Central Texas superintendents unite against new AF accountability system

Miguel Gutierrez Jr  KUT

"If they were met standard in 2016, they still meet standards".

While superintendents throughout the state have written open letters opposing the system, Friday's press conference was the first time nearly all McLennan County superintendents publicly took a stance on the matter together.

Midland, Ector County and Big Spring school districts were all rated below average.

Schools across Texas got a look at their preliminary report cards Friday, and some are now anxious about making the grade.

The grading system, largely based on standardized test results, gives an A through F letter grade to each school and their school districts. The current grades are based on student achievement, or test scores; student progress in testing from year to year; how effective schools are in closing gaps between various groups of students; and postsecondary readiness. The methodology behind the new measurement ratings wasn't given by the state until shortly before Christmas break.

The Texas Education Agency released to the public Friday the mock-up of what the 2016 accountability ratings would look like if districts and campuses were graded on an A-F scale this past school year.

It is worth noting that the report does not have any score statistics for Brock High School in the closing performance gaps domain on the campus level and the entire report does not measure the fifth domain category for any school district.

The new system grades each campus based on four categories; student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and post-secondary readiness. Every single campus in Waco ISD met standard in Domain 2. For instance, this year, you had to score a 32 or above to meet standard in Domain 2. The new grades won't go into effect until August 2018.

Over the 135 years that Laredo I.S.D. has been in existence, we have produced and will continue to develop hundreds of successful doctors, lawyers, architects, teachers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and members of the Armed Forces.

All of Hardin's schools had met standard under the current system. It is unclear if a similar option will be available under this new system.

Education Commissioner Mike Morath says the new grading system is a work in progress and that the goal is to give families a better understanding of how their schools are performing. "This is not simple and there is not anything simple about it".

The Northside superintendent is against the idea of the A-F rating system as a whole.

"An A through F rating system, I don't know if that's a good way to do that", said Wylie ISD Superintendent Joey Light. Killeen ISD Superintendent John Craft said. Hardin High School was given an A in postsecondary readiness, despite receiving Ds in every other domain.

Morath cautioned that the grades, which were included in a 494-page report to the state Legislature, weren't official and that binding results won't come until next year, according to the Associated Press.

That includes nine schools in Dallas ISD, all of which are specialty schools: Dallas Environmental Science Academy, Dealey Montessori, Stone Montessori, Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership Academy, Gilliam Collegiate Academy, School for the Talented and Gifted, Garza Early College and the elementary and middle schools for Travis Vanguard for the Academically Talented and Gifted.

Cumberland academy scored 3 Cs and a D. Its middle school had two Fs, one C and one D.



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