House easily passes bill overhauling school ratings

The House passed a major overhaul Wednesday of a rating system that would give schools and districts grades between A and F.

Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, proposed House Bill 22 as a way to get more superintendents and teachers to support the new A-F accountability system, slated for implementation in 2018. Huberty accepted more than a dozen amendments to the bill proposed by fellow representatives, which were intended to make the graded system more understandable and palatable to educators and parents.

"We wanted to solve the problem of accountability in the state of Texas," Huberty said.

The bill passed quickly, without a record vote. House members still must take a final vote on the bill.

In 2015, legislators changed the system for rating schools and districts, from a pass/fail system to an A-F letter grade system. Educators argued the proposed grades were too reliant on standardized tests and did not adequately represent school achievement.

The original proposal for the new graded system would give schools and districts letters in five categories: student performance on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exam, student progress on STAAR, closing the achievement gap, college and career readiness, and community engagement.

HB 22 would roll back those categories to just three: student achievement, student progress and school climate.

Districts would also be able to use locally selected exams, not just the state STAAR test, as a factor in their grades.

It would require grading schools on factors beyond standardized tests, including student participation in fine arts and extracurricular activities. It would also delay implementation of the new system from 2018 to 2019, and require the state to release two preliminary reports with unofficial grades for each school and district.

Read the full article on The Texas Tribune's website here.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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