Sunday, July 05, 2009

Texas Reworks School Accountability, Budgeting

This article does not give a balanced critique of the massive overhaul that Texas' HB 3 has done to public school education.

Further down in the article the following quote by Ratliff regarding the bill's use of multiple criteria assessment for 3rd graders is made: “The lawmakers were concerned that one test, the snapshot aspect, determined so much for a school.”

This article does NOT share with readers that HB 3, as filed, afforded this consideration to 5th and 8th graders as well. The change to remove them was made at the end of the process.

Also mentioned by Ratliff: “[Under the new law,] three years of data are taken into account when we determine a rating. If they’ve had one bad year, that doesn’t reduce their rating.”

Yes, school-centered accommodations like this and proportionality (i.e., requiring schools to meet 85% of all indicators rather than all) were retained in the bill. This again highlights lawmakers' recognition and concerns for using "one test" to determine "so much" but only when it came to schools but not when it came to children other than those in the 3rd grade.

Very concerning.


By Mary Ann Zehr | Ed Week
June 26, 2009

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed legislation that will make some significant changes in the state’s accountability system and budgeting requirements for schools, including tougher high school graduation standards and elimination of a requirement that school districts must spend 65 percent of their operating budgets on classroom instruction.

But some high-profile bills failed to pass in the session that ended June 1—including a proposal to lift the cap on the number of charter schools permitted, a request that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has made of all states.

Lawmakers also failed to approve measures that called for a reduction of the power of the Texas board of education, which has been criticized by some as making some decisions based on political ideology, particularly in the area of science.

In addition, they didn’t pass any bills that would have made changes in the state’s programs for English-language learners, such as stepping up monitoring. A U.S. district court has ruled that Texas doesn’t provide adequate programs for its ELLs on the secondary level, but the state has appealed that decision and is waiting for a decision from the appeals court.

Read on...

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