Anne Lasseigne Tiedt, APR
Senior Director of Strategic Communications, Raise Your Hand Texas
[email protected], (512) 784-3805
Raise Your Hand Texas Encouraged by Public School Ratings
State’s Accountability System Places Too Much Emphasis on Testing
AUSTIN, TX (August 16, 2022) – On Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released its ratings for public school districts across the state. This marks the first time Texas school districts and schools have received a rating since 2019 because the TEA paused A-F school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the latest TEA ratings, 25% of districts and 33% of schools improved their letter grade from 2019 ratings. Raise Your Hand Texas believes that increased investments made at the federal, state, and local levels have shown, when properly funded, our public schools exceed expectations.
“Despite unprecedented disruptions and concerns from the pandemic, teachers, administrators, students, and parents stepped up, and it is clear that our public schools are not failing” said Bob Popinski, senior director of policy at Raise Your Hand Texas. “In fact, when it comes to standardized testing, many schools are thriving at levels above where they were before the pandemic, and that is incredible news, but there are still flaws in how we rate our public schools.”
From October 2021 to May 2022, Raise Your Hand’s statewide team of regional advocacy directors surveyed more than 15,600 people to gauge their feelings regarding the current accountability and assessment system for Texas public schools. More than 80% of Texas Voices respondents said they do not believe the STAAR test alone can effectively determine if their child’s school is good or not.
“It is great to see so many districts and campuses improve their A-F ratings,” Popinski said. “However, a single letter grade for the year does not reflect everything that our schools do on a daily basis. The current accountability system puts too much emphasis on the STAAR Test, which is the only factor taken into account for 3rd grade through 8th grade.”
The dedication and efforts of Texas teachers cannot be overlooked in these improvements, either. Raise Your Hand Texas Teacher Specialist JoLisa Hoover said teachers should be rewarded for their hard work and treated like the professionals they are.
“Teachers rose to the challenge, once again, and it shows,” Hoover said. “When the pandemic shuttered schools, teachers worried about learning loss and ensured learning continued during challenging circumstances. Teachers are experts at what they do, and when given the support and resources they need, their students grow and flourish.”
Raise Your Hand Texas believes that the TEA’s recent ratings are positive for Texas public schools, but Texas’ accountability system is not a full reflection of everything schools do to provide Texas students the education they deserve.
“In a time when parents are becoming more actively engaged in their child’s education, Texas’ accountability system should reflect and fully report on a district or school’s academic and extracurricular programs that engage students for successful futures in and outside the classroom,” said Popinski. “It is time to re-examine the state’s accountability system to better illustrate all aspects of the education process. It is time to Measure What Matters.”
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ABOUT RAISE YOUR HAND TEXAS
Raise Your Hand Texas is a non-profit organization that believes the future of Texas is in our public schools. Learn more about its research and work to improve the accountability and assessment system at www.MeasureWhatMattersTX.org.
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