As accountability ratings take shape, TEA shows leniency to districts, schools affected by Hurricane Harvey

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Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced Wednesday that school districts directly affected by Hurricane Harvey could be eligible for special evaluation in the state’s accountability system this year.

Accountability ratings in 2018 will be generated using available data. However, if a campus meeting certain criteria receives an “Improvement Required” rating, the campus will instead be labeled “Not Rated,” according to the Texas Education Agency.

Additionally, if a district or open-enrollment charter school meets certain criteria and receives a B, C, D or F rating, they will also be labeled “Not Rated.”

Under the Hurricane Harvey Provision, criteria are based on data reported to the state in the 2017-18 school year, such as the number of displaced students and teachers and the effects Harvey had on instructional time and school facilities.

The Hurricane Harvey Provision applies to campuses meeting at least one of the following criteria:

  • The campus identified at least 10 percent of enrolled students as displaced or homeless due to Harvey.
  • The campus reported at least 10 percent of its teachers experienced homelessness after Harvey.
  • The campus was closed for 10 or more instructional days due to Harvey.
  • The campus was displaced due to Harvey either by geographic location or the student population was required to share its own campus facility with displaced students from another campus.

If all campuses within a district are labeled “Not Rated” under the Hurricane Harvey Provision, the district will receive the same rating.

Accountability ratings are given to districts and individual campuses every year across the Texas public education system. Ratings for the 2017-18 school year are set to be released in August.

The A-F grading system will be used to rate districts for the first time this year after undergoing changes during the 2017 Legislative Session. Districts are rated based on student achievement, school progress and closing performance gaps. State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness scores—or STAAR scores—are to account for less than 50 percent of accountability metrics at the high school level, according to system guidelines.

Individual campuses will be rated based on the existing “Met Standard” system for the 2017-18 school year and will move on to the A-F system in the 2018-19 school year.

The Hurricane Harvey Provision is available on the TEA website during the public comment period, which ends Monday, June 18.

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Danica Smithwick
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She covers public education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development, nonprofits and more in the Cy-Fair community.
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