Texas school ratings plummet under tougher standards

July 29, 2011 4:15:55 PM PDT
As a new school year approaches, parents all over the state are now learning how their children's districts are ranked.

The rankings just came out Friday afternoon and depending on your child's school, you might care about where your school ranks, but teachers say the numbers don't paint a clear picture of children's education.

See the 2011 Rankings

Christy Schulte drove from La Porte to Houston just to buy supplies for her classroom. Her school, Lomax, is ranked acceptable in the just released state rankings, down from recognized last year.

"I think they need to be looked at, and re-evaluated. But I know we work really hard to do what the state has asked of us to do," Schulte said.

Schulte's school isn't alone. For the last two years, schools have been allowed to project student performance, thus inflating ranking statistics. That stopped this year, and rankings are down across the state. Exemplary and recognized schools went from 69 percent of the rankings to this year's 48 percent.

But some teachers we talked to say rankings aren't everything.

"I tell parents to be very careful about schools that they say exemplary, but is the only thing they're doing in the school is teaching for the TAKS?" HISD teacher Mari Ritchards said.

In the Houston area, districts ranking as acceptable include HISD Cy-Fair, Fort Bend, Spring Branch, Spring; districts ranked as recognized include Alief, Klein, Katy, Pearland, Conroe and Pasadena; Friendswood earned an exemplary, and people do notice.

"Sometimes I think we do have a lot of testing, but I still think that we need to work hard to improve our rankings," HISD teacher Mary Edwards said.

And teachers say the most important part of a child's education not shown in statistics, and that's parental involvement.

"If you partner with a parent, your child is going to way further. I mean children need not just you, but also the parent to recognize that education is important," Fort Bend ISD teacher Rochelle Hood said.

Teachers also say everyday is a challenge, and sometimes kids make enormous strides in their schools, which is something that can't always be measured by test scores.

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