A-F ratings for Texas schools and districts are expected to be released soon, but some Fort Worth-area education leaders have not heard a word about it.
School officials are questioning whether the Texas Education Agency will meet its anticipated release window for ratings under a newly revised accountability system. The revisions have drawn criticism from school districts over what they see as a lack of transparency.
TEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ratings are expected to be issued in either late October or early November. TEA delayed its planned Sept. 28 release after lower than expected post-pandemic outcomes required additional changes.
More than 100 school districts across the state have signed onto a lawsuit that says TEA did not notify them of the changes and intends to apply them retroactively to the 2022-23 academic year. In Tarrant County, the Crowley, Fort Worth and Arlington school districts have joined the lawsuit. A judge in Travis County is hearing the lawsuit.
“We’ve heard a lot about how they’re going to evaluate us differently in the scores that are coming out from the state,” Steven Newcom, secretary of the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD school board, said during an Oct. 23 meeting.
In mid-October, TEA’s lawyers told a judge that districts do not have standing to sue and that school officials did receive enough notice about the refresh.
TEA could fall back onto accountability standards from 2022 even with a redesigned state standardized test, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Superintendent Jim Chadwell said.
“I think the fact that we haven’t heard anything is indicative that they realize they didn’t follow what they were supposed to follow,” Chadwell said.
The Legislature could intervene, said Dana Barnes, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD’s deputy superintendent. She pointed to what she described as a small line in House Bill 1, the lower chamber’s proposal for a voucher program, that could supersede TEA’s decision.
HB 1 would require ratings for districts and schools to be based on 2022 standards until 2026. Rep. Brad Buckley, a Salado Republican who chairs the House Public Education Committee, authored the bill.
Gov. Greg Abbott has indicated his likely opposition to the House bill, which includes an increase in education funding alongside a voucher program. Abbott has said he will consider public education funding increases after he receives a voucher bill on his desk.
The special session of the Legislature ends Nov. 7.
Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.