairness are introduced into the equation.
But try to give a grade to a teacher or a school and educators act like it's the end of the world as we know it. As I've noted many times, the teacher's union has fought tooth and nail against efforts to institute a rigorous performance evaluation process.
The union is happy with the status quo where 99% of teachers are rated "effective" and more than 50% of the kids can't read.
Now New York City's School Chancellor Carmen Farina is getting into the act. She has eliminated the grading system for city schools.
"Schools have unique qualities that cannot be captured in a letter grade. They're not restaurants," Farina says.
Seriously chancellor? So it is IK to grade our kids who all have unique qualities but not our schools?
The new system will use surveys and observations by educators to evaluate schools.
Did you know that in current surveys 95% of New York City parents are satisfied with their kids' education, yet two thirds of kids are not proficient in language arts and math?
Clearly, surveys are a poor way to evaluate reality. And observations by educators will not tell us if the kids are learning.
Report cards are a fact of life and most people continue to receive them when they enter the workforce.
For instance, here at Fox 5, we get a report card every morning when we receive the previous day's ratings. And most employees are reviewed every year.
Eliminating school grades, which were implemented under the Bloomberg administration, is a ridiculous and disappointing proposition which removes an incentive for schools to improve.
Without some type of objective measurement system, how will parents be able to make important decisions as they try to the best they can for their kids?
We really need to measure schools based upon student outcomes.