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Two local educators on test review panel

Gary Beveridge Elementary Principal Cheryl Ramsey was appointed state accountabillity review panel. | Carole Carolson/Post-Tribune

Gary Beveridge Elementary Principal Cheryl Ramsey was appointed to a state accountabillity review panel. | Carole Carolson/Post-Tribune

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Updated: September 10, 2013 11:56AM



Two local educators have been named to a 16-member accountability system review panel, following grade changing revelations in last year’s ISTEP Plus scores.

Gary Beveridge Elementary Principal Cheryl Ramsey and Portage Township Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia were appointed by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, the panel’s co-chairwoman.

Gov. Mike Pence and legislative leaders also made four appointments to the review panel.

Ramsey, who’s starting her first year as Beveridge principal, acknowledged the school received a grade of F in the last two state report cards. Ramsey said she looked forward to working with the other educators on the panel to gain more insight to help her school. Frataccia’s Portage district received an A grade for the past two years.

“I think as a principal of an F-rated school, I’m particularly happy to be able to work with a group of my peers,” said Ramsey, a former special education teacher.

Ramsey said no meeting date has been announced yet for the group’s first session.

A Democrat, Ritz defeated GOP incumbent school chief Tony Bennett last year.

A bipartisan report issued Friday showed that Bennett’s staff did not understand how difficult the new A-F grading process would be and cited problems in its implementation.

Bill Sheldrake, one of the report’s authors, said that while interviewing DOE staffers, it was learned there was a political motivation to get the grades out prior to last year’s election. During a local radio show appearance, Sheldrake said Bennett’s staff rushed things and weren’t ready.

The report also recommended suspending the intervention process for F-rated schools until a new accountability process is in place. The accountability measure allows for a state intervention, if a school receives an F grade for six straight years.

Last year, Bennett ordered such a takeover at the Gary Roosevelt College and Career Academy, now operated by a private, for-profit company.

An Associated Press story in August detailed emails from Bennett calling for the grade change of an Indianapolis charter school run by one of his campaign contributors. Similar grade changes were made to 20 other schools, the report concluded.

The stories led to Bennett’s resignation as Florida’s school chief.



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