An independent review of the A-to-F school grading controversy concludes then-state school superintendent Tony Bennett rushed the process of finalizing last year‘s grades.
The grades have been under fire since the disclosure of internal emails showing an intense focus on the C grade given to Indy’s Christel House charter school, with changes to the formula eventually raising that grade to an A.
The report by two former state fiscal analysts calls the revised formula "plausible," and says it was applied consistently to all schools.
The report says Bennett‘s supporters and critics agreed Christel House was universally considered excellent, and says the Department of Education was using it as a quality-control benchmark.
When Christel House got a C, the report says Bennett feared the system’s credibility would be undermined.
Meanwhile, the release of the independent results has immediate repercussions for one school, and could affect more.
Evansville‘s Glenwood Leadership Academy was on the brink of qualifying for a state takeover based on a run of poor scores.
State superintendent Glenda Ritz and Senate President Pro Tem David Long have endorsed a recommendation to freeze Glenwood‘s status because of the questions about how grades were calculated.
The report recommends lowering the grades of three high schools -- Speedway, Rossville, and Brazil Northview -- from an A to a B.
One of the problems which sparked the grading controversy was a computer error which cost 165 schools bonus points for improvement.
But in fixing the error, the report says officials improperly extended the fix to the high school level.