The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has appealed a court’s decision to block its release of its new school accountability ratings for the last school year after school districts sued.
The TEA announced the appeal along with its decision to release the so-called “what if” ratings for the 2021-22 school year based on the new accountability system.
“The 2022 What If ratings do not replace the final 2022 A–F ratings; instead, they are provided for reference and are based on the methodology in the final rule adopting the 2023 Accountability Manual, announced in the October 31, 2023 TAA,” TEA said.
The A–F Accountability System was established by the TEA to evaluate the academic performance of Texas public schools and assign a letter grade to schools and districts.
“The A–F system is designed to properly reflect how well our schools are meeting those high expectations, and the adjustments we are making this year will ensure it continues to serve as a tool for parents and educators to help our students,” Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said.
In August, three school districts sued the TEA over the new grading system, claiming it was “politically motivated” to “advance the agenda of school vouchers,” according to the El Paso Times.
“We all have dedicated teachers working their tails off, and we just want to make sure that the work that they do is assessed fairly and that the student work reflects the reality of the district,” Canutillo ISD Superintendent Pedro Galaviz said. “That it’s not some bureaucrat in Austin dictating how to read data in order to best suit a political agenda.”
A Travis County judge ruled in the school districts’ favor in October, according to El Paso Matters.
The TEA claims the judge’s decision violates state law.
“This ruling completely disregards the laws of this state and for the foreseeable future, prevents any A–F performance information from being issued to help millions of parents and educators improve the lives of our students,” TEA spokesperson Melissa Holmes said. “Though about 10% of our school system leaders disagreed with the methods used in A–F enough to file this lawsuit, the complete absence of public performance information means that 100% of our school systems cannot take actions based on these ratings, stunting the academic growth of millions of Texas kids.”