FBISD gears up for more accountability standards
By Betsy Dolan
Describing it as “a dot-to-dot without numbers”, Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Charles Dupre acknowledged that new accountability standards that went into effect this school year, are challenging because districts have not been given any guidelines to follow.
House Bill 5 requires all Texas school districts to evaluate themselves and every campus on 10 new areas, in addition to the academic criteria that has been in place for years.
Those additional areas include: Fine Arts, Wellness & PE, Community & Parent Involvement, 21st Century Workforce, Second Language Acquisition, Digital Learning Environment, Dropout Prevention Strategies and GT Programs. The district will also need to provide a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on whether each campus and the district as a whole has complied.
“Talk about a large task”, said Dr. Jan Moore, the district’s Director of Accountability. “We thought this was really good and we thought TEA would give us direction and then they did not.”
The statute prohibits the Texas Education Agency from determining how the districts should evaluate the 10 areas. Fort Bend ISD appointed a House Bill 5 committee to create a way to measure the new standards. The only thing Fort Bend ISD knows for sure is that their old friends: Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable and Unacceptable, will be the TEA approved ratings system.
“How do you know if you’re doing it right?”, asked Moore. “We’d like to think we’re doing it the right way. Every single district is creating these metrics and everybody is doing it a little differently”.
The danger with the 1200 school districts in Texas coming up with their own way to judge the criteria, is the tendency to want skew the results in a positive way, said Dupre.
“One of the biggest discussions we’ve had is how to handle this in a legitimate manner”, Dupre said. “But we felt at this stage in the district’s transition, that we wanted to get honest feedback. If there is work that we need to do in one of these areas, we need to know”.
The district provided a parent survey in order to collect additional data that will help the House Bill 5 committee create a way to measure the new accountability standards.
The district must have their ratings to the TEA by June 26. The district will make their results public on August 8 and the TEA makes the results public on October 3.
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