(Guest Post from Matthew Ladner)
We now have a bipartisan analysis of what actually happened in Indiana grading-gate scandal. Rick Hess covers the subject here:
Flash-forward five weeks, and we finally have a resolution. The headline: Bennett exonerated. That’s the conclusion of a 56-page official report, requested by Indiana’s legislative leaders, and released Friday. Authored by Democrat John Grew, executive director of state relations and policy analysis at Indiana University, and Republican Bill Sheldrake, president and founder of Indianapolis-based research firm Policy Analytics, the report finds that Bennett acted appropriately and fair-mindedly. Grew and Sheldrake spent the past month or so investigating what happened and reviewing the data. They concluded that Bennett and his staff made “fair” and “plausible” changes to Indiana’s school rating system before releasing 2012′s A-F grades. They found that a lack of planning and capacity had forced Bennett and his team to make a series of on-the-fly “interpretations” and judgments, but that Bennett and his staff “consistently” applied changes to Christel House and 180 other affected schools. In short, nothing to see here.
Since Tony’s critics are on the whole fair-minded people with only a tiny minority suffering from some sort of derangement syndrome, I’m sure Tony’s inbox will be filling up with apologies. Some analysts who were willing to pontificate much with little in the way of facts just might be feeling a bit sheepish today as well. Pundits are extremely responsible after all and never just shuffle on to the next subject when they are way off base on something.
I have believed from the outset that no one from Diane Ravitch to Charles Murray sitting in Tony’s position would have told 16 schools without junior and senior students to simply eat getting zero points from graduation rates and AP completion categories. “Would you shut up already and get some juniors and seniors” is simply not a response that any half-way reasonable person was going to utter. I have also believed from the outset that if the changes made applied to only one school then it was a scandal, but that if they evenly applied the changes across schools then this was a hatchet-job.
For the record it was a hatchet-job.