People will never trust grades doled out by politicians




riecken_2012 (175x220)Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City issued the following statement in reaction to the results of a study of the state’s A to F grading system that was commissioned by Republican leaders in the Indiana General Assembly.

I wanted to ensure that you saw Leader Pelath’s comments in full:

“Those guys tried their best. But it’s going to be hard to get the stench off the A-F system. (Former Superintendent of Public Instruction) Tony Bennett let a skunk spray all over it.

“The fact is people will never fully trust grades doled out by politicians for political purposes. The grades are for rewarding friends and punishing the weak. That’s why some communities in Indiana are pledging to ignore them altogether.

“Other investigations are continuing. When they’re all done and we add them up, maybe we’ll slow down on the experiments and remind ourselves that education is about the kids, not the powerful. There isn’t anything from the episode that will help make a child score better on a math test.”


  1. There is no “stench” on the A-F grading system. It is a system that served countless generations of Americans very well and the system that most of the members of the Indiana General Assembly were graded under when they went through public school.

    Where the system jumped the tracks was when social promotions were allowed to become common place and teachers were even forbidden to retain failing students.

    There has not been a fair grading system in use since this change took place because it is obvious to anyone that social promotion and fair grades can not exist together.

    Also, in using the same A-F system to grade individual schools, or entire school corporations, you run into the same problem. Corporations that have a high number of social promotions should not receive the same grade or a higher grade than school corporations that do not.

    Standardized testing is of course the fairest way to determine the effectiveness of the teaching staff, as everyone is playing by the same rules on the test.

    School corporation grades, A-F, should be tied to their standardized test scores and the number of entering freshmen who graduate in 4 years.

    For Riecken to attempt to use Bennett’s actions to scrap a grading system that should never have been scrapped in the first place is simply an indication of the influence of the ISTA on politicians.

  2. Until politics are taken completely out of US education, this country will continue to fall further and further behind the rest of the industrialized world. Parents who try to dictate cirriculum according to their own personal beliefs are by far the most destructive force in our educational system.

    • The parents are the first to know whether their children are receiving a proper education. They want to see their children become successful, self-supporting, members of society. If the curriculum you have put together is not getting the job done, then the parents, who are the most invested in their child’s education, have a duty to call for change. Do not confuse that with “politics”, or cry politics when there is none present.


Comments are closed.