The Texas Education Agency (TEA) releases an accountability report every year with a rating system that anyone who has been in school can understand: A-F. On txschools.gov, parents can search for Texas schools and see how they perform in three key areas: Student Achievement, School Progress, and Closing the Gaps. The A-F rating system goes into effect in August 2019. Currently, TEA uses a system that anyone who has been through school should also understand: percentages.
Yet CCISD is wholeheartedly rejecting TEA’s easy to understand ratings based on hard numbers. Actually, it appears that CCISD is terrified of state-based accountability systems, as reflected in the Board of Trustees’ legislative priorities:
School Accountability and Student Assessment
- Adopt a community-based accountability system that places more emphasis on local accountability and better reflects the diversity of Texas school districts and the values by each community rather than the current misleading A-F school rating system.
- Eliminate state assessments not required by federal law and prohibit state assessments from serving as the primary indicator of school, teacher or student performance.
Well. That speaks volumes. TEA only uses STAAR testing as the only metric to rate elementary and middle school campuses under academic performance. For high schools, TEA also uses college, career, and military readiness, as well as the graduation rate. Again, these are all hard numbers. But apparently too hard to understand for one Board of Trustees member:
Ann Hammond, as quoted in the Houston Chronicle
“We believe in a community-based accountability system that reflects the community and school district, not an A-F system that is so complex that no one can relate to that ‘assigned’ letter grade.”
“We believe in a community-based accountability system that reflects the community and school district, not an A-F system that is so complex that no one can relate to that ‘assigned’ letter grade,” Trustee Ann Hammond said. The same article notes that Trustee Laura DuPont believes that A-F is misleading.
However, in that very same article, the Houston Chronicle reports that seven out of CCISD’s 44 campuses scored below an 80.
What is CCISD, and the CCISD Board of Trustees, so afraid of? Exposing the truth? That they don’t want to admit the district’s schools are on a free-fall, not just a decline? That they care more about subjective, soft numbers like “parent satisfaction” (from surveys that are rarely completed and rarely representative of the whole district or campus)?
Or are they just afraid of being held accountable for their failures?