New School Grading System in Texas Could Affect more than Education

The Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has signed off on Texas school accountability plan, under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

"Texas’ plan met the requirements of the law, therefore I have approved it," said Secretary DeVos. "I look forward to seeing how Texas embraces the flexibility afforded by ESSA to innovate on behalf of the Lone Star State’s students.”

This plan includes parts of the new A through F grading system for schools, according to the Texas Education Agency.

The A through F grading system was passed by the legislature last year. Beginning this upcoming school year, schools will be graded on student achievement, school progress, and overall school climate. School climate can include teacher retention and graduation rates.

We spoke to Lanet Greenhaw, the Vice President of Education and Workforce at the Dallas Regional Chamber, about the effect of this new system.

“It helps us,” said Greenhaw.

We asked her whether the information being available makes it harder to recruit businesses to an area where the school district is not as good.

“What I think it does do, is really address perception versus reality. Because school districts, a lot of times, those decisions in communities and businesses are based on perception. But this system lets them look exactly-what is the school district performing,” added Greenhaw.

As an example, she points to Dallas ISD's results, when schools went through the new system in a trial run.

“Many districts actually shine under the system, and Dallas ISD is a perfect example of that. They received very high ratings on many categories,” Greenhaw said.

Educators have expressed concerns that this new system creates an unlevel playing field.. Mayor Betsy Price has some concerns as well, but believes change is necessary.

“It’s not my favorite. I think it could be very misleading. But I think it is time for some change in accountability. I think we simply have to lay out where the schools are but with that we have to make people understand what the A through F means,” said Mayor Price.

Mayor Price said when prospective business owners look at the city, questions about the education system are not at the top of their list. She does not think this new system will affect recruiting.

“I think being transparent gives people a much better feel that you are working on improving them, and I think that is the critical piece, that we are helping and partnering with our school district, and they are doing great things in Fort Worth ISD,” she added.

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