Think tank gives county schools mixed grades

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

Published:

 

Washington State School Achievement Index

Source: Washington Policy Center

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A report released this week by a public policy think tank in Olympia gave 15 public schools in Clark County an A grade for academic achievement, but gave most schools a C or D, and gave seven schools an F.

The Washington Policy Center on Wednesday released its take on a state "achievement index" for 231 schools, to show how schools would fare if the state assigned letter grades to school performance. Bills to mandate such grades are before the Washington Legislature.

"Senior elected leaders, including Governor Inslee, recommend giving public schools letter grades to inform the public about how well schools are fulfilling their paramount duty to provide for the education of every child," Liv Finne, director of the Center for Education at Washington Policy Center, wrote in policy notes released this week.

The Washington Policy Center uses statistics compiled from the State Board of Education's annual School Achievement Index Report, which compares test scores and graduation rates, and adds its own letter grades.

In Clark County, 15 schools, or 11.6 percent, were rated "exemplary" and received an A grade. Fourteen schools, or 10.8 percent, were rated "very good" and were given a B. Fifty-four schools, or 41.8 percent, were rated "good" and given a C. Thirty-nine schools, or 30.2 percent, were rated "fair" and given a D, and seven schools, or 5.4 percent, were rated "struggling" and given an F.

Statewide, 11 percent of the schools received an A grade; 15 percent received a B, 35 percent received a C, 27 percent received a D, and 7 percent received an F.

According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the School Achievement Index was mandated by the Washington State Legislature and adopted by the State Board of Education and OSPI in 2009. Neither OSPI nor the State Board of Education use the statistics to rank schools or to give schools letter grades.

Finne said Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, introduced SB 5328 to create an A through F system based on the State Board of Education's accountability measures, and Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw, has introduced a companion measure, HB 1476, in the House.

The Washington Public Policy Center bills itself as "an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that promotes sound public policy based on free-market solutions."

Clark County's highest-achieving schools, rated "exemplary" or grade of A

Battle Ground Public Schools

CAM Junior/Senior High

Battle Ground High School

Camas School District

Camas High School

Grass Valley Elementary

Hayes Freedom High School

Helen Baller Elementary

Liberty Middle School

Skyridge Middle School

Evergreen Public Schools

Fisher's Landing Elementary

Riverview Elementary

Shahala Middle School

Ridgefield School District

South Ridge Elementary

Vancouver Public Schools

Clark Co. Detention Center

Vancouver School of Arts and Academics

Woodland school district

Woodland Intermediate

Clark County's lowest-achieving schools, rated "struggling" or grade of F

Evergreen Public Schools

Crestline Elementary

Stevenson-Carson School District

Columbia Virtual Academy

Vancouver Public Schools

Fir Grove Children's Center

Fruit Valley Elementary

Lewis and Clark High School

Vancouver Virtual Learning Academy

Woodland school district

Yale Elementary

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4515; http://www.twitter.com/col_schools;susan.parrish@columbian.com.