Education News

Lawmakers Approve New A-F Letter Grades For Texas Schools

Supporters say that the new system will be more transparent for parents, but some education advocates worry it will penalize low-income schools.

 

When the legislative session started, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick put school accountability high on his agenda.

“If you want to bring about change to public education, wait ‘til the parents drive by the school and see the marquee out front with a C, a D or an F,” said Patrick, a Houston Republican.

State lawmakers agreed and approved a plan to give public schools across Texas letter grades from A through F starting in the 2016-17 school year.

David Anthony, CEO of the advocacy group Raise Your Hand Texas, said that the system sounds elegant and easy to understand.

“That was the argument — A through F is easy for parents understand. Well, sure it is. They know what A through F means,” Anthony said.

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But his group opposed the new system.

Anthony said that the problem is that parents may not know what actually goes into the formula to calculate those grades.

He added that he’s concerned low-income schools will end up with more failing grades if the report card relies on standardized tests.

“What we wanted was clearly articulating what’s the difference between an A, or B or C school. If you walk in there, you’re going to know this is an A school and you have the data and information,” he said.

Currently, individual schools get graded pass fail: They either meet the state’s academic standards or they need improvement.

The new grading system, HB 2804, is now on the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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