Recently, I raised the question at a Boston School Committee meeting of whether we have a version of “grade inflation” when 92 percent of Boston Public School teachers are rated proficient or exemplary. Boston Teachers Union President Richard Stutman stated my remark was insulting. I would like to explain why I respectfully differ.
In September 2012, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education rated at least 40 percent of our district schools as poorly performing (level 3: 48 schools, level 4: 12 schools). This excluded 22 schools which received no rating due to recent reorganizations or insufficient data, though a number of these also have low MCAS scores. I would argue our point of departure for school quality improvement is recognizing that more than 50 percent of our schools currently are poorly performing. We can’t get to our destination of high quality schools for every child if we can’t agree on our point of departure.