Educators across the state are criticizing a new grading system for Texas schools.
The accountability program, which was approved by the 84th legislature, gives schools an "A" through "F" based on performance. It's intended to make it easy to compare schools, but many teachers and administrators say it will cost them dearly.
"These systems have a tendency to simply measure the economic disadvantage of the families served in a school,” Northside ISD Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods said. “The schools that serve the most impoverished families tend to get the lowest grades."
The new accountability system, which goes into place in 2018, grades schools on five categories: student achievement, student progress, closing the gaps, and postsecondary readiness. The fifth category has not yet been revealed.
Each category gets its own letter grade, summed up in a report card.
Dr. Woods says that he’s worried the schools in the poorest areas will score the lowest, leading to costly sanctions from the TEA.
“What an accountability system really ought to do, is it ought to serve to drive resources to the places they’re needed the most,” Dr. Woods said. “I wonder, is it a fair way of measuring kids? Are we accounting for the differences in kids and families?”
According to the TEA, the consequences tied to the grading system have not been figured out. In fact, many of the logistics haven’t yet been figured out. But the agency didn’t offer any defense to some of the feedback received by educators.
TEA spokeswoman Lauren Callahan says that they don’t have the luxury of opinion.
“We went about following the letter of the law,” Callahan said. “When we are given a legislative mandate, we make sure that we follow it as we are asked to do.”
The system is now in the hands of a 15-member committee appointed by the TEA. It is scheduled to go into place in August of 2018.