How House Public Education Committee chair wants to change the Texas A-F system

Updated 3:15 p.m., March 21

The bill has been left pending in committee. Huberty said he appreciated all the feedback he heard today and would continue taking feedback. He acknowledged that he would likely never get it perfect with an accountability system.

Updated 3:11 p.m., March 21

Throughout Tuesday afternoon, many witnesses testified in favor of the bill. Overall, witness after witness stated that they were not a fan of the current A-F system put in place by House Bill 2804, but House Bill 22 represented a major improvement.

Concerns still remain, however. The concerns listed at the hearing included still using standardized testing scores to grade schools and campuses, a vague description of an indicator grading teacher quality and a late date requirement for the TEA to approve what indicators would be used to evaluate schools and districts.

Updated 2:03 p.m., March 21

Each of the superintendents testifying on the bill were supportive of the changes the legislation would implement to the A-F rating. Superintendents came from districts small and large including Dallas ISD, Hudson ISD, Stafford Municipal School District and Alief ISD to speak on House Bill 22.

Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa did raise a question about a section of the bill which permits the Commissioner of Education to alter any one of the domain grades if he or she should determine it necessary.

Updated 1:41 p.m., March 21.

After hearing a plethora of feedback from school districts, parents and public education proponents throughout the state, the Texas Legislature is making moves to alter the controversial A-F rating system.

On Tuesday afternoon, the House Public Education Committee heard a bill by the committee's chair, state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston.

The law currently in place was passed last legislative session as part of House Bill 2804, which is set to go into effect in August 2018, and assigns each public school campus and district six total A-F scores—one for each of the five domains and one summative score.

"The current system doesn't work," Huberty said.

Here are the proposed changes that would be implemented if Huberty's House Bill 22 passes:

  • The official implementation of the A-F system would be pushed back from August 2018 to August 2019.

  • Schools and districts would be graded on three domains instead of five. These domains are Student Achievement, Student Progress and School Climate. Previous domains included Student Achievement, Student Progress, Closing Performance Gaps, Postsecondary Readiness and Community and Student Engagement.

  • Domains would focus less on standardized testing. The Student Achievement domain would be limited to only incorporating standardized tests as 50 percent of its overall score.

  • Indicators within each domain will be geared toward different factors for students in high school versus students in middle and elementary schools.

  • In the previous system, the TEA would intervene in schools awarded a cumulative D or F score. In the new system, the TEA would only get involved with schools awarded F grades.


Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath said that during the past year, he had over 75 meetings that yielded feedback on the system.

Morath said the system that would be put in place with the bill would incorporate this feedback, while also creating new data points for the TEA.

Alief ISD Superintendent HD Chambers said he is supportive of House Bill 22 and appreciates the changes of names in domains and the change from a summative grade to non-summative grades.

"When you put one label on top of something as complex ... I just think there needs to be more [transparency] if you were identifying each of those domains," Chambers said.

 
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