JACKSON, Miss.--Not everyone is satisfied with the standards by which our schools are graded. The new school accountability rating system went into effect this year and the results were published last week. It's an A through F system that some lawmakers are touting as a simplified, more easy to understand system because it looks like a report card.
News Mississippi is asking, "What do these ratings really mean?" The reason is that there are some schools that are being rated in the B and C categories that do not appear to be doing so well. On the same ticket, there are schools with an F, that according to federal standards, are on target.
We spoke with Forest Thigpen, from the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. The group is advocating for reforms like charter schools. He tells us he's happy with the new grading system, but not so pleased with the methods.
"How they derive those grades is something we're still concerned about," he said. "They need to raise the bar as the state Board of Education had originally intended when they put the accountability system in place three years agao."
At that time, schools were given ratings such as "Successful" or "Failing" or "At Risk of Failing".
While we haven't yet gotten a good answer to our question about the real meaning of the ratings, it is just a bit clearer that Mississippi education still has a long way to go, even according to the new rating system, which has 66 percent of districts at or below a C.