A-F preliminary grades released...
A message from Kristin K. Tassin, Parent, Attorney and Fort Bend ISD Board President (1/6/2017)
Today, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released preliminary letter grades based on the 2015-16 school year performance – The A-F Work-in-Progress Report. I want to share an article in today’s Dallas Morning News that gives some examples of the flawed A-F system. As you may know, the majority (55%) of the A through F grades are based on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR), a high-stakes, standardized test that does not accurately measure student learning.
How can the State of Texas assign a single letter grade to the schools when they require our schools to teach students of all different backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities and who speak different languages, with no consideration for these differences? We do not even do that in classrooms where our teachers work to meet the needs of each student every day.
- Some students have been in pre-school and have been learning to read almost since birth;
- Some have never stepped foot in a school and have hardly ever even seen a book;
- Some have just arrived in this country and not only don't speak English, but have not been provided an appropriate education;
- Some come from affluent families with supportive parents; and
- Some have no electricity at home, no food to eat, no parents at home or no home at all.
But public schools must teach them all, and the state requires they all perform at the SAME EXACT level. Our legislature over regulates and underfunds public schools, and does not provide Texas schools with the adequate funding or resources to meet the challenges for the growing number of diverse students who all have unique needs.
Students are human beings, not robots, and the complexities of teaching individuals cannot be summed up in a single letter grade. Even colleges look at the whole student and all that they are and have done when considering achievement. I am disappointed in Texas.
Look up your school's grades and please speak out.
On a personal note, I want to share that according to the State of Texas, my kids' elementary school is a "D" school in student progress and a "C" school in student achievement. But my girls certainly don't feel that way, nor do we as parents. Our school has excellent teachers, excellent administrators, and offers lots of learning opportunities. But, it also has a high population of "economically disadvantaged" students and English language learners. The A-F rating system is punishing my school that has a high population of struggling students, without those who created the system ever stepping foot in the classrooms to see what's really happening. I am not the only person who feels their school is more than just a letter grade, read another parent’s blog post.
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