Coming Up in the Texas Legislature the Week of April 10

Now that the House has passed its own version of the state budget in place of the Senate’s in SB 1, time-honored ritual requires the Senate to reject the House effort, triggering appointment of a conference committee to iron out the differences. Though news reports have emphasized differences between the two versions that are many […]

Rollback of Simplistic A-F School Ratings Approved in House Committee

The House Public Education Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to revise and roll back the simplistic A-F school-rating scheme enacted in 2015. The bipartisan unanimity for HB 22 bodes well for the ratings rollback in the full House. HB 22 as approved in committee delays the first use of the A-F rating system until the […]

House Bills Would Curb State Testing Excesses, Delay Rollout of A-F Ratings

A batch of bills heard in the House Public Education Committee this week would make significant strides toward reining in the outsized role of standardized state testing in school accountability. The leading bill is HB 22 by committee chair Dan Huberty (R-Houston), which would delay use of A-F ratings until August 2019, giving the Legislature […]

Texas House Public Education Committee Sets Priorities

The first meeting of the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday afforded some insight into the educational priorities on the House side of the Texas Capitol rotunda. Committee chair Dan Huberty (R-Houston) said hearings next week and the week following will focus on school finance, with the goal of passing a major rewrite on the […]

Why A-F Ratings for Schools Do Not Make the Grade

The issuance of A-F ratings for Texas schools this week was greeted with a torrent of criticism from educators. Even though the ratings were incomplete, based on last year’s data, and did not count for purposes of state accountability sanctions, the criticism was fully justified. Our counterparts at the Texas Association of School Administrators have […]

We Repeat: Tell TEA We Need a Real Turn Away from Test-and-Punish Accountability

Bear with us—we want to make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to tell the Texas Education Agency you should have real input on our state’s post-NCLB options to scale back high-stakes testing, not just an ill-designed online survey. See our message from Monday, repeated below, and note that you only have until Friday, […]

Tell TEA You Want Meaningful Input on Post-NCLB Testing, Not an Ill-Designed Online Survey

The more we look at the Texas Education Agency’s online survey inviting comment on how the state should implement new testing flexibility offered by federal law, the less satisfied we are that the survey will produce anything meaningful. Let us explain and then recommend something you can do about it. First, the background:  The new […]

Have Your Say on Changes Needed in Testing and Accountability

The new federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act—dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—allows states the freedom to make a sharp turn away from the test-and-punish model of accountability promoted by the discredited No Child Left Behind Act. But in many states educators are finding state policy leaders reluctant to use their newfound freedom to […]

State Senators Review Impact of Latest Laws on Accountability, Pre-K, Educator Preparation

The August 16 hearing of the Texas Senate Education Committee made clear that state lawmakers want to intervene in local school districts to improve students’ scores on state tests, but it also made clear they are not of one mind about how to go about it. Certain senators seemed enamored of the notion that school […]

Annual State Accountability Ratings and Passing Rates Reported

Though teachers and parents are voicing more doubts than ever about the validity of standardized state exams as a measure of student achievement, the state is still using these State of Texas Assessments of Academic  Readiness as the foundation of student and school performance evaluation. Today the Texas Education Agency issued ratings for districts and […]