Texas releases letter grades for school district performance

School districts across Texas got their report cards Wednesday, and some are not happy about it.

The Texas Education Agency released its first letter grade accountability ratings. Each district got a score that equates to an A, B, C, D or F.

The grades for Dallas-Fort Worth's largest school districts are: Dallas - B, Fort Worth - C, Arlington - C, Garland - B, Plano - A, Lewisville - B and Frisco - A. To check your school district’s grade, visit txschools.org.

DeSoto ISD parents picking up class schedules for their students were disappointment that the TEA gave the district a D for its overall performance. Lake Worth is the only other ISD in North Texas with the same distinction.

The grade is based on three areas: student achievement, school progress and closing the gap. This looks at performance that considers race and socioeconomic factors.

The Texas Legislature ordered the change during the last session as a way to give parents a clearer understanding of how well or poorly districts are doing. Individual campuses will be rated next year.

According to the state, charter schools are evaluated using the same criteria as schools within a public school system. But the independently run schools face tougher consequences.

Education Commissioner Mike Morath was in Wylie to explain the new system. He points out that a charter school that fails to meet minimum expectations three years in a row can be shut down.

“The difference between charters is that if they get a D or an F three years in a row, they get shut down,” he said. “So the consequences for charters actually tend to be far more dire than for traditional public schools.”

Not all districts are happy about the change. The Lewisville Independent School District sent a note to parents criticizing the new system.

Superintendent Kevin Rogers called it a “misguided attempt to label our schools based almost solely on flawed standardized testing.”

Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is a vocal opponent of the new system.

“I’m not a fan of A-F,” he said. “I testified against it and I’m going to keep testifying against it because a simple answer to a complex issue is not always the best way to go.”

Lewisville and 62 other districts in the state are working on a community-based rating system. For more information, visit www.lisd.net/profiles.