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California's new Dashboard rating system may make schools look better, but it doesn't serve kids

To the editor: I graduated from a Los Angeles high school in 1967, which places me on the older end of the age spectrum. Over many decades, I have witnessed the sad “dumbing-down” of public education in California. (“California's new education ratings tool paints a far rosier picture than in the past,” March 16)

It seems intuitively obvious that in order to fix a problem, you need to first recognize not only the existence of a problem, but also the extent of the problem. Some sort of quantitative measurement is essential, hence the value of student test scores to measure student achievement and proficiency.

With the new California School Dashboard system, we are now seeing the dumbing-down of school assessment. School improvement apparently being weighted as much or more than actual test scores will make many school principals and unknowing parents feel better.

However, how can any rational person think this will contribute to the much-needed improvement of public schools?

Judy Field, Laguna Niguel

..

To the editor: Playing with the numbers to change the picture on the effectiveness of our schools does not change the fact that most kids are doing poorly in math and English.

Dashboard, the new system, will make our poorly performing public schools look better, but how does that help the kids? The schools should know whether their students are learning well without spending funds to manipulate the numbers so as to present a rosier picture for the poor-performing schools.

In the final analysis, it’s all about teaching our kids what they need to know.

George Epstein, Los Angeles

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