State revamps school accountability system

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By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor
There will be a new state accountability system for schools and school districts this fall, the state’s education commissioner announced, but it’s not yet known what the change means for Mexia ISD.
“I have heard the criticism of the previous accountability system, with its overemphasis on a school’s lowest performing areas and its blind spot to what a district or charter might be doing well,” Texas Education Commissioner Michael L. Williams said in a Texas Education Agency news release April 23. “The new system makes use of multiple indicators to provide parents and taxpayers a more detailed overview of the successes, as well as areas of necessary improvement, for each school district, charter and campus.”
Right now, schools receive one of four different ratings — unacceptable, acceptable, recognized and exemplary — based on measures set by the TEA, including the district’s performance on standardized tests, dropout rates and financial status.
Critics have said it is difficult for the public to understand the ratings used, and the way they are calculated penalizes schools that are otherwise doing well if they fail in a single measure.
In all the other years of the current system – 2004 through 2010 – all of MISD’s campuses and the district itself were rated academically acceptable or better.

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