Mark GiaQuinta, a member of the Fort Wayne school board, responded to a local columnist with a searing critique of the state’s A-F grading system.

I think you will enjoy Mark’s insightful comments:


Thanks for the article posted above. I appreciate your statement in the article that you view the DaHaan charter school as, “stellar” and “amazing” despite its “C” grade. That has been my and others’ point all along. It may very well be stellar, amazing, etc. and still get a C. In fact, it may be all those things even had it receive a “D” or an “F”. The point Tony just could not grasp is that these grades mean so darn little. The school should be evaluated based in part on the standardized assessments but there must be recognition of the challenges faced by the school, the quality of parental involvement, the demographic of the school, the extent of the language barrier in the school, the leadership in the building, the extra-curricular programs, and the willingness and ability of the staff to coordinate the learning experience to bring out the student’s best.

This story leaves me amused, frustrated and angry all at the same time. Amused for obvious reasons – how could anyone with a Ph.D think these really dumb statements would stay secret. Frustrated because I know that the money in the system will continue to influence legislators that the A-F system improves education. But most of all I am angry. South Side High School missed a “C” by one lousy point on this phony grading scale. Many other of our FWCS schools are in the same boat. South Side is not a “D” High School; it is stellar, amazing and deserving of praise. It never received that praise because Tony and the gutless wonders who worked for him (and who should have stood up to him) fixed the system.

I will announce soon that our Board will no longer recognize our schools on the basis of the letter grade assigned by the State. I will apologize for not having taken a stand against the letter grades when we were awarded an “A” (which fell to a “C” as part of the DaHaan grade inflation). We will do what we should have done a long time ago. We will develop our own metrics and award those stellar, amazing schools that work miracles in the lives of our students, regardless of the pay to play designation awarded by the State.

I will continue to take issue with your use of the word “reform” to describe the Bennett policies. Reform connotes improvement that has been proven. The policies initiated by Tony have not reformed anything yet. They have made a lot of people a lot of money. There may come a time when the results of these policies warrant the use of that term, but that day has yet to arrive. Until then, the policies are merely experiments. And if they fail, there will be a lot of young people who will have paid a dear price for Tony’s bluster.

Again, thanks for the article.

Mark E. GiaQuinta, Esq.
444 East Main Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana
E-mail: mgiaquinta@hallercolvin.