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A-F Doesn't Reflect True School Performance
January 2, 2017
Goose Creek CISD Family:
Happy New Year! I hope that 2017 is your best year yet!
Obrien photo
I hate to start the new year on a negative note, but I want to let you know about a pending issue that will likely have an impact on our schools. I believe it’s in our collective best interest that our entire community is educated about what’s happening in public education in the state of Texas. 
A bit of background:
In 2015, the Texas state legislature adopted a new public school accountability system, which is scheduled to go into effect at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. This new system assigns a letter grade (A-F) to every campus in the state, as well as to each district. In December, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released a list of five indicators that will be used for the new accountability system. While these other indicators will be weighted, the accountability system still relies most heavily on STAAR test performance for a portion of our student population. More on that in a moment.
This week, the TEA is expected to release “provisional reports” that allegedly represent a “draft” of the accountability system: In other words, if this system were already in place, what letter grade would each campus receive? These results will include data from the 2015-2016 school year, and do not include the results of all five of the domains the state itself said we’re being measured on. Simply put, the state is issuing “grades” with incomplete data and without even fully deciding exactly how this new accountability system will work. That’s the equivalent of a teacher giving an assignment and then deciding later how the students in his or her class will be graded.
As far as the STAAR test is concerned, all of our campuses “Met Standard” following the 2015-2016 administration of the test for the third straight year. “Met Standard” is the highest ranking that can be achieved under the current accountability system. Make no mistake: We’re proud of our results, but the test itself is fundamentally flawed and this past year’s administration was a disaster. You can read more about that here, here and here. If the TEA can’t administer a reliable test, why should our kids be judged on it?
In addition, several states have tried to implement an A-F accountability system with very mixed results. Why, then, is Texas going backward instead of forward with respect to school accountability, especially at a time when, by the Texas Supreme Court’s own admission, “Our Byzantine school funding ‘system’ is undeniably imperfect, with immense room for improvement”?
Regardless of what accountability system the state puts in place, Goose Creek CISD will always stick to our mission of delivering the best quality education to all students. We will always work to foster learning environments in every classroom, every day. We are less concerned about state-mandated tests than we are about providing your child with the knowledge, skills and tools he or she needs to be successful.
The 85th state legislative session begins in a few days. It is my hope that our newly elected officials repeal A-F and work together to design a state accountability system that accurately reflects the outstanding achievements in our public schools. Please check our district’s website for more information about issues affecting our schools as the session progresses.
As always, thank you for your support of our schools and our students, as well as for your patience as we all try to figure out the new accountability system.
Randal O’Brien
Superintendent of Schools
Goose Creek ConsolidatedIndependent School District>
To view letter, click here.


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