Letter: School-grading scheme would put alternatives schools in false light

April 23, 2013 

The Herald's April 3 editorial rightly praised the work that is being done at New Horizons and other "alternative" high schools.

The principals and staff at schools like New Horizons rarely get the recognition they deserve. How ironic it is, therefore, that under the A-F school grading bill our state Legislature was considering, New Horizons would be awarded an F.

A good portion of this grade would be based on New Horizons' poor on-time graduation rate. It makes no difference for the purposes of school-grading schemes that the school is designed to serve kids who have dropped out or are in danger of dropping out and thus can't graduate "on-time" by definition.

If the algorithm says a school gets an F, it gets an F regardless of what may be actually going on in its classrooms. When schemes for evaluating school performance are designed by lobbyists and state legislators and implemented from offices in Olympia, accuracy and common sense frequently go out the window.

WILLIAM PENNELL, Pasco

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