Texas’ First A Through F School Grades Come Out This Week. Some Educators Aren’t Happy About It.
“Nothing is going to stop the ratings from coming out on Wednesday,”
Texas education officials will be rolling out a new, controversial accountability system this week for public schools who administer the STAAR test. The system will grade school performance on an A through F scale – something that has public education advocates and many lawmakers on both sides of aisle up in arms.
Aliyya Swaby is a public education reporter for the Texas Tribune. She is following the story. She says Texas has used several systems for rating schools. The most recent was a pass-fail system. The new A-F system begins this month.
“There are three categories that school districts will be rated in,” Swaby says. “including student achievement, school progress and then closing the gap.”
The metrics for these categories include standardized test scores, and how well the school is doing compared to similar schools. Closing the gap is a measure of how well a school is addressing the needs of disadvantaged students.
Critics suggest that the A-F grading system will encourage affluent parents to “shop” for the most highly-rated schools, leaving those with less ability to relocate in poorer-performing ones.
The state’s argument is that schools will be more accountable, and that parents will have better information about the schools their kids attend.
Teachers and education advocacy groups are opposing the plan, but the first set of grades is due to be released this week.
“Nothing is going to stop the ratings from coming out on Wednesday,” Swaby says. “I think the question is how much organizing, and what will the organizing be between Wednesday and [the next legislative session in January.]”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.