Columbus City Schools is failing in nearly half of the grades issued by the state in the annual report cards.
The new report cards use a letter grade system that is being called tougher on the districts because it focuses more on performance criteria and less on the labels previously used like excellent and excellent with distinction.
The results from Columbus City Schools are:
Performance Index: D
Performance Indicators: F
Overall Value-Added: F
Gifted Students' value-added: F
Students With Disabilities' value-added: C
Bottom 20 percent of students: C
Four-year Graduation: D
Five-year Graduation: D
Annual Measurable Objectives (closing achievement gaps) F
Overall value added measures the impact a teacher and a school has on a student's academic progress.
Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman has said from the start that he does not want to run the school district. But he took more of a leadership role Thursday, saying the failing grade for the district was unacceptable.
"Failing schools are unacceptable in the city of Columbus. It is our collective responsibility to fix it," he said. "We meet no science, no math, no social studies indicators in any grade."
Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Richard Ross said the purpose of releasing the ratings is to show districts how they can improve.
"The purpose of this is to get data out to superintendents, educators, moms and dads, and communities about where we are and how we are going to work together and improve. And, as was said by the board vice president and I earlier, this is not a gotcha. This is here we are, and is really a gall to action. We need to improve the preference of our students," Ross said.
Parent Jocelyn Biggers has two kids at Hamilton STEM Academy and said she has tried to help her children succeed in the classroom, but that changes are needed in the district for them to be successful.
"I want her prepared to go to college. I don't want her to get there and have to take remedial classes just because her foundation at elementary, at middle and high school wasn't set firm," she said.
Interim Superintendent Dan Good made no excuses for the poor state report cards, and said he is looking at the future.
"I am not discouraged because this state report reflects the school district's past. We have a plan for the future," he said.
Coleman said the 55 recommendations which came out of the Columbus Education Committee are the benchmarks to turning around the district.
"Getting good schools into neighborhoods that don't' have them, replicating them, duplicating them, tutoring efforts, all kinds of things that will lift up this district," Coleman said.
All those improvements will cost money, though. Coleman said the new levy needs to pass to make those changes.
But with a troubled district, will voters approve it?
"You know we got a lot of good things going for the City of Columbus. The one thing that is holding our city back is education, and if we can't solve education in our city for every child in our city, frankly, we are a city that is going to be in trouble," Coleman said.
But parents who spoke to NBC4 Thursday said they are still on the fence about voting for the levy.
One issue with the new report cards is that there will not be an overall grade given to districts until August 2015.
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