The state’s much-debated “what if” A – F rating system has been released, marking districts and school campuses with letter grades that pair dissimilar data together and, most troubling, appear to frequently assign schools of poverty with lower grades.
Across the state, about 1/3rd of all schools received a “D” or an “F” rating. Only about 10 percent of schools statewide received an “A” rating. More than 100 districts across the state have opposed the new system, which arose from a bill passed in the 84th Legislative Session (HB 2804). In anticipation of this first round of preliminary, “what if” ratings, Bryan ISD Trustees joined school boards across the state and voted unanimously for a resolution calling for the A – F rating system to be eliminated. The board has expressed support for accountability and has called on the legislature to allow local communities to create local accountability standards by which to measure schools.
“We appreciate the board’s leadership in passing the resolution opposing A – F,” said Interim Superintendent Tim Rocka. “No single measure of accountability can paint an accurate picture of the quality of a child’s education, and our board understands that. The board and our district administration are thankful for the hard work of our teachers, campus staff, students and their parents.”
While the state declined to release overall ratings for campuses or districts, Bryan Collegiate High School is the region’s only high school to have earned all “As.” Ironically, flaws in the A – F system glare brightly in the case of Bryan High School, which earned five academic distinctions, yet the campus was rated “Ds” across the board in the A – F system. Whereas distinctions are awarded based on how “like” schools compare to one another, A – F pits districts with high poverty and limited resources against affluent districts with abundant resources.
Legislators across the state are being contacted by citizens who are concerned that A – F systems:
- Require a complex set of rules and calculations to combine a multitude of unrelated data points into a single, “simple” letter grade that cannot be supported with explanation.
- Fail to provide feedback that could be used for improvement.
- Disproportionately target schools of poverty as C, D or F-rated schools. This leads to a perception that the students and staff of these schools are of low quality—surely an unintended consequence of the legislation—yet a reality for schools in states that struggle under this oversimplified and unreliable means of rating success.
The current ratings represent preliminary, draft, or “what if” calculations based on a complex methodology developed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Actual ratings do not take effect until August of 2018.
Residents who are concerned about the legislation are encouraged to contact their elected officials and express their thoughts:
State Sen. Charles Schwertner
The draft ratings for Bryan ISD are attached.