ST. PAUL (AP) -- For the first time, Minnesota parents will receive report cards on the school their children attend.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Cheri Pierson Yecke, the state's education commissioner, unveiled the new accountability tool Thursday at a St. Paul elementary school. Every school in the state will be evaluated on academic achievement, academic opportunity, school safety and student participation.
"Every kitchen table in Minnesota needs one of these," Pawlenty said. "Getting accurate information to parents about their child's school is a key part of our statewide accountability efforts. This report card will put a lot of information into the hands of parents in a format that's easy for them to understand."
The report card uses a five-star rating system for academic achievement in both math and reading. Five stars indicate that the school has made adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law. One star indicates the school has not made adequate yearly progress under the law for two consecutive years.
Issuing the report cards will cost the Education Department very little, spokesman Doug Gray said, because the results will be posted on its Web site. Schools will be encouraged to print them out and distribute the report cards to parents, he said.
The department hopes to have the report cards available in time for the State Fair, which starts Aug. 21.
Along with the school's yearly status, the report card will include details on school finance, staff and student demographics, and information on parents' satisfaction.
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