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Teachers' union concerned over changes TEA is making to how schools, districts are graded

The union questions the changes, but the TEA said the school systems knew about the changes.
Credit: KHOU

HOUSTON — Editor's note: After our report ran, the Texas Education Agency contacted us with clarifications to some of the points in this story. It's been updated with their responses.


The Texas Education Agency is making changes to how they rate the state's school districts, but some claim the timing of the changes is unfair.

According to the TEA, no changes were made for five years so schools could have a true apples-to-apples comparison. They said school systems have been aware and that these changes have been in the works since 2019.  

Some critics of the change claim the TEA is upping the expectations of accountability without giving districts enough time to implement changes to an online testing system. The online testing system is in its second year. Last year, the TEA said 82% of test-takers took the STAAR online. This year was the first year that online testing was mandatory.

"Really frustrating when you change the rules of the game mid-stream," said Texas American Federation of Teachers President Zeph Capo. "We've had this fight before."

Capo said he wishes the TEA would hold off for at least one year before implementing the changes to allow districts to change their game plans. He said he feels like the timing was done intentionally to make schools look bad.  

"If you didn't have an ulterior motive for maybe giving public schools a black eye, why would you be changing all these things at one time?" he said. 

According to the TEA, school systems have been aware for years that the changes were coming. A representative told KHOU 11 that the changes were even delayed a year because of COVID.

Capo said he's concerned these changes may be being used to further a political agenda.

"It is not coincidental that the governor has made private school vouchers, privatization a big issue. And is this change intended to make public schools worse while they're trying to pass privatization vouchers in the state of Texas?" he asked. "I don't know, but it's too much of a coincidence for us not to consider."

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath argued that if they are going to make changes, they should make them all at one time.

"This is the process of getting conflicting feedback from education stakeholders and reconciling that with what the statute tells us to do," he said.

It's worth noting that changes to the way districts and schools are graded are meant to happen about every five years. It's been more than five years since the last changes.

For more information on what's being changed, click here. Official ratings are expected to be released in September.

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