Why grading schools is good for Texas
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®.
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