What's Wrong with the A-F Grading System?
What is the A-F campus grading system?
According to the TEA, “much like students receive grades in individual subjects and those are combined for a GPA, the law requires schools and districts to be issued grades based on five different areas of performance or ‘domains’ and those five grades must be combined into a single overall rating.”
A-F was started in Florida in 1999. Virginia repealed it, citing the detrimental effects it would have on communities. Michigan has dropped it. Tennessee is delaying it. West Virginia has decided against it. Texas has moved back the implementation date of A-F due to its lack of accuracy. Which begs the question…
What is wrong with the A-F campus grading system?
A-F is based in large part on the flawed, high-stakes STAAR test, which robs teachers and students of time needed for real teaching and learning.
A-F doesn’t paint a complete picture of what our schools, students and teachers are doing. As Johnny Veselka, Executive Director of the Texas Association of School Administrators says: “A single letter grade, based predominantly on standardized test scores, cannot bring clarity to educational accountability because of the nature and complexity within each public school.”
A-F doesn’t help students. The Texas Association of School Administrators says, “We have found no research to support A-F school rating system as effective. We believe that Texas students would be better served by a comprehensive community-based accountability system.”
A-F would “disproportionately punish schools in the poorest communities that are already struggling to overcome obstacles”, says Rep. Mary Gonzalez. A study from Oklahoma researchers showed that while student performance generally declined or didn’t change under A-F grading, performance decreased most among low-income students.
A-F is used by the corporate education reform movement to label public schools as failing and ultimately as a pretext to passing vouchers or voucher-like legislation. When preliminary grades under the A-F system were released earlier this year, those supporting vouchers and the corporate reform movement didn’t waste any time pointing to C, D, and F schools as the problem with public school.
My opponent’s record as Trustee over the past nine months includes voting in favor of the DISD legislative agenda in September that advocated for the repeal of the A-F school rating system, amongt other items. Just months later in January, he voted against a resolution that supported increased funding, opposed vouchers, and opposed the A-F rating system; he cited his support of A-F as the reason he voted against this resolution. His support of A-F is unacceptable.
While I recognize that one Trustee alone can’t change this state legislation, I know it will take the strength of many voices coming together across our state to stand up against this failed system and it will need to start with District leadership.
Dallas ISD students, teachers and families deserve a Trustee who will advocate for public education. I am ready to do just that for the sake of our community’s schools and our children’s futures. I hope I will earn your support and that you will vote for me during this Runoff. Early voting is May 30 - June 6. Election Day is Saturday, June 10.