Texas has been at the forefront of “accountability” for years. Most would agree that our system has resulted in substantial academic progress – especially among our most challenging student groups. Almost everyone, however, also recognizes that our over-reliance on testing and the “high stakes” rating system has now become counterproductive.
So how do we make changes that continue to demand academic achievement while recognizing that there is more to a good school than test results? I believe it is time to rethink the system. Since I object to folks who complain without offering solutions, I’ll offer one just to start the conversation. Here goes – - -
I believe we need to broaden the parameters used in our rating system. I propose that a different matrix be developed for various types of schools. A different matrix could be used for elementary, middle, high schools and districts. The objective should be to assess more than just test results by moving from the one word ranking – “acceptable”, “recognized”, etc., to a three letter system – “AAA”, “DBC”, etc. I propose that the first letter continue the emphasis on objective test results. The second letter could provide a rating based on financial matters – efficiency, transparency, financial soundness, etc. The third letter could reflect what I’ll call “involvement and success” parameters. Parental and community involvement, student participation in UIL, college credit and A.P. success, graduation rates, career/technical preparation and remediation rates could all be factors for the third letter.
While I will post a variety of thoughts, I want to be clear that I’m not entrenched on any particular concept or matrix. I just think it’s time to begin a discussion. To that end, I’ve opened this blog. I invite educators, parents, taxpayers and any other interested party to post and comment on the blog. I reserve the right to remove posts or pull it down if it becomes negative or overtly political. Please be respectful of opinions, be brief, be concise and focus on suggestions – not just problems with the present system.