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Number Of Academically Unacceptable DISD Schools Soars

By Kent Chapline, CBSDFW.COM
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Texas Education Agency released its 2011 accountability ratings Friday, and the numbers are not good for the area’s largest school district.

Thirty-three Dallas ISD schools are now rated “academically unacceptable,” which is the lowest rating on the state’s 4-step scale.

That’s up from just 14 last year.

Why the jump?  It’s because this year the state dropped the controversial Texas Projection Measure, or TPM.  That system was used to predict whether students taking certain parts of the TAKS test would pass it.  If the TPM said they would pass the test next year, those students’ predicted scores were used in their school’s accountability ratings for the current year.  So it was possible for a student to fail the TAKS test but get credit for passing it.

Now that students’ actual TAKS scores are being used in the accountability ratings, the DISD has more than twice as many “unacceptable” schools as last year.  In fact, the district says if the TPM was still being used, it would have just 5 “academically unacceptable” schools this year.

Of the district’s 21 “regular” high schools — that is, non-magnet or other specialty schools — 13 are now rated “academically unacceptable.”  That’s 62 percent.  By comparison, five of Fort Worth’s 13 “regular” high schools have that lowest rating.  That’s 38 percent.

To be fair, Dallas also has several of the best high schools in the country.  Two of its magnet schools are currently ranked by Newsweek magazine as the top two high schools in the USA.  They and 28 other DISD schools are rated “exemplary” by the state, which is the highest rating on the TEA’s scale.  However, many of the district’s “exemplary” schools are magnet or vanguard schools.  Those schools have specialized curricula and students must apply to attend them.  In those ways, putting those schools up against the “regular” schools is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

The district’s overall rating remains “academically acceptable.”

That’s also Fort Worth’s overall district rating.  The FWISD has 6 “exemplary” schools, 33 that are rated “recognized,” 60 that are “academically acceptable,” and 22 rated “academically unacceptable.”

Click here to see the ratings for all Fort Worth ISD schools.

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