College & Workforce Readiness

Houston Escapes Lowered Rating Over Dropout Errors

By Michelle Galley — September 03, 2003 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Although the Houston school district’s accountability rating won’t be lowered, it faces other penalties as a result of its poor record-keeping for tracking the number of dropouts.

The Texas Education Agency decided last month to give the 211,000-student district the special accountability rating of “academically acceptable: special accreditation investigation,” according to Debbie Graves Ratcliffe, the director of communications for the agency.

Earlier this year, an investigative team from the TEA recommended that the state lower the district’s accountability rating to “academically unacceptable” after finding incomplete files for nearly 3,000 students who had left school during the 2001- 01 school year. Those files contained incorrect “leaver codes,” which are used to explain why a student is no longer attending a school.

In response to the team’s recommendation, Kaye Stripling, the superintendent of the Houston schools, requested that the state appoint a monitor to help the district revamp its data-collection system. She also requested that the TEA consider lowering the accountability ratings of only the schools that were shown to have faulty data. (“Houston Faces Questions on Dropout Data,” July 9, 2003.)

As a result, the TEA decided to “not penalize the district, but come up with a plan that would improve the data and reporting in the long run,” Ms. Ratcliffe said.

That plan includes assigning the monitor the school district requested. Marvin Crawford, a former superintendent of the 40,000-student Oklahoma City district, will work with the Houston schools to draw up a clear plan for how student data are collected and tracked, according to Ms. Ratcliffe.

Schools Penalized

The district’s new accountability rating—which will be raised or lowered in six months, depending on how well the data problems are addressed—will signal to other Texas educators that there were serious problems in the district that are now being addressed, Ms. Ratcliffe said.

In addition, the individual accountability ratings of 15 of the district’s 306 schools will be lowered.

“That decision says clearly to us that we must work hard to make sure those data-quality problems at those 15 schools do not resurface,” Superintendent Stripling said in a statement.

The leadership at Sharpstown High School—the school at the center of the storm over dropout numbers—will be changed at the request of the state education agency. It was there that the record-keeping errors were first uncovered. The district will continue to investigate the school, Ms. Stripling said.

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Trauma-Informed Practices & the Construction of the Deep Reading Brain
Join Ryan Lee-James, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, director of the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, with Renée Boynton-Jarrett, MD, ScD., Vital Village Community Engagement Network; Neena McConnico, Ph.D, LMHC, Child Witness to Violence Project; and Sondra
Content provided by Rollins Center

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness Opinion Can College-Going Be Less Risky Without Being 'Free'?
Rick Hess speaks with Peter Samuelson, president of Ardeo Education Solutions, about Ardeo's approach to make paying for college less risky.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion What Will It Take to Get High School Students Back on Track?
Three proven strategies can support high school graduation and postsecondary success—during and after the pandemic.
Robert Balfanz
5 min read
Conceptual illustration of students making choices based on guidance.
Viktoria Kurpas/iStock
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion An Economist Explains How to Make College Pay
Rick Hess speaks with Beth Akers about practical advice regarding how to choose a college, what to study, and how to pay for it.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness What the Research Says College Enrollment Dip Hits Students of Color the Hardest
The pandemic led to a precipitous decline in enrollment for two-year schools, while four-year colleges and universities held steady.
3 min read
Conceptual image of blocks moving forward, and one moving backward.
Marchmeena29/iStock/Getty