Why grading schools is good for Texas

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Professional headshot of Mark Lehman

08/18/2015 | Author: Mark Lehman

In Lehman's Terms

Growing up in Texas, I was frequently called to the principal’s office. But last week, something new happened: I was called to an office full of superintendents. 

The reason? Some of these school administrators don’t like the fact that the Texas Association of REALTORS® actively supported Texas House Bill 2804, which takes effect September 1.

This bill creates an A to F rating system for public schools. Texas REALTORS® supported this bill because one of the first questions a prospective homebuyer asks a REALTOR® is: “How are the schools in this area?” 

Unfortunately, the current rating system classifies schools in a very ambiguous and incoherent way, giving citizens little or no clue about the performance of a local school. Judging a school with the same A to F rating a student receives is a commonsense practice everyone understands.

As I told the superintendents at our meeting, improving transparency in the school-rating system gives homebuyers much more confidence when making purchasing decisions. More important, this simple grading system has been shown to improve public education in other states by bringing to light problem areas. This transparency alerts interested parties, especially parents, that aspects of their local school may need some work.

An educated workforce is critical to the long-term economic viability of our state. While an A to F rating system is not the complete answer to improving public education in Texas, increasing transparency and clarity in the rating system is a positive step. Lawmakers should be applauded for their efforts with House Bill 2804.

Mark Lehman is the vice president of governmental affairs for the Texas Association of REALTORS®. 

Categories: Governmental Affairs, In Lehman's Terms
Tags: in lehman's terms, education, governmental affairs


Comments

Lisa Bagby on 08/25/2015

I always go to greatschools.org   Rates 1 to 10.  Very efficient and understandable for buyers.

Tom Morgan on 08/24/2015

Thank you Mark Lehman and the Texas Association of REALTORS for your leadership on this critical topic.  Transparency in government is critical to a well-informed democracy.

Tom Morgan, Austin, Texas

Mark Lehman on 08/20/2015

@bob and @Cliff

Thank you for your inquiries about further information about public school rankings.  The Texas Education Agency is required to post this information on their website. Please see the link below to connect directly to their accountability rating main page.

http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2015/index.html

Unfortunately, the information on the page at this time is still the old rating system which is very confusing and reflects the need for House Bill 2804.  The new and much more transparent A – F system goes into effect at the beginning of this school year so the data they collect will not be available under the new standard at this time.

Julie Sullins on 08/20/2015

Passing a Bill does not mean an effective and transparent rating system. It all depends on how well the rating system is developed. For example some schools might receive a B rating because of attendance requirements. Students may miss days based on families taking educational trips but instead this is just considered poor attendance and lowers the rating. In a school that has very high academic performance the B rating would be misleading to most consumers and Realtors.  When you are creating a rating system for districts and schools that vary so dramatically across a large state getting it right is very difficult. True understanding of a schools performance is an area individual Realtors should research by understanding each schools leadership and curriculum by getting involved in the districts rather than relying on a generalized grading system.

Cliff J Spence on 08/20/2015

Please post information that Realtors will use to furnish the Client on the Schools,

Bob Vinson on 08/20/2015

So where should you go to find school ratings? Which rating systems are the best?


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