SSISD Board Adopts Resolution Opposing A-F Accountability Rating System for School Districts

Sulphur Springs School Board adopted a resolution opposing the A-F Accountability Rating for Texas Schools. Assistant Superintendent Josh Williams presented the resolution to the board Monday night during their March session stating the local district has met standards. However, he noted the A-F system does not give an accurate picture of SSISD. The resolution calls for the repeal of the rating system and requests that each local school district in the state be allowed to develop their own rating system that meets state standards. Almost one-half of the number of school districts in Texas has made the same request.

As the Texas legislature reviews the rating system, the local district resolution will be presented along with others. The local resolution states:

WHEREAS, the Texas Legislature has enacted legislation that requires the Commissioner of Education to implement a public school rating system that would assign A through F grades to schools and districts beginning with the 2017-18 school year; and

WHEREAS, at least 16 states have implemented a similar rating system utilizing A through F grades for schools and districts and, to date, there is no definitive research that suggests these ratings have improved student or school performance; and

WHEREAS, in a recent statewide survey conducted by the State Board of Education, an overwhelming majority of Texans do not want high-stakes, standardized test scores to serve as the primary basis for a public school rating system; and

WHEREAS, the majority (55%) of the A through F grades are based on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR), a high-stakes, standardized test that does not accurately measure student learning; and

WHEREAS, the STAAR provides little meaningful information to guide student learning, inform teachers or report academic progress to parents; and

WHEREAS, the Commissioner’s proposed rating system utilizing A through F grades for schools and districts includes five domains and numerous unrelated indicators to determine a single grade, leaving the public with an invalid, disconnected reflection of school quality; and

WHEREAS, the Commissioner’s proposed rating system utilizing A through F grades for schools, and districts creates a false impression about students, ignores the unique strengths of each school, and unfairly reduces each student’s worth to the school’s assigned grade; and

WHEREAS, we believe in the tenets set out in Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas (TASA, 2008) and our goal is to transform education in Sulphur Springs ISD in accordance with these tenets; and

WHEREAS, we embrace meaningful accountability that informs students, parents, and teachers about the learning needs of each student and each school; and

WHEREAS, we believe our state’s future prosperity relies on a high-quality education system that prepares students for college and careers, and without such a system Texas’ economic competitiveness and ability to attract new business will falter; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Sulphur Springs ISD Board of Trustees calls on the Texas Legislature to repeal the rating system utilizing A through F grades for schools and districts and develop a community-based accountability system that empowers school districts to design their own internal systems of assessment and accountability that, while meeting general state standards, allows districts to innovate and customize curriculum and instruction to meet the needs and interests of each student and their communities; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that this new system should reduce the use of high-stakes, standardized tests, encompass multiple assessments, reflect greater validity, and, more accurately reflect what students know and can do in terms of the rigorous standards.

Author: Jimmy Rogers

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