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Sadly, Arkansas' vast amount of public schools is still stuck with a "C."

The latest ESSA standards (Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015) were swept out with a big flourish by the Arkansas Department of Education.

Little was said by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

He let his Educational Secretary Johnny Key, a former Mountain Home Day Care owner, with no formal educational degree in education, come to the forefront and parrots the study.

In another portion of the statewide newspaper, it should be noted legislative audit found Secretary Key and his top aide, failed to denote any personal travel in their state-owned cars -- a no-no as everyone knows personal travel happens in those state owner SUVs.

But back to the latest A-to-F ratings for Arkansas' Public Schools.

• 17 more schools earned an "A" rating for 2018-2019 than did last year.

• 169 schools made an "A" rating.

The state of Arkansas has 1,026 school campuses affected by the A-to-F rankings.

Some other insights worth sharing:

• There are fewer schools with B and C grades, but slightly more with D grades.

• 311 Arkansas Schools earned B grades down by 2 over 2018.

• 358 schools got a "C," down from 380 a year ago.

• 150 Schools got a "D" this year compared to 145 a year ago.

The reaction about these letter grades -- stayed about the same.

State Senator Joyce Elliott of Little Rock, once again, called the letter grades "junk science" and were tools for helping further divide the schools that need academic help and the communities they are in.

"It means, most importantly, that this label gets tattooed onto the brains of children who go to these schools."

"If you think this doesn't hurt those kids, you need to think about what it would mean to you if you had to wear a scarlet "F" on you every day."

I stop this debate to remind readers the score breakdown on this A-to-F rating is not the one your homeroom English teacher scored your handwritten essays with once upon a time.

• An "A" in the ESSA system is from 72.33 and higher.

• A "B" is from 72.32 to 67.96.

• A "C" is from 67.95 to 61.10

• A "D" is from 52.95 to 61.09

• And the dreaded F ranking is any score below 52.94.

Locally here are some overall District scores.

• Springdale, the state's largest District -- has 29 campuses -- 7 got "A's" and no school got lower than a "C"

• Fayetteville -- 14 campuses -- 5 A's and nothing lower than a "C"

• Siloam Springs -- 6 campuses -- 3 "B's and 3 "C's"

• Elkins -- 4 campuses -- 4 "B's"

• Farmington -- 4 campuses -- 3 "A's and 1- B"

• Gentry -- 4 campuses -- 1 "B" and 3 "C's"

• Gravette -- 4 campuses -- 2 'A's and 2 "C's"

• Greenland -- 3 campuses -- All "C's"

• Haas Hall -- 4 campuses -- All "A's"

• Huntsville -- 6 campuses -- 1 "B"; 4 "C's"; and 1 "D"

• Lincoln -- 3 sites -- 1 "B" and 2 "C's"

• Prairie Grove -- 3 sites -- All "B's"

• West Fork -- 3 schools -- All "C's"

• Outside NWA -- the only district I noted with no improvement over the 2018 scores was Pine Bluff Dollarway. Three schools all rated "F."

We can do better than a state rating of "C." But it is going to take more than these report cards to do it. Real educational leadership is needed.

Not some guy who can't remember to log whether he stopped on his way home at the Walmart in a state-owned SUV to buy a gallon of milk.

-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at maylontrice@yahoo.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 10/16/2019

Print Headline: A,B,C ratings of schools yields less reform, more chaos

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