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Belton ISD celebrates TEA grade, but calls system 'flawed'

Posted: 2:40 PM, Aug 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-14 15:43:35-04
Belton I-S-D disputes Texas Attorney General request

BELTON, TX — Belton ISD issued a statement on Wednesday ahead of the release of TEA's 2019 accountability ratings, which are expected to come out on Thursday.

Belton ISD is celebrating a number of wins this year, including the district's overall score increasing 5 percentage points in one year, from 83 to 88 percent.

Under the 2019 Accountability Rating system, TEA assigns an A-F grade to each district and campus. The score is based off of three domains, including student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps.

Superintendent Dr. Kincannon said she is pleased with the district's success and increased score, particularly that 25 percent of students scored at the 'Mastery' level or higher.

However, Kincannon also says the ratings define only one "measure of success," and that it should still be seen as no more than that.

Belton ISD had more than 100 Advanced Placement Scholars in the 2018-2019 school year. Students earned distinctions and statewide recognition across all areas, from fine arts and history to engineering and athletics. Every Belton school earned designation as a "No Place for Hate School," with students participating in special activities designed to teach about tolerance and respect. Students also took part in activities like Kids Against Hunger and the United Way Kids Campaign.

"These measures enrich our students learning and help them gain valuable skills that will impact them in positive ways into adulthood and throughout their lives," said Dr. Kincannon.

While proud of the many accomplishments of the district and its positive success under the accountability system, Dr. Kincannon still has reservations about the system and says it is inherently flawed.

A–F rating systems are inherently flawed in that students and schools are held to the same standards and rate of learning without consideration of the many variables and factors which impact achievement. This inequitable system places judgment on schools without consideration of unique human conditions, especially for schools with high concentrations of poverty.

The superintendent goes on to say that student success is much broader than this system.

"We will continue to understand and communicate that it does not define or limit us," said Dr. Kincannon. "Belton ISD will continue to hold high expectations and provide students with the appropriate support to build the skills necessary to meet or exceed those expectations."

The Texas Education Agency will release the 2019 Accountability ratings Thursday, August 15.