State senators mull plan to rate schools using letter grades

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - State senators are discussing a much-watched plan to rate public schools statewide by letter grades A through F.

The proposal is cheered by conservatives and seems likely to pass despite Democratic reservations.

The Senate Education Committee considered a letter-grade bill by its chairman, Republican Larry Taylor, while hearing several top classroom bills Thursday.

Supporters say grades are easy to understand and will spur parents to force changes at failing schools. Schools are currently rated on a "met standards" or "needs improvement" pass-fail system.

Texas has already approved implementing a letter grade system for school districts but not individual campuses.

Democrats on the committee say they worry that attending an F-graded school could stigmatize students. They also argued that poor ratings say more about inadequate state classroom funding than education quality.

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