Texas schools fail standards as school districts barely hit “acceptable” ratings
WORLD / Texas, U.S. – The Texas Education Agency has indicated that some school districts in the Houston area did not meet its standards for this school year. Some districts were awarded acceptable ratings, but individual schools in these districts often did not make the grade. According to Ericka Mellon for the Houston Chronicle, about 9 percent of schools throughout Texas did not earn an acceptable rating.
17 schools fail standards
A closer look at the Houston Independent School District’s scores reveals that the entire district met state standards. However, 17 percent of its schools did not. In January 2014, the ABC news affiliate in Houston reported that the TEA stated that more than 40 schools in Houston were considered to be “failing”. Many schools across the state fared no better. The 2013 TEA list included 53 HISD schools as in need of improvement among the 892 from across the state. The latter number was just 456 schools in 2012.
HISD board member Wanda Adams told ABC Channel 13 in Houston, “I just think that the strategies that we’ve been using in the past may be not working the way that we thought they should be working.” The district has put in place aggressive tactics to try to improve the quality of the education its schools are providing, including increasing instruction in math and reading.
The state’s grading standards changed two years ago, and the ranking system is based on how well schools did on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. The STAAR tests are used in conjunction with graduation rates to score high schools.
Acceptable ratings for large districts
Some districts in which every school met state standards were among the Houston area’s largest school systems. For example, Clear Creek, Klein, Katy and Cypress-Fairbanks schools all received acceptable ratings from the state. High Island and La Marque districts in Galveston County, Cleveland ISD, and Hempstead ISD all were labeled as needing improvement. The Harmony School of Science, a charter school, was awarded a distinction for having a top college-readiness program. It was one among just 25 school districts that received this honor.
This year, districts also had to rate their own schools on how well they engage the community and students as a result of the state education law known as House Bill 5. The community can report how they feel about the quality of the district’s engagement with its members and thus help the district set goals for improvement in 9 categories, according to Laura Isensee of Houston Public Media in a recent article.