Trustees vote to join lawsuit at board meeting
Arlington ISD’s Board of Trustees voted last night to join a lawsuit against the Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency. The district is joining many others from across Texas in challenging how the TEA is implementing changes to the state’s A-F accountability system for schools and school districts.
The TEA intends to implement the changes and issue ratings next month. But it still has not given school districts all the rules for the new accountability system, which is in violation of state law.
State law requires the Commissioner to provide school districts a document in a simple, accessible format that explains the accountability performance measures, methods and procedures that will be applied. The commissioner has not done that despite his plan to roll out changes and ratings in a few weeks.
“In Arlington ISD, we welcome changes to the accountability system that will help us grow and improve,” said Melody Fowler, Arlington ISD board president. “But the manner in which these changes are being made is the issue. Changes should be implemented legally and in a way that actually enables school districts to achieve its goals and further student progress.”
The Arlington ISD trustees believe that will not happen with what TEA is calling a “refresh” of the accountability system. More accurately described as an overhaul to the accountability system, it will essentially change the rules after the game has been played – applying a new set of criteria to an already completed school year. Plus, the changes are coming at the same time that the TEA made significant changes to the STAAR test and how it is administered. The TEA has never before changed both the STAAR and accountability system at the same time.
“Launching a new accountability system that grades districts on years past when they were operating on a different accountability system simply isn’t fair or accurate,” Fowler said. “First, the TEA needs to let districts know what the new rules are going to be – as the law requires – and then give districts time to learn and implement the new system.”