School ratings discussed as Senate suspends deadline, meets past midnight

Texas State Capitol (Nexstar Photo)
Texas State Capitol (Nexstar Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The state senate went into the early morning hours by suspending their midnight deadline rule so they could work until nearly 2:30 a.m. to pass any final bills.

House Bill 22 was the final bill discussed. The bill is an overhaul of what lawmakers passed last session that requires school districts to be graded on an A through F scale. The goal is to give parents a better idea of where their school ranks instead of the existing pass fail system.

The House’s original version of this bill would have limited standardized testing to 50 percent of the district’s grade, allowed districts to select their own exams and would have delayed the start of the implementation of this new grading system by one year, to 2019.

Overnight the Senate passed its version of the bill by taking out the delayed start, the limit on how much of their grades relies on standardized tests and added in a category of measuring how well a school is doing by closing achievement gaps between students of different racial and economic backgrounds. They also attached a provision from a bill that already died that would create a commission to study school finance.

Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, the bill’s sponsor believes the changes will make a difference.

“With an A-F if you are an A and you slip to a B parents are going to go ‘what’s going on.’ Well go look in the domains, it’s very clear in the domains, here’s what you need to work on.”

The bill will now go back to the House to decide if they approve the changes. That will be looked at Friday. The final day of the session is Monday.

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