Texas Education Agency denies Houston ISD appeal of accountability rating

TEA ruling on accountability rating appeals

The Texas Education Agency will change one of two Houston ISD accountability ratings that it appealed, but it will not change the rating assigned to Wheatley High School, whose successive years of underperforming could trigger a takeover of the district.

The board of trustees voted to appeal the rating for Wheatley in September, arguing that the North Houston school was still feeling the effects from Hurricane Harvey and should receive a "Not Rated" designation. HISD administration officials advised against the appeal because it lacked grounding in the data and the procedures outlined by the state.

In his ruling released Nov. 5, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said such a request could not be applied to just one school.

"Please be aware that in order to preserve its intent and integrity, the accountability system, as prescribed each year in the accountability manual, must be applied to all districts consistently," the ruling states.

The agency did, however, grant a change in rating for T.H. Rogers School, which serves as a school for gifted and talented and special populations. The district asked that the campus' 25 high school students, part of the Preparing Students for Independent Living program, be exempted from the accountability ratings' measurement for college, career and military readiness.

The TEA agreed that by classifying the school as a high school resulted in a misleading rating. The school has an enrollment of about 900 from grades K through 12th. In its ruling, the agency advised the district to create a separate tracking number to separate its student populations.

If Morath invokes his authority, he can appoint a board of managers to take on oversight of the district in place of the board of trustees. A TEA investigation into the conduct of its trustees has also recommended a takeover, but a lawsuit filed by the trustees has asked a federal judge to intervene.

View a copy of the TEA ruling here.


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