Local School District Pleased With New Texas School Ratings Proposal

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email

WACO (April 3, 2013)--Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams told the state Senate Education Committee Tuesday that he will order a change in the way schools and school districts are rated to a system based on letter grades A through F starting next year.

It's something many school districts within the state are on board with, including Waco ISD.

The current system ranks schools and districts on a scale from "Exemplary" to "Academically Unacceptable."

A series of bills in the Texas Legislature sought to replace the existing system with grades, which are used in Florida and some other states.

Waco ISD Superintendent Dr. Bonny Cain says the proposed change is a simpler way for parents and the public to understand where a school stands.

"It's sort of confusing. Not everyone knows what is acceptable really means at first glance," Cain said.

"Many might wonder if it's really good, really bad, or is it just in the middle."

Dr. Cain feels the "A" through "F" letter grading system would be an easy transition that everyone could familiarize with.

"The public will easily be able to understand this new system," Cain said. "Everyone knows what an 'A', a 'B', a 'C', a 'D', and an 'F' stands for."

Dr. Cain stressed that students all over Texas would be able to benefit under the new rating system as well.

"If you tell a child that his or her school is acceptable, they may think that's great or not. Regardless, they don't have a reference point," Cain said.

"They know what an 'A' is; they know what a 'B' is, so I think we'll see more student engagement as well."

This new rating system could help schools within Waco ISD tackle their achievement gaps. Waco High has been deemed academically unacceptable 3 times since 2010.

Cain says an "A" through "F" rating system will help the school gauge what needs to be done in a more specific manner.

An "A" through "F" rating system will also play a large part in real estate and urban development, giving a clearer picture to developers and taxpayers on where a school stands academically.

Real estate agent Brad Davis says it's not a secret that a school's reputation plays a large part in urban development.

"Schools are a large hub in real estate," Davis said.

"This system could make people more informed, which is going to help people in their decision process in where they're going to live."

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