State to give school districts report cards this week

August 12, 2018

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — School districts across Texas will receive letter grades this week under a new rating system that has public school officials grumbling.

The Austin American-Statesman reports the Texas Education Agency on Wednesday will label school districts A-F and campuses with ratings of “met requirement” and “improvement required.” The ratings are to be based on how the schools performed in the 2017-18 school year.

Campuses won’t be graded A-F until 2019 after state lawmakers postponed implementation last year under pressure from school boards and superintendents. For now, campuses will be graded numerically on a 0-100 scale.

Public school officials had complained that the A-F system, enacted in 2015, relies heavily on student performance on the State of Teas Assessments of Academic readiness, not on broader performance metrics.

“We believe the rating system still relies too much on standardized testing and that low-income kids still get a disproportionate amount of low grades on STAAR tests,” said Clay Robison, spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association. “When campuses start being graded next year, we believe that most of the D’s and F’s will be in low-income neighborhoods. Those schools need more resources from the state, not higher stakes from their tests.”

But Education commissioner Mike Morath said he still believes the new system is “a significant improvement over the prior system.” He said it compares districts and schools with similar poverty rates so high-poverty campuses with lower grades won’t be unduly penalized.

“The idea that you can provide clear summative information to parents is a huge win for parents. The idea that the design of the system was meant to highlight both high levels of student achievement and high levels of educator impact makes this essentially the fairest system in the state of Texas,” he said last week.

The system evaluates districts on student achievement, school progress and closing the achievement gap affecting low-income students.


Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com

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