Senator unveils new school accountability proposal
(Austin) Texas would hold public schools accountable for preparing students for college or skilled work after high school under a new proposal outlined Thursday.
The plan, by Plano Senator and Senate Education Committee Chair Florence Shapiro, would replace the current system of rating schools based on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. Shapiro said the current accountability system, while useful in the past, must now be overhauled. "Change for the better is what we’re looking for," she said. "Students need to be moved forward, and we need to change to the trends that we see confronting the state of Texas in the future."
Shapiro’s bill, SB 3, would create a two-tiered system of accountability. The first of these, the accreditation tier, would judges schools based on student achievement and growth of post-secondary readiness. College readiness would be determined by performance on English and algebra end of course exams.
Skilled workforce readiness would also use English and algebra as a benchmark, but would rate those against success in training and certification programs at technical or community colleges. The accreditation tier would also take into account graduation rates. The second tier, the distinction tier, aims to reward districts and campuses for excellence in other areas, including growth in student achievement, fine arts, and second language skills.
Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott praised the plan, saying it would bring together current state, federal and financial accountability standards into one overall measurement. "This bill gives us an opportunity to synthesize those three systems into one coherent message about college and career readiness," he said. The bill will next go before Shapiro’s Education Committee for a public hearing.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, March 9 at 1:30 p.m.