Trustees oppose 'letter grade' ratings, school vouchers
Longview ISD joined districts across the state calling for the repeal of the A-F school rating system during its regular meeting Monday, Dec. 12.
The resolution calls for the Texas Legislature to repeal the letter-grade rating system that will be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year as part of House Bill 2804, passed by the legislature in 2015.
LISD believes that the accountability system does not provide a meaningful or accurate assessment of a student, campus or district performance.
"Our view is the social and economic environment of a campus or district will have unintended consequence on the ratings," said Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox.
"What's more, the bulk of the rankings will be based solely on a once a year STAAR/EOC assessment that has been proven to be defective, not statistically significant or reliable, and detrimental to students and the teaching profession."
Wilcox said LISD supports a strong accountability system that reflects the many facets of a quality 21st century education system.
"It should reflect overall student performance and not limited to the lowest-performing student group, based on a single state assessment," he said.
The resolution offers an alternative to the A-F rating system, pursuing the development of a community-based accountability system that empowers districts to design their owns systems of accountability that — while meeting general state standards — allows innovation and customization to match the needs or interests of our own community.
Longview ISD believes that further study is necessary to design a system that adequately addresses the nature of school success and school improvement.
District opposes vouchers
The resolution also opposes a state voucher plan, tax credit, taxpayer savings grants, tuition reimbursements, or any program that diverts public tax dollars to private entities, homeschool students, or parents with little or no academic or financial accountability to the state, taxpayers, or local communities.
Wilcox said vouchers and savings grants given to the private sector "remove the fiduciary responsibility required for the accountability of public funds."
"We oppose any form of certificate directly or indirectly funded by the government in which parents can apply toward tuition at a private school or home schooling, rather than attending the state funded public school," he said.
'More funding needed'
In addition to opposing vouchers, Longview ISD is joining with the 95 school districts and 7 charter schools of Region VII in calling for more public school funding.
Wilcox said Texas funding per student ranks 40th in the nation, while the Texas economy ranks among the best.
"LISD believes that the basic allotment should be raised creating additional funding for all districts in Texas," he said. "The increased allotment would not require additional revenue from the state, rather revenues generated by increased property values would be returned to local school districts."