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The Source: TEA Releases Accountability Ratings To Criticism

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Yesterday the Texas Education Agency released accountability ratings for its 8,600 schools and 1,200 districts and charters. More than 93 percent of districts met state standards. The high passing rate has some wondering if the ratings are representative of a work or college ready students. Bill Hammond outgoing head of the Texas Association of Business says the ratings are participation medals, and largely meaningless.

"Today according to the commissioner of education, only about 30 percent of our high school graduates are ready to go to work or are ready to be successful at a community or four-year school," says Hammond.

This mismatch he says is misleading people and a rating system that doesn't discern between high flying schools and schools just scraping by the acceptable level doesn't help. Next year an A through F system of grading schools goes into effect at the TEA.

San Antonio Independent School District lost some ground this year compared to last year in terms of failing schools, this year 20 campuses were rated "improvment required." SAISD Supertintendant Pedro Martinez says while disappointing, it didn't come as a surprise. 

"What I want to tell our families is yes we had 20 campuses that didn't perform that way we wanted them to, but we feel that is going to be short term blip and next year we are going to see much stronger results," says Martinez.

SAISD has a median income of 30,200. Close to 90 percent of its students are eligible for free and reduced lunches. Poverty does play a role in the numbers. A recent judicial ruling by the Texas Supreme Court ruled the state education system as seriously challenged, but required no change in how funding is allotted. Martinez points to several bright spots in SAISD schools including a Young Women's Leadership Academy that saw all its graduates going to four-year universities and a recently announced STEM High School.

Guests:

  • Bill Hammond, CEO of the Texas Association of Business
  • Pedro Martinez, Superintendant of San Antonio Independent School District
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive