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Schubert: It's time to get this right

By Joe Centers • Sep 18, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Kim Schubert is putting her foot down and taking a stand.

The state report cards for schools came out last week and she refuses to take it sitting down.

In a visiting viewpoint to the Norwalk Reflector, Schubert, the Bellevue City Schools superintendent, had some stern words for the people in Columbus.

“As an educational leader I understand and value the importance of accountability measures,” she wrote.

“My comments are in no way a method to deter from accountability, but I cannot continue to stand by and allow our schools to be judged by an accountability system that we all know is broken, not to mention tremendously expensive for our taxpayers.

“Through the state accountability system our school district (Bellevue) has been rated a ‘C,’ which is not only absurd, it is reckless. Our students don’t arrive at our door standardized and we will not apologize for not trying to standardize them. Rather, we embrace their differences, value them and educate the whole child. We help students make tremendous academic gains and we do this while preparing them for college, career, entrepreneurship and successful citizenship. We help them through times of trauma and we are there to celebrate their times of joy as well. We have high standards for educating our students to compete in Ohio, America and around the globe.

“Bellevue City Schools is an A+ district which cares about children more than test scores. I know that our neighboring school districts are also high-quality schools, not accurately depicted by their local report card scores. Yes, I know that competition is important to some, but to me honesty is most critical. In organizations as big as ours we all know we aren’t perfect, but I guarantee we strive each and every day to do what is best for our students.”

Take that, Columbus.

Bellevue football coach Ed Nasonti and his team must have been listening. The Redmen took an 0-3 record into Friday night’s game against the undefeated Shelby Whippets and not only won the game, but pummeled their longtime rival 45-28.

The Redmen get an A-plus for their efforts Friday.

Each time these report cards come out they stir up some emotions.

Norwalk City Schools Superintendent George Fisk has his own concerns.

“Since the inception of the current version of district report cards, I have repeatedly expressed my concern with the metrics used and the very limited view that standardized tests portray of student achievement,” he said. “At NCSD, our staff strives to provide a well-balanced educational experience that enriches the whole student — not just the areas graded by the state.

“With that said, I feel that our district's improvement in the area of indicators met (7 vs 4) and gap closing indicate that our school-improvement efforts are on the right track. We have met more indicators this year and our sub-groups achieved at the levels set by the state of Ohio. Our goal for this year will be to build upon these successes and continue to strive to meet all the expectations set for us.

“In the coming days all residents of our school district will receive the second edition of our district's quality profile. This document makes up for the areas that are omitted by the state's district report card,” Fisk said.

“NCSD is an amazing district full of hard-working students and staff. While we still have a great deal of work to do, I applaud them for their dedication to making our district the best in Huron County.”

Seven of the nine local public schools received Cs on their report card, while Edison got a “B” and Willard a “D.” Almost half of the schools graded received a “C.”

This is a debate that won’t end. Right or wrong, it appears the report card — or some form of it — is here to stay.

Schubert said it’s time to get this right.

“My hope is that we will all work together to move past this system and find real solutions to the challenges we face such as poverty, childhood trauma and graduation requirements to name just a few,” she wrote. “We have many, many students in Ohio who will face not graduating this year without changes by our state legislators to continue with the alternative pathways to graduation. Students who are ready for the work force with much to offer, but will be denied a diploma because of their inability to meet a score on a set of standardized tests.”

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected]

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