Chicago To Judge Schools On How It Heals From COVID-19 As Kids Suffer Major Learning Loss

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The Chicago Board of Education voted Wednesday to change how it rates public schools, judging them on how their learning environment heals from COVID-19, while students suffer major learning loss.

In a 6-0 vote, the board approved its “Continuous Improvement and Data Transparency” accountability policy, which will label schools on a five point scale, now considering how the school supports student’s emotionally and how parents feel about their child’s education in addition to student grades. The new policy comes after a February report revealed that not one student in 55 Chicago Public Schools met grade level expectations in either math or reading during the 2021-2022 school year. (RELATED: Teachers, Activists Push School Districts To Drop Calculus In The Name Of Equity)

“This is a soft accountability policy that can be model for the nation,” John Easton, an advisor for the policy, said at the board meeting, according to WBEZ News. “We’re using a flashlight, not a hammer. The flashlight is to help us find that place where some support can help and it’s not a hammer… that you’re a bad school because you’re serving kids from impoverished and disenfranchised and disinvested neighborhoods.”

The new policy moves away from the board’s previous ranking system which was criticized for heavily relying on student’s standardized test scores rather than the educational environment, Chalkbeat Chicago reported. The adopted policy aims to identify school’s weaknesses and give them solutions.

Lucy Baldwin, a teacher at King Elementary School, sits in an empty classroom teaching her students remotely during the first day of classes on September 08, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Students at King Elementary and the rest of Chicago public schools started classes today with students being taught remotely because of COVID-19 concerns. Teachers are given the option to teach from home or from their classrooms. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Lucy Baldwin, a teacher at King Elementary School, sits in an empty classroom teaching her students remotely during the first day of classes on September 08, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Under the new policy, the school district’s “input” into education will be heavily weighed, considering its quality of curriculums and partnerships with the community. U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is monitoring how the equity grading system works within the district, Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez told Chalkbeat Chicago.

Chicago’s adaptation of its “soft accountability” public school grading system comes as several schools across the country are moving to axe homework and deadlines in an effort to increase equity; schools in California, Nevada and Connecticut are adopting a practice called “equitable grading,” which gives students more chances to show they have mastered a subject, a practice that places less emphasis on homework and deadlines in an attempt to give kids who have a hard home life more opportunities to learn the material.

Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Board of Education did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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