‘Over my dead body,’ Lt. Governor vows to keep A-F

FILE - Dan Patrick (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Dan Patrick (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (NEXSTAR) — More than 200 school districts from across Texas want lawmakers to scrap the state’s A-F accountability system.

“Over my dead body,” said Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

Education lobbyists are wasting their time at the state capitol this session, according to Patrick, who promised the new rating system will not be repealed or replaced.

Public schools and school districts in Texas will be given letter grades — A, B, C, D or F. Districts and schools will get one overall grade as well as individual grades in five different categories, starting next school year.

The categories, or domains, are as follows: Student Achievement, Student Progress, Closing Performance Gaps, Post-secondary Readiness and Community and Student Engagement. “The schools that got As and Bs — they didn’t complain at all. They like it — that’s what creates competition,” said Patrick.

Statewide, roughly 75 percent of schools received a C grade or worse in the preliminary results released at the start of January. Out of the nearly 1,000 school districts graded on post-secondary readiness, nearly 60 percent received a C, D or F.

State Education Commissioner Mike Morath said it’s difficult to score schools on preparing students for higher education because college readiness means different things to different people.

Morath said he’s heard from critics and cautioned the system is still a work in progress. Lawmakers have filed bills to clarify the language of the system and how to define “post-secondary readiness.”

Patrick said A-F will increase competition among schools, fueling his efforts to pass a school choice program this session. “So I want to save the education community some money, you don’t have to pay your lobbyists,” Patrick said.

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