Preliminary A to F accountability ratings for Texas schools rele - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Preliminary A to F accountability ratings for Texas schools released

Source: KXXV Source: KXXV

On Friday, 29 Central Texas superintendents voiced their opposition to a new accountability system for Texas schools.

During a joint press conference, several of them said they are not against accountability but the new system is not a true reflection of their schools.

“This detachment from reality is why this system is going to fail," Axtell ISD Superintendent Dr. J.R. Proctor said.

On Friday, Texas Education Agency released a preliminary report of the new rating system for public schools that will be issued for the first time in August of 2018.

Last year, the Texas Legislature passed HB 2804, which changes the Texas school accountability system. Under this new law, every campus and district is graded in five different areas using an A to F scale. After that, each campus and district receives an overall grade.

TEA released possible grades of four of the five domains and did not include the overall rating for any campus or district.

The five domains include students’ achievement based on STAAR tests, student progress on those tests from year to year. In addition, schools will be graded on closing the achievement gaps between economically disadvantage students and other students’ post- secondary readiness. The fifth domain will be based on the school district’s evaluation of its own performance, which is based on community and student engagement. 

"The way the new system is set up, it gives parents and educators a good idea of how their school is doing, really in a way that the current system does not do,” TEA spokeswoman Lauren Callahan said.

The current system only shows whether schools met standard or need improvement.

Several superintendents expressed concerns about discrepancies between the current system and the A to F rating system.

"This accountability system does not provide an accurate grade of our schools. Schools that previously met standards by TEA would currently be considered by TEA with a D or an F,” Waco ISD Superintendent Dr. Bonny Cain said.

McGregor ISD Superintendent Kevin Houchin said under the current system McGregor High School received six distinctions and an overall award for post-secondary readiness.

"Yet we received a low performing grade in domain four (post-secondary readiness) in this A to F system so you can see the confusion this may cause to my community as we've been touting the efforts of our staff,” Houchin said.

Commissioner of Education Mike Morath said the models are likely to change before they become effecting in 2018.

“No inferences about official district or campus performance in the 2015–16 school year should be drawn from these ratings, and these ratings should not be considered predictors of future district or campus performance ratings,”Morath said in a statement.

Killeen ISD Superintendent Dr. John Craft who said the new system focuses on a single assessment questioned the timing of the release of the preliminary ratings.

“The timing of the release is impeccable as we get ready to enter another legislative session, we know that education savings grants, vouchers is going to be a topic of this legislative session,” Craft said.

According to TEA, HB 2804 required a preliminary work-in progress report to be released by January 1, 2017.

Callahan said the two systems cannot be compared with each other because they are different. She added the system is still a work in progress and may look differently once it is implemented in 2018.

"Commissioner Morath and staff here at the TEA are really committed to working with the legislature, to working with stakeholders to ensure that the system continues to improve. Where we are today is likely not where we will be in entirety in August of 2018,” Callahan said.

The preliminary ratings are included below.

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