Lots of people have complained about the progress reports, saying their dependence on test scores gives short shrift to other important features of schools, including safety, class size, and the arts. UFT President Randi Weingarten plans to do something about it.
According to the Sun, Weingarten is developing a school grading system to rival the DOE's. In an attempt to predict what that grading system would look like, the Sun gives a rundown of Weingarten's opinions on the progress report grades:
She has praised the education department's emphasis on progress over absolute achievement — but denounced its reliance on just two years of test scores. She has praised the letters A, B, C, D, and F, saying "ratings help us make decisions" — but she also indicated support for giving more than one grade to each school. "Moving forward," she wrote in the same recent column, "the progress reports should give more weight to conditions like class size and safety, access to advanced courses and the availability of enrichment activities."One would also think that a UFT-designed report card would give significant weight to teaching conditions at the school. Currently, how teachers feel about the support and professional development they get is condensed into just a few questions on the teacher surveys, which make up just 5 percent of the total progress report grade.