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Columbus Schools Receive Improved Marks On State Report Card

Licking Heights High School freshmen take notes in a World History class taught by Amy Obhof..
Andy Chow
Ohio Public Radio

Columbus City Schools no longer has a failing grade from the state. Ohio's largest school district earned a D rating in the latest report cards, a marked improvement from its previous F grade.

A press release from superintendent Talisa Dixon says it sets the stage for a new multi-year strategic plan. The non-failing grade also staves off a potential state takeover, although state lawmakers recently passed a one-year moratorium on the practice.

In the Central Ohio region, only Grandview Heights, New Albany-Plain and Olentangy earned A ratings.

Seven of the state's eight big urban districts improved from an "F" to a "D." That includes Dayton, which was in danger of a potential state takeover.

State Schools Superintendent Paolo DeMaria says the numbers show steady growth in achievement all around the state.

"Not to be satisfied with a 'D' but the sense I get from all of us is that they're going to leverage this momentum and continue working really aggressively to drive greater improvement," DeMaria says.

However, several groups continued their criticism of the letter grade system, calling it arbitrary and misleading.

“Having a state agency assign an arbitrary letter grade to our local school districts is not a fair way to encourage academic improvement and heighten morale as has been demonstrated by the continued failing grades assigned to some of our poor and urban districts,” said state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), House minority caucus leader, in a written statement.

DeMaria says the report cards can tell part of the story but encourages people to reach out to district leaders to learn more about what they're schools are doing that can't be measured through these grades.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.