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New Administration to Do Away With Letter Grades for Schools

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City schools will continue to get annual report cards under the new administration, but they will no longer be getting a final grade. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña made the official announcement Wednesday morning to a school auditorium full of invited guests: no more letter grades.

"Schools have unique qualities that cannot be captured in a letter grade," Fariña said. "They are not restaurants."

The demise of the annual A through F grading system is not a surprise. It's something Bill de Blasio had promised long before he was Mayor Bill de Blasio. But on Wednesday, Fariña revealed what will replace the Bloomberg-era report cards: new report cards.

Like the old report cards first introduced in 2007, the new ones will include information like graduation rates, standardized test scores, and the results of surveying students, teachers and parents. You'll still be able to see how many high school graduates are ready for college and whether students with special needs are improving. And while there is no A, B, C, D or F, schools will be rated in many categories as excellent, good, fair or poor.

So the biggest change is that the city will just no longer be adding all the information together and comparing it to other, similar schools with a final grade.

"We have heard, and loudly, I might add, that accountability does not begin with a DOE algorithm to measure schools," Fariña said.

However, it turns out that the new report cards will actually keep using algorithms, just buried a little deeper. Under the new system, each school will get two versions of its report, and the more detailed one is filled with the kind of point systems and weighted scores first implemented by the Bloomberg administration.

The chancellor said she believes the new version will strike the right balance between giving parents information and holding schools accountable, without fostering unhealthy competition between schools.

"We are no longer forcing change on people. We're creating change with people," Fariña said.

The DOE said it will release the first of these new reports by the end of December.

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