The Supt DishJanuary 6, 2017
On Friday January 6, 2017, the Texas Education Agency will release to the public a “what if” or “provisional” rating of Texas public schools with the soon to be implemented A-F Accountability System. The “what if,” is rating our public schools A-F based on the 2015-16 STAAR test scores using the soon to be implemented A-F formulas.
HB 2804 was approved by the Texas Legislature in 2015 and is to be implemented for the 2017-18 school year. The reasoning by politicians for this system was to reduce the role of student assessment in measuring public schools. State Representative Sylvester Turner stated in 2015 that this was a “horrendous mistake…that places more of a stigma on kids who are trying to rise above circumstances.”
Several states have taken action or are in the process of taking action to repeal their A-F accountability system. Virginia repealed their A-F system in 2015. Oklahoma researchers recently conducted a study on their A-F rating system and found that test scores have not only declined in general, but performance drops have been most severe among low income students.
Recently the State Board of Education released a report entitled “Texans Speak.” This report revealed that people across the state have made it clear that they are tired of our schools and children being defined by a test. Although the A-F rating system was intended to reduce the role of state assessments, tests are the primary component of the A-F rating system accounting for 55% of each campus and district rating.
When our Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) met during the summer and fall developing a five-year strategic plan, the SPC also developed and the school board approved a “Profile of a Goliad Graduate.” During our conversations, we discussed that we want our graduates to be effective communicators, lifelong learners, collaborative team members and productive citizens. At no time did we discuss grades.
The A-F rating system has flaws and still relies on measuring schools based on a test given on one day. The provisional A-F ratings released by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on January 6, 2017 are solely a preliminary evaluation using data available from the 2015-2016 school year. In its design of the system, TEA restricted “A” ratings to only 10% of campuses and “B” ratings to only 15%. When fully implemented in the summer of 2018, each letter grade will be associated with a target score released and will not be based upon a pre-determined proportion of campuses receiving A’s and B’s.
The A-F provisional grades we have received are NOT an accurate reflection of the quality education, dedicated staff, supportive parents and students with a vast array of talents, interests and opportunities. On Monday January 9th, I will present and recommend to the Board of Trustees that Goliad ISD join with many Texas school districts to adopt a resolution for the 85th Texas Legislature to repeal the A-F rating system. This system does NOT take into consideration the vast diversity of our state or the available resources for meeting the high expectations required to achieve the desired outcomes.
At Goliad ISD, we will continue to work collaboratively with staff, students, parents and community in meeting the high expectations that are identified in our campus, district and strategic plans. Goliad ISD remains committed to the success of all students by preparing them academically for future pursuits, as well as equipping them to become effective problem solvers, effective communicators, and responsible and engaged citizens.