Texas Aspires Recognizes the Value of Accurate, Accessible, and Actionable A-F Ratings

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Prior to the August 15th release of school district A-F ratings, Texas Aspires’ board chairman and former Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams released the following statement:

“As a longtime proponent of A-F school ratings, I welcome tomorrow’s results. Texas’ new A-F accountability framework will kickstart the conversation around school quality by providing Texans with accurate, accessible, and actionable academic achievement data about schools and districts.

Unlike any other A-F system nationwide, Texas’ is incredibly sensitive to the various challenges of public education. Most of a district’s overall rating (70%) is based on the best of three factors: how much their students know, how much academic growth their students show year-to-year, or how they compare to peers with similar student populations. This approach accurately recognizes outstanding results, regardless of the unique needs of the students who walk through their doors every day.

But districts must be held accountable for all students, not just their overall performance. That’s why all areas of a school or district’s performance are included in its report card. To fundamentally improve public education, we must not simply understand the quality of our schools but also glean information about where schools can improve and which schools we can learn from.

Better yet, this new accountability system is truly ours and is accessible in ways for which Texans should commend Commissioner Morath and the TEA staff. The wealth of resources lays out goals for student performance, illustrates how grades are calculated, and provides a clear and concise summation of the results of educators’ hard work. By making these available to anyone who is interested, the state is finally providing a common language we can all use to get involved in the process of improving our schools.

Finally, accurate and accessible school and district ratings provide actionable data for educators and the public alike. Through years of planning, the input of thousands of concerned Texans has been incorporated into the various academic indicators included in our A-F system. The result is a framework that sets appropriate, attainable goals and rewards school districts when they change their practices to better serve student needs.

Those who are happy with the way things are will tell you Texas’ A-F system is difficult to understand, overly complicated, inaccurate, or unfair. We can tell you the state legislature and the Texas Education Agency have gone to great lengths to make sure that’s not the case. But rather than listening to any of us, we challenge every Texan to visit www.txschools.org and make up their own minds.”

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For any media inquiries, contact Cameron Petty at (512) 277-4737 or cameron@texasaspires.org.

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