NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – School districts in North Texas and across the state are bracing for an unusually long list of poorly performing schools, when the district accountability ratings come out in two days.
A revision in rules by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) means a record number of academically unacceptable schools are expected to be on the list this year.
The TEA has revised accountability rules. Previously the Texas Projection Measure (TPM) was in place. It allowed schools to count as passing any student who failed a TAKS test if a mathematical formula showed that same student was projected to pass future tests.
Critics complained the TPM undermined the state’s rating system by making schools look better than they previously had, when in fact many had actually not improved at all.
Jackie Lain with the Texas Association of School Boards explained the TPM meant that, “Although a student didn’t meet the passing standard this year we believe that the student will meet the state standard on next year’s test.”
Lain says a lot of parents will be angry about the ratings and that may result in some voters rejecting school district bond issues, because of what they perceive as the failure of local schools.
“They’re gonna have a difficult time explaining to voters, who they’re going to have to persuade to pass a tax rate election, in some cases, to make up for the funding loss that they sustained as a result of the 82nd Legislative Session,” she said.
The TPM was used in calculations of academic performance during 2009 and 2010. After implementation of the measure, the number of schools ranked “exemplary” in 2010 jumped almost off the chart. With TPM there were 239 “exemplary” schools; that’s more than three times the number that would have received that rating without TPM.
The 2011 rating system will continue to include two other lesser-known measures, called requirement improvement and exceptions, that also allow schools to avoid meeting all of the passing standards outright.