Message from the Superintendent: A-F Rating System
January 6, 2017
Dear G-PISD Parents and Community Members,
Those of us in education began our careers with a common desire to give students the tools they need to be successful, and in every circumstance to ensure that we put students first. This goal has not changed over time. However, during my 43 years in education, there have been increasing obstacles placed upon educators which limit our ability to achieve that goal. I want to inform you of the latest cause for concern: The state legislature approved House Bill 2804 in 2015 to implement an A-F rating system, where every school district and campus would receive a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F. Today, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released “mock” ratings for all school districts based on the A‑F Rating System. Here is what you need to know:
- “Mock” Ratings don’t tell us much, so they don’t mean much. Commissioner Mike Morath was quoted in a TEA press release today saying the mock results “should not be considered predictors of future district or campus performance ratings.” This begs the question: What was the point of releasing them to the public? Still, they have been released … and school districts are finding they leave much to be desired.
- The calculations are complex and lack transparency. While the A-F ratings may appear to be a simple form of reporting, it contains very complicated formulas to generate a single letter grade. It is difficult to determine what constitutes an “A” from a “D” or an “F,” and across the state there are historically high-performing school districts with low mock results in this trial run.
- Accountability is changing … again. The metrics are different from the former accountability system, and the stakes are higher for school districts. This means we will need to overhaul the progress we have already made in recent years to meet the new expectations of the state, if indeed this system remains in place.
- The A-F system has failed in other states. It does not reflect true student progress, or campus and district performance. This system is still largely based on standardized tests taken just once a year.
- G-PISD is one of 156 school districts (to date) that have filed resolutions opposing the A-F Rating System. Superintendents, school board members, and education professionals have made public statements opposing the system. The list continues to grow.
- The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) opposes the A-F Rating System, and they have an idea for a better option. They suggest that it be replaced with a community-based accountability model, including more general state standards. Communities would set expectations for their own school districts, and the system would include limited standardized testing to determine performance.
Texas educators still share the common goal of ensuring that all students have the tools they need to be successful, and that in every circumstance we put students first. The new A-F rating system in its mock run fails to support that goal for all students and school districts. It is another “one-size-fits-all” approach to accountability. We hope our state legislators soon realize the same fact that has been realized in several other states: This is not the best accountability system for our schools. We can do better, and our staff and students deserve it.
Dr. Paul Clore, G-PISD Superintendent
To view the mock ratings released from TEA:
CLICK HERE and then look under "A-F Work-in-Progress Report" to download the document titled
The following information will provide additional insight related to the A-F Rating System in Texas.
Recent News Articles:
- “Educators not happy with ‘what if’ report using A-F grades,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article124530389.html
- “Letter grades should be for students, not schools,” Houston Chronicle: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Educators-Letter-grades-should-be-for-students-10830016.php
- “Texas schools will soon get a first peek at their grades,” The Texas Tribune: https://www.texastribune.org/2016/12/16/-looms-tea-superintendents-temper-expectations/
Resources & References:
- Nine Texas Superintendents’ Open Letter to Communities: http://www.kaufmanisd.net/uploaded/KISD/Documents/Article_for_a-f_with_signatures.pdf
- Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Info about A-F System: http://www.tasanet.org/cms/lib07/TX01923126/Centricity/Domain/393/A-F-Talking-Points-2017.pdf
- Texas School Districts that have passed resolutions opposing A-F (listed on TASA website): http://www.tasanet.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=925