Dueling School Accountability Ratings

Almost 90-percent of schools in the Houston Independent School District meet federal accountability standards. That's the good news. The bad news is the district does not. The outgoing HISD superintendent says the problem has to do with each state having a different federal standard. Pat Hernandez has the story.

The federal numbers come a week after the Houston School District announced that a record number of schools  excelled under the state system. Some of those schools rated exemplary by the state, failed to meet the
federal mark. Although both rating systems are based on TAKS, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, the problems come from the results. Outgoing Houston School Superintendent Dr Abe Saavedra says it's as
simple as changing the system, but changing the system is not that simple.

"There are different standards in every state. In essence, every state has its own test so, obviously you have different standards. So, you have 50-different federal standards in 50 different states."

Saavedra says the state and federal systems need to be aligned so that there is just one adequate yearly progress...or AYP.  But then, it would be a Texas system versus 49-others.

"If two states developed lesser standards, in essence an easier test, they're more likely to meet AYP. In Texas we have pretty strict standards and pretty high standards. So, that's the inconsistency of the federal system."

HISD schools that failed to meet the federal mark went down from 50 last year to 29 this year. Students at schools that are repeat offenders could opt for a transfer to another school or receive tutoring. Saavedra knows that the secretary of education is aware of the problem but until its fixed.

"We need to continue to focus on the academic growth of kids, and let the accountability ratings fall where they fall."

PH, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...