Alabama and Texas Administrators Protest A-F Report Cards

By Daarel Burnette II — January 06, 2017 1 min read
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District administrators in Alabama and Texas are protesting the A-F report cards mandated by their state legislatures in their prior sessions which force the states’ education departments to evaluate their schools and school districts with letter grades.

Released data by both states shows perceivably high performing suburban school districts receiving Ds and Fs on this year’s report cards that are heavily based on last year’s standardized tests.

Proponents say A-F report cards are an easy way for parents to grasp the quality of schools. But opponents say it’s oversimplistic and vulnerable to data mishaps.

In Texas, the education department on Friday released a provisional ratings report card that district officials already are calling flawed.

The state’s association of school administrators has sent around a petition calling for its repeal and by Wednesday more than 142 local school boards had adopted resolutions opposing the report card.

Officials with Alabama’s department of education, meanwhile, are in a spat with the local press over this year’s report card, which the state is legally required to have published, but which education officials don’t philosophically agree with. The department released a report card shortly before the holidays. Similar to Texas officials, Alabama’s district administrators say the grades aren’t reflective of their districts’ performance.

Recently appointed Alabama state chief Michael Sentance told that he doesn’t agree with letter grades for school districts because he’s seen what sort of impact it’s had on districts’ reputations in other states.

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states redesign and more frequently publish their state report cards. It doesn’t specify a certain type of report card and many states are opting to switch to dashboard report cards which parse out how schools and districts perform in separate areas.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.