More than 200 school districts ask TEA to reconsider accountability rating refresh

Courtney Carpenter Image
Friday, March 10, 2023
TX school districts ask TEA reconsider accountability rating refresh
If you have school-age kids, you're probably aware of the A through F school accountability rating system. But changes could soon be coming.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For the past five years, public schools in Texas have received an A through F rating based on factors relating to student achievement and school progress.

Soon, there are going to be changes made to the system, and some school districts, including more than a dozen local ones, aren't happy about it.

"I said, 'Here we go again. Here we go again,'" Jackie Anderson, a longtime educator, and president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, said.

Anderson said she is not surprised by the concern of so many districts about the proposed changes to the Texas Education Agency accountability rating system.

"Schools who thought that they had a very good rating and parents that thought, 'OK, my school is an A, and I'm happy,' your school would be rated differently now," Anderson said.

This week, 234 school districts, including 20 in the Houston area, sent a letter to the governor, TEA, and Senate and House education committees asking them to re-evaluate.

Part of the letter reads, "Moving forward with the planned refresh is irresponsible as it will cause significant confusion among the community, put increased pressure on teachers and other staff who are already at their breaking point, and wrest the policy decisions of how we should hold our schools accountable away from the elected representatives of the people leaving them in the hands of unelected bureaucrats."

About 20 of the 39 public and consolidated school districts in Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston, and Brazoria counties signed the letter.

Here's how we got here.

Five years ago, public school students weren't as prepared for college, career, and military readiness, so the standards were lower.

The good news is there's been an improvement over the years, with more and more students ready for post-high school careers and post-secondary education, so the state is raising its standards.

However, some districts aren't happy about that, saying the increase in expectations from the state is too drastic.

ABC13 spoke with the TEA over the phone and by email on Thursday. We asked why they wanted to make the change to the rating system now and received this response:

"After five years of no changes and a global pandemic, it's time to refresh the A-F system to ensure Texas remains a national leader in preparing students for success after graduation."

We reached out to several of the local districts who signed the letter to get a better understanding of their concerns but did not hear back.

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