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It’s official: IPS unanimously approves contract for new superintendent

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There is a new superintendent leading Indianapolis Public Schools. The board voted unanimously Friday to put Dr. Lewis Ferebee in to the Superintendent seat. Afterward, he spoke to the media about some of the big issues plaguing the district and the state education system.

The investigation in to allegations of grade fixing at a charter school funded by a Fepublican donor, which call into question the validity of the A-F grading system, came up during the news conference.

Dr. Ferebee also talked about whether the ISTEP testing is really necessary.

Ferebee seemed to take the stance that everyone’s success in school needs to be looked at, not just the students who score higher versus the ones who score lower.

“I want all of our students to grow and to succeed. And, I think when you begin to have a focus on letter grades or solely proficiency, you miss some students, and I don’t want to miss any student,” said Ferebee.

Fox59 news had a chance to talk to the new superintendent just minutes after the board banged the gavel to unanimously approve his contract. He was asked straight out, do the A-F grading system and the ISTEP test need to go away?

“Proficiency alone really doesn’t tell us whether our students are growing. I prefer a model that gives us the type of indication of whether or not all of our students are growing, whether they’re below proficiency, on grade level or above grade level. I want all of our students growing.”

The validity of the A-F grading system came in to question when an investigation was launched over whether former State Superintendent Tony Bennett fixed the grade of a charter school. He’s a Republican, and the school was founded by a Republican donor. Bennett resigned from his post in Florida amid the investigation.

Additionally, there’s the issue of the ISTEP test after supplier CTB/McGraw Hill apologized for a computer glitch that delayed the test results, while not affecting the outcome. All of this made Dr. Lewis Ferebee consider other alternatives.

“I do try to keep on track in terms of what’s happening with the grades and our labels, but, it is not an area that I have extreme focus on.”

Dr. Ferebee’s contract starts Sept. 23.