7 ISDs Join Lawsuit Against A-F Rating System

Late this spring, at the height of legislative chaos, Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced that he would be updating the A-F accountability system for Texas school districts to raise the bar for meeting the college, career, and military readiness (CCMR) indicator. He also announced that these new standards would apply retroactively for the 2022-2023 school year. 

This move was met with immediate and swift criticism from districts that don’t want to be measured using a standard that didn’t exist at the beginning of the school year. More than 200 districts signed a letter questioning the giant leap in the passing score cutoff, as well as the timing of the refresh, which is hot on the heels of the STAAR redesign and in the midst of ongoing legislative fights about private school vouchers.

Seven districts have now taken their objections a step further and joined in a suit against the commissioner, specifically requesting that TEA delay the implementation of this A-F “refresh.” They are rightly concerned that this update will negatively impact either campus or district accountability ratings and throw them into the same zone of uncertainty that Houston ISD experienced prior to being taken over by the state.

On Wednesday, at the State Board of Education meeting, Mike Morath named the lawsuit as “completely without merit.” The next phase is uncertain, but districts and education advocates hope a legal pause button will be pressed before the agency releases its ratings on Sept. 28.

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