Texas Lawmakers Consider Fixes to New A-F Grades for Schools

AUSTIN - Fixes to the new A-F system for grading public schools are already underway in the Legislature even before the new accountability takes hold.Thursday the Senate Education Committee discussed one version to tweak the new system, which is set to issue ratings next year. The House is expected to debate its version on Wednesday.During Thursday's discussion, Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, pointed to academic gains in recent years saying Texas needs a robust accountability system that identifies where challenges are to motivate schools to do better."Where we are today probably would not have happened without the accountability system that everyone's complained about," he said pointing to gains. "It drove performance. This is all about improving student performance."Superintendents across the state have united in outrage against the new system worried it will fuel pro-voucher sentiments across the state and stigmatizes those in the poorest neighborhoods, which overwhelmingly received the worst grades when "what if" grades were released in January.Does your school get an A or an F? Search statewide results from this year's previewThat preview look surprised many as even typically high-performing districts - including some nominated for the prestigious National Blue Ribbon designation -- that would have received low marks in some areas. Lawmakers agreed that changes are needed.The bills in each chamber would reduce the significance of STAAR tests in accountability and grade schools on only three areas instead of five. They would focus on student achievement, school progress and school climate. The House bill eliminates overall grades for schools.  Continue reading...

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