by: Pat Hernandez, December 17, 2010 4:12:00 pm
The Texas Education Agency notified the Houston School District late Thursday that it had upgraded its status from "pending" to "accredited" — the agency's top rating. Last Spring, the TEA notified the HISD it was being investigated for
alleged cheating on the TAKS test at Key Middle School and that Kashmere High School had falsified student drop out records. Debbie Ratcliffe with the TEA says revoking a district's accreditation is a serious matter.
"It is theoretically possible that a district could be closed if they lost their accreditation, or they could function but they wouldn't be operating as a public school anymore — they'd become a private school."
HISD is no longer operating under a cloud, but Ratcliffe says restoration comes with some consequences.
"While we've given the district an accredited status, we've told them that they need to hire professionals to monitor their testing administration practices, and their reporting procedures when they report dropout data to us."
Jason Spencer with the HISD says the district alerted the agency to the discrepancies.
"It was HISD that first noticed the red flags at Key and Kashmere and took the initiative to start these investigations, and to notify the TEA and the district attorney's office that we were doing that."
TEA's accreditation system is about 3-years old and takes into account a school's financial and academic performance, and how it complies with rules and regulations.