School Ratings Debate After Hurricane Harvey
Close to 20 percent of the state’s student population was impacted by Hurricane Harvey – that’s more than one million students affected by the storm. School is back in session for those students, but now the state’s superintendents are fighting to waive a new law impacting school ratings.
At a House Public Education Committee hearing last month, superintendents asked the state to waive the accountability ratings that are tied to students’ scores on state standardized tests this spring.
The updated system for rating schools and districts was approved by the Texas Legislature earlier this year. Right now, school districts get a label of “met requirement” or “did not meet requirement.” The first A-F grades for districts are set to be announced in August.
The superintendents argue the ratings will not be an accurate representation of how schools are doing based on Harvey and the ongoing recovery.
We talked with Dr. Daniel Bowen, assistant professor in Educational Administration and Human Resource Development. He says, while collecting the data necessary for determining ratings could be valuable, the problem arises in assigning grades, sanctions or repercussions to those schools serving affected students.
“It’s unjust because of the fact that I don’t think you can rightfully compare schools in other parts of the state that weren’t affected in the same way.”
He points to research that has shown where student performance suffers when missing school due to inclement weather; which means decreases in accountability ratings that are entirely out of the control of affected campuses.
“I think it’s worthwhile for students to take the tests because we still need to track progress. While the increasing emphasis on standardized testing has come under a great deal of criticism, it is important to distinguish the collection and analysis of valuable educational data from accountability-based sanctions,” added Dr. Bowen. “Education researchers and policymakers can use test data to more-effectively serve affected students. But, immediately tying sanctions and evaluations to schools that were severely impacted – I don’t know if that’s necessarily the right approach.”
Mike Morath, Texas Education Commissioner, said the Texas Education Agency will likely take into account data on how many students and staff members have been displaced and how that disrupted classrooms. He expects to announce more details in the coming days.
Like most fields, adult education has been put to the test with the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.
The goal is to connect Texas families and school district partners with Aggie tutors who are committed to improving learning outcomes for P-12 students.
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Dr. Hildi Nicksic, health education expert, said childhood obesity is an ongoing problem that has not been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but exacerbated by circumstances surrounding it.
COVID-19 is changing the face of education. Educators and students across the country are working to accommodate to socially distanced and virtual school while also supporting their student’s fears and concerns.
After 23 years in the Department of Educational Psychology, Dr. Cynthia Riccio is retiring.
Martha Muckleroy, director of Camp Adventure and instructional professor in the Physical Education Activity Program, retired after 26 years at Texas A&M on Aug. 31. She hopes to leave behind a legacy of cultivated relationships and instilling a love for lifetime fitness among her students and campers.
Dr. Karen Rambo-Hernandez, like many educators, is concerned with the disproportionate low representation of students from underrepresented groups.
The first cohort included 79 educators from school districts across Texas in June and July.
The Black Lives Matter movement continues to shed a light on the racial inequities that exist for Black Americans in every industry, organization and institution. Health education researcher Dr. Ledric Sherman said the health care industry is no different, and has work to do in the area of eliminating health disparities for Black men.
We spoke with Dr. Quinita Ogletree, a lecturer in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, about how these changes could impact children and families. As an education expert and mother, Ogletree understands both sides of the debate.