Could it be? The DOE appears to be responding to its critics!
The DOE informed principals last week that it will be altering the controversial progress reports before new grades are released next year, and many of the changes reflect suggestions made by parents, school leaders, and even City Council members who thought the single grades were reductive, counterproductive, and often wrong. As Elizabeth Green notes in the Sun, the grades aren't going anywhere, and they'll still be based on test scores, but they could be gentler and easier to understand.
In the future, the DOE has proposed, schools will not be penalized if their top-scoring students receive the highest score on state tests two years in a row; schools whose special education students take standardized tests will get credit, no matter those students' scores; and the "peer groups" against which schools are measured will reformed according to test scores, not demographic data. And schools might get separate grades for environment, student achievement, and student progress, instead of just the one grade they received last year (the composite grade will continue to be issued as well). Read about the full set of changes proposed at eduwonkette, who posted the full memo principals received.
I'll believe all the changes when I see them, but it sounds like the DOE is on the right track. As I said last fall, there's useful information in the progress reports, and I think structuring the reports in a way that allows schools and parents to access that information will pay off for the DOE and for kids. (Removing the high stakes attached to the grades would also be good for schools and kids.) Just think about what could have happened last year if the DOE had listened to community input before releasing the problematic progress reports!