The Leander ISD board of trustees voted to join several school districts in suing the Texas Education Agency over its new A-F accountability rating system at a Sept. 21 meeting.
“Joining this lawsuit is an expression of our dedication to ensuring that all students and schools are evaluated fairly, and that the accountability ratings are based on a system that provides clear signaling of improvement and success," LISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing said.
Over a dozen school districts have sued the TEA claiming it will unlawfully lower their A-F performance ratings, which will be released this fall. The agency's "refreshed" accountability system will retroactively apply new methodology to calculate ratings for 2022-23 school year.
Leander ISD has joined the lawsuit over not being properly notified of the revisions in a simple and timely manner, district officials said. The changes may cause districts to receive a lower rating this year despite their performance improving, according to the TEA. Districts will have to score 28 points higher to receive an A for college, career and military readiness, among other changes.
While Leander ISD would maintain a B rating, almost 20% of campuses would receive a lower letter grade when applying the new system to data from the 2021-22 school year, said Brenda Cruz, LISD director of assessment and academic measures, at a Sept. 7 board meeting.
Here’s how LISD's campus ratings would be impacted by the revised system:
- 72% of campuses would stay the same.
- 19% of campuses would decrease.
- 9% of campuses would increase.
“The current status seems antithetical to the goal of providing transparency and clarity in the accountability system,” LISD Board President Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia said. “We believe we have no other choice but to join this lawsuit in an ultimate desire to accurately reflect the success and improvements of [LISD].”
The accountability rating system gives school districts and campuses a score from A-F depending on student achievement, school progress and closing the gaps for certain student populations, such as racial and socioeconomic groups. The ratings factor in State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness scores; student preparedness for college, career and military service; and graduation rates.
Amid the litigation, the TEA announced Sept. 12 it will delay the release of this year’s ratings, which were scheduled to go out Sept. 28, by around a month to allow the agency to re-evaluate what baseline data it uses to measure school progress.