Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath released a trial run of public school ratings under an A-F grading system on Friday, then backed away as fast as he could.
The ratings, criticized by many of the people who run the state’s 1,000-plus school districts and charter schools, were only “for informational purposes to meet a legislative requirement,” he said.
They come from “work-in-progress models that are likely to change before A-F ratings become effective in August 2018.”
Texans should draw “no inferences” about current or future district or campus performance from the ratings.
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So, why bother?
There’s nothing wrong with the Legislature’s 2015 decision to change the current “met standard” and “improvement required” rating model to the A-F model, more like the grades students get in school.
But there was no overall grade in Friday’s report, just separate grades for student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness. Another measure, community and student engagement, is still being designed.
Unofficial as it was, Friday’s report was still confusing. Some educators say it was meant to make them look bad as the Legislature debates voucher proposals that would take money away from public schools.
No wonder Morath kept his distance.