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Letter: New state report cards a fiasco

Posted: December 3, 2018 5:01 p.m.
Updated: December 4, 2018 1:00 a.m.

The South Carolina Deptartment of Education recently chose to delay the release of the “new and improved” school report cards due to a problem with data from one of the contractors involved.  This was obviously the correct course to take under the circumstances.

That said, I’m left with the nagging question of why the problem with the data was not picked up by the Department of Education before embargoed report cards were sent out to districts for review.  Apparently, it was the districts that actually uncovered the problem.

This certainly makes me wonder what else got missed and should cause reasonable doubt about the results that were ultimately released last week. I found it interesting that districts had only 24 hours to review the report card data after the data glitch was supposedly corrected. What was the big hurry? What harm would a couple of more days for review have done? Might we assume that there was uneasiness at the Department of Education about the unearthing of more mistakes?

As I have noted before, the process used to determine report card grades is so convoluted that the state needs almost 50 Power Point slides to explain it. The Ten Commandments only required a couple of stone tablets.  Why does this all have to be so complicated?

I hope the General Assembly will order a thorough external review of what happened here.  Millions and millions of tax dollars are spent each year in our state on bubble tests and report cards.  This funding comes at the expense of sorely-needed funding for classrooms and teaching. Are we getting value for the dollars spent here?

The release of the new report cards was a fiasco, plain and simple.

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