The state accountability system determines the overall effectiveness of all 8,000+ public district and charter schools in Texas. Raise Your Hand Texas supports an accountability system that is fair, transparent, and accessible to parents and the public.

Accountability
System Structure

The Texas accountability system has been modified many times over the past few decades, with major systemic changes occurring within the past five years. Prior to 2013, the state rating system consisted of the following markers for schools:

  • Exemplary
  • Recognized
  • Academically Acceptable
  • Academically Unacceptable

During the 84th Legislative Session, lawmakers adopted a new system with only two identifiers:

  • Met Standard
  • Improvement Required

The rating system is scheduled to change again following the 2016-17 school year (see “VARIATION OF SCHOOL RATINGS” below).

Current ratings are based
on results from four categories:

Student Achievement

Student Progress

Closing Performance Gaps

Postsecondary Readiness

Landmark School Turnaround Legislation

In an effort to address underperforming campuses while still protecting local community control of neighborhood schools, the 84th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1842. Legislators negotiated new laws requiring the TEA commissioner to take corrective action on a chronically low-performing school, first by requiring a school turnaround plan after two consecutive years of unacceptable performance ratings. If the commissioner approves, the plan must be implemented no later than the school year following the third consecutive unacceptable rating. If low performance persists three consecutive years after the order to submit a school turnaround plan, the commissioner must either appoint a board of managers for the entire district or order the school to be closed.

HB 1842 represents the most aggressive school turnaround policy the legislature has ever passed, and Raise Your Hand supports efforts made by the 84th Texas Legislature to prevent even one Texas student from falling through the cracks. Raise Your Hand will diligently monitor the implementation of HB 1842 to ensure it is effective at addressing underperforming campuses.

Addressing Low‑Performing Schools

A misconception persists that many Texas students are “trapped in failing schools.” The reality is only a handful of Texas campuses are chronic underperformers.

Texas Education Agency data show the overwhelming majority of campuses in Texas designated as low-performing are turned around through state and local remedies in fewer than three years. In 2014, only two campuses out of over 8,500 across the state were rated Improvement Required (IR) for five or more years. In 2015, only five had been rated IR for five consecutive years.

Even though chronically underperforming schools represent only a small percentage of all public schools, it is unacceptable for even one public school student to be enrolled in a chronically underperforming campus, and Raise Your Hand Texas supports continuous efforts to turn around struggling schools so all students have access to an excellent education.

Variation of School Ratings

During the 84th Legislative Session, lawmakers pursued yet another variation of school ratings with the passage of House Bill 2804. HB 2804 will shift the accountability labels to A-F designations of campuses and districts beginning in the 2017-18 school year. The new A-F ratings will be based on the following set of five indicator domains.

Domain 1

Meeting standards at satisfactory and college readiness levels on STAAR

Domain 2

Meeting/exceeding progress on STAAR tests at satisfactory and college readiness levels.

Domain 3

Closing “academic achievement differentials” from different racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds

Domain 4

Academic attainments that differ by level

Domain 5

Three pre-selected categories of Community and Student Engagement ratings