School ratings

This is not what accountability looks like.

On Thursday, the Clark County School District announced its campus-by-campus performance rankings, based on the 2011-12 school year. The five-star rating system, created last year to replace federal No Child Left Behind accountability standards, is supposed to give the public a better sense of which schools get the job done and which ones don’t.

We know the valley’s public schools are getting better under the leadership of Superintendent Dwight Jones. But are the improvements great enough that the number of five-star schools jumped from 51 to 91 in a single year? Great enough that the county no longer has a single “low performer,” one-star school?

No, our schools are not that good. Many schools improved their performance and received a higher rating as a result. But it turns out, no schools were allowed to drop in the rankings this year, even if their performance slipped. That’s the equivalent of passing a child with a failing grade.

Taxpayers were promised honesty about the shortcomings of their schools and higher expectations for their children. They were promised accountability for schools that didn’t make the grade. These ratings are cause for skepticism and cynicism, not celebration.

The school district now must follow the path it offers to so many students who fail: Do it over. Do it better.

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