Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, recently filed a bill that would see several changes to a new Texas Education Agency school accountability system opposed by many districts in Galveston County.
Taylor filed Senate Bill 2051 to revise House Bill 2804, which was passed by Texas lawmakers in 2015 as a means to simplify school accountability by giving schools and districts a grade on a scale of A to F.
But many education officials in Texas and in Galveston County, including Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Greg Smith, has said the measure lawmakers passed in 2015 was anything but simple.
“In essence, this rating system is like taking all the gauges on an airplane and telling the pilot there is only one gauge to pay attention to,” Smith has said.
The new A-F system is meant to replace the current system of giving schools ratings of either “met standard” or “improvement required.”
The grades themselves are based on a point system calculated through formulas that consider state test scores, graduation rates and other criteria.
A school and district’s ratings would be determined based on five different domains — student performance, student progress, closing the achievement gap, career readiness and community engagement.
The first official scores will not be released until fall 2018, although test ratings were released early this year.
Under Taylor’s proposed changes, a district’s ratings would be reduced to three domains — student achievement, school progress and community engagement.
Furthermore, SB 2051 would address another criticism school administrators have had about the new accountability system — its over reliance on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, tests.
The A-F rating system would rely heavily, about 55 percent, on results of the tests, Smith said in an earlier interview.
Taylor’s bill would allow for other factors for determining student achievement, such as how many are enrolled in college coursework.
Taylor’s office did not respond to a request for comment as of late Friday.