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De Blasio Plans To Get Rid Of School Letter Grades, Bloomberg Says That's A Mistake

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TWC News: De Blasio Plans To Get Rid Of School Letter Grades, Bloomberg Says That's A Mistake
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Twenty-seven percent of city schools earned an A this year, a distinction they may get to brag about for years to come if Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio goes through with his plan to get rid of school letter grades.

De Blasio said once he’s mayor, the controversial A through F rating system will be one of the first education policies to go.

Unsurprisingly, the current mayor thinks that's a mistake.

“You have to give people information in the context that they can use it and at a level that they can understand,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

There's a massive amount of data on city schools, lots of which goes into each school's grade. The grade includes data on how test scores compare to previous years and similar schools, what parents, teachers and students say about the environment and whether kids graduate on time.

De Blasio said he'll keep generating those reports, just without the overall letter grades.

"Educators, experts and parents will be convened to determine if the progress reports are the most effective long-term way to evaluate schools,” de Blasio said.

The DOE's Chief Academic Officer, who's often mentioned as a long-shot chancellor candidate, said he'd like to see the system improved, not abolished.

“There's always change when there's a new administration. What I hope is that folks look at it carefully and ask the question, what's working, where are their concerns and how do we address those concerns because what we've found is that we can actually address a lot of the concerns that people have, we can make them better,” said Shael Polakov-Suransky.

The progress reports have changed slightly each year. A few years ago, they began including the percent of high school students who graduated ready for college-level work after four years.

This year, it was 31.4 percent, which may sound low but is a big improvement from 2005, when it was just 16 percent.

Though de Blasio isn't even a fan of the letter grades, charter school supporters were still quick to highlight how they earned a higher percentage of As and Bs, saying they hope it helps convince the mayor-elect to be more supportive of what they do.

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