TEA Delays A-F School Ratings By About a Month

Mike Miles: Mums the word.
Mike Miles: Mums the word. Screenshot

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath announced Tuesday that the agency will delay its announcement of public school ratings by about a month to look more closely at the data in determining those A-F marks.

Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles had previously warned that he expected several HISD schools to drop into D or F ratings given anticipated adjustments to the scoring. On Tuesday, the Houston Press asked Miles and HISD for comment on this latest action by Morath but received no answer from the press office. 

Originally the scores were to be released on September 28. Without naming an exact date, the TEA announcement said score would be released in "about a month."

Schools are assessed on how students have learned certain content, their academic progress over a year and how schools are doing in closing the achievement gap focusing on progress among minority students as compared to whites.

The Texas State Teachers Association issued a statement from TSTA President Ovidia Molina saying in part:

"We hope the commissioner will abandon his plans to unfairly change the rules in the middle of the game. He earlier indicated he would retroactively raise the passing scores for one key element in the ratings — the college, career and military readiness of a school district’s high school graduates. The significant increases he planned for those standards would have the effect of lowering the accountability letter grades for many districts.

"This announced change is so unfair that numerous school districts have sued the commissioner. TSTA also strongly opposes that kind of change, and we oppose any other changes that would affect the accountability ratings this late in the process."

The Texas Legislature adopted the A-F system in 2017 in a  phased-in implementation. The system replaced the pevious pass-fail assessments of districts. TEA's Morath has said the A-F assessment is more nuanced and better identifies areas that need improvement. 

In January of this year, the TEA came up with proposed updates to its method of making assessments — something critics have decried as akin to moving the goal posts in the middle of a game. In its news release Tuesday, the TEA said that using data from the 2021-22 school year may not have taken into account the impact of the pandemic.
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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing