The main issue is that school grades don't necessarily correlate with what people think. My school earned an A, and the students were shocked. When it comes down to certain high schools, it is about numbers that more connect with gains than achievement. Instead, people think the A represents the highest level of academic ability. It does not, and it should not.
Schools get the students they get; teachers work with the level of students they receive. Why should schools like Stanton or Paxon be compared to our non-magnet students? They should not; in fact, they should be held to an even higher level of accountability as most of the students they receive are reading, writing, and doing math on level or way above the standard. When a school like Jackson last year earned the B as referenced in another entry, it meant that gains took place in certain categories for whatever reasons. (I understand that those reasons sometimes are variable.)
This year First Coast and Lee went up 1 level (to a B) and 2 levels (to an A) respectively, not because every student can read and write on level, but because they made gains in various areas set forth by the Florida Department of Education. The A is sometimes about a high level of achievement, the progress a school makes, or both. What we need is a more concise and clear way to define achievement, so everyone understands what the grades mean.
There is a research article that really redefined my beliefs about literacy and teaching pedagogy. It is called "The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3."
How can we possibly grade all schools in the same way?
I encourage anyone who believes that the system could or should ever work the way it does to read this article. Schools should always, and I mean always, be about progress. Even then, progress should be defined based on many things. Once you read this article, you will understand.