Dallas ISD officials have joined multiple Texas school districts in a lawsuit against the Texas Education Agency over changes made to the state’s accountability ratings system.

What’s happening?

The DISD board of trustees voted 8-0 on Sept. 14 to join the lawsuit against the TEA over a lack of transparency and failure to notify school districts in adequate advance about changes made to the way accountability ratings are calculated. School boards use the ratings as a metric to address educational priorities year to year, and many prospective families use them as a performance measure to gauge the quality of schools.

School district officials are saying that the new rating system would effectively lower A-F performance ratings for the 2022-23 school year in an unlawful manner by changing the way they are calculated retroactively. The lawsuit seeks to block the release of the new accountability ratings.

DISD is the largest school district so far to join the lawsuit, which was originally filed by seven small school districts across Texas.

What parents need to know

The new accountability ratings were scheduled to be released Sept. 28, based on adjusted criteria including but not limited to a new threshold for college, career and military readiness scores, raising it from 60% to 88% to earn an A rating.

The TEA announced Sept. 12 the scores will be delayed for about one month to allow for “further re-examination of the baseline data” used in the calculations, according to a news release.

What they’re saying

DISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said in a news release that she and the rest of the board expect the district to “meet and exceed high standards,” but they should know expectations and rules ahead of time.

“The new state A-F refresh will be applied retroactively after the test has been taken and a new school year has already begun,” Elizalde said in the news release. “This does not reflect our district’s recent improvements, which currently outpace the state in many areas. Put simply, our test scores have gone up, but under the new system, our ratings are projected to decrease. This does not make sense.”