Brazoria County Superintendents stand proudly together against A-F Accountability System
A-F Statement from Superintendents in Brazoria County
In the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers passed HB 2804 stating that each public school and district in Texas will receive an A through F letter grade. The intent of the law was laudable: parents and community members need to know how well their schools are educating their children. And, the idea of using an A-F scale seemed to make sense. Everybody knows what an A means and everybody dreads making an F. But the implementation of this law turned a good idea into a nightmare. What was supposed to provide a simple and clear way for a community to understand how well schools are performing is confusing and misleading.
The A-F rating system is based primarily upon student performance on the STAAR test. If you remember, the STAAR testing season last year was a disaster: students taking the test on the computer saw their work disappear; other students’ tests were lost or their scores were sent to other districts; and the actual tests violated state law by being longer than they were supposed to be. In fact, the testing season was such a fiasco that Commissioner Mike Morath rightly determined that students in grades five and eight should not face consequences for their performance on the test.
Yet, it is this very test that every public school and district in the state is being graded on.
Another portion of the A-F rating system grades campuses on their chronic absenteeism rate. Elementary schools are graded on how many of their students miss more than 10 percent of the school year. Yet no context is provided. For example, do medically fragile students attend the campus, does a child on the campus have cancer, was there a child in a car accident? None of these situations is considered in a campus’ grade for this domain. Ironically, schools are being held accountable for a parent’s decision to send/not send a child to school after the legislature gutted a school’s ability to hold parents accountable for not sending their children to school.
Do schools need to be held accountable? Absolutely! Schools are entrusted with our children. Parents and community members have a right to know if schools are doing a good job. However, this A-F rating system will not provide anyone with valid information.
We are much more than a STAAR test; we are much more than a chronic absenteeism rate. If you want to know how we are doing, come see us. We will show you excellence in every corner of every campus in our districts.
We are honored that you entrust your children with us. We are proud of the work we do with your children.
Buck Gilcrease, Ed.D.- Alvin ISD
Patricia Montgomery, Ed.D. Angleton ISD
Danny Massey- Brazosport ISD
Steven Galloway- Columbia-Brazoria ISD
Donald Rhodes, Ed.D.- Damon
Greg Anderson-Danbury ISD
Gerald Nixon ISD- Sweeny ISD
BISD Staff Letter from Superintendent Massey