Superintendent's Message

New Texas Accountability System - Not So Simple


Dr. Kelli Moulton

At the December board meeting this week, the Galveston ISD Board of Trustees will discuss and consider a resolution against the new state accountability system which would give individual schools and districts a grade A through F.  Passed in 2015 as part of House Bill 2805, the A-F system has been presented by the legislature as an attempt at simplifying school accountability.

The new accountability system is scheduled go into effect in the 2017-2018 school year, but sample ratings are being delivered to the Texas Legislature and school districts on December 30, 2016.   The full report of these sample ratings will be available to the public on January 6, 2017.  Although  state law mandated that sample ratings be released in August of 2016, that deadline was pushed back. With the delays in initial roll-out and the Commissioner of Education Mike Morath's statement that the proposed models for calculating the grades for each of the four categories are not fixed and will likely change before next fall, something tells me that this is not the simple or transparent system it is intended to be. In fact, the methodology document that was released this week to explain the rating is 13 pages long.  Honestly our children, staff and community deserve a balanced accountability system, not a rating system that requires intricate explanations, or worse - defies explanation. 

The A-F accountability system is comprised of five domains that will be individually rated: student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, all derived from STAAR, will combine to account for 55 percent of a district's overall rating; post-secondary readiness and/or chronic absenteeism will account for 35 percent; and community and student engagement will account for 10 percent.

The resolution being considered by the Galveston ISD trustees has been passed by more than 70 school districts across the state and calls for a community- based accountability system that allows districts to collaborate with their communities to design their own system; A meaningful accountability system that will inform students, parents and teachers about the learning needs of each student and each school.  The resolution reads that "we believe our state's future prosperity relies on a high-quality education system that prepares students for college and careers and without such a system, Texas' economic competitiveness and ability to attract new business will falter." 

In Galveston we believe that all of our children - and our campuses - have unique needs, and our children need an accountability system that celebrates diversity and supports the District as we improve instruction and positively impact learning. I encourage you to celebrate your school's identity based on your own experiences and not on an oversimplified grade or label placed on us.  In Galveston ISD we believe in continuous improvement in everything we do, and we are committed to improving teaching and learning each year.