Texas educators unhappy with letter grades from state

First look at A-F school ratings

TEXAS - Educators across Texas are not happy as preliminary ratings were released under the state's new A through F accountability system.

Friday, the Texas Education Agency released a test report card of grades for Texas schools and districts. 

"We are really calling this a work in progress report," said Lauren Callahan with the TEA. 

The new system, which goes into effect August 2018, will feature A through F ratings for public schools in five different categories: Student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, post-secondary readiness, and community and student engagement. 

The "community and student" engagement domain was not included in Friday's test report card. That's because it will be up to the schools and districts to choose the criteria. 

Those 5 individual grades will then be calculated into an overall grade for each school and district. 

The TEA issues accountability ratings each August. Currently they use a similar evaluation process, but the outcome is a rating of either "met standard" or "improvement required." 

"The system we have right now is really a pass fail system, you've either met standard, or you need improvement, there's not a whole lot of measure in there as to really how well you're doing on specific things," said Callahan. 

Texas Lawmakers passed House Bill 2804 during the 84th Legislative Session. That puts the A-F rating system into effect starting August 2018. 

Callahan reiterated the grades released Friday are for informational purposes only.

"We have 18 months to work with stakeholders to work with the legislature when they're here next week and through the spring to really take a look at where we are now and look at where the system will go in the future," said Callahan. 

The Texas Education Agency's full report released Friday revealed that several Central Texas school districts -- including Austin, Leander, Hays, Georgetown, Bastrop, Manor, Elgin, San Marcos, Hutto and Dripping Springs -- received unacceptable grades of D's and F's in certain categories.

Read the report below. The ratings for all Texas schools starts on page 41. Austin's schools' ratings start on page 61:

Full A-F ratings for 2015-16 by kvuenews on Scribd

The grades are meant to give educators an idea of how the new system will work when it is finalized next year. The accountability ratings that were released in August still stand.

Advocates for the new system said the letter grade system is easier for parents to understand, but educators said the rating system is flawed. So far, more than 100 Texas school districts -- including Austin Independent School District and Manor Independent School District -- are calling for the repeal of the new grading system.

Thursday night, the Manor Board of Trustees passed a resolution calling on the Texas legislature to repeal the rating system. The school district would like to develop a community-based accountability system instead. 

AISD passed a motion last month asking the legislature to repeal the ranking system.

Thursday, Representative Mary Gonzalez filed a bill that would repeal the A-F rating system and instead use ratings like "exemplary, recognized, accetptable, and needs improvement".

(© 2017 KVUE)


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