ECISD Trustees vote to join lawsuit against the Texas Education Agency
The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees held a special meeting on September 5th. A recap of the agenda is below.
- Roll Call.
- Verification of compliance with open meetings requirements.
- In his opening comments, Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri told Trustees the district hosted a press conference earlier in the day to announce the approval of a Registered Apprenticeship Program for Teachers that will partner with Odessa College and the University of Texas Permian Basin to provide free or low-cost way for individuals to earn a teaching degree. It comes with an apprenticeship with a highly-qualified ECISD teacher. Read more about this innovative initiative.
- There was no public comment.
- Trustees moved to closed session.
- Trustees voted 6-1 to approve a resolution authorizing ECISD to join litigation against the Texas Education Agency (TEA), challenging a lack of transparency in the calculation of school district accountability ratings.
The A–F Accountability System is a statewide rating system established by TEA that evaluates the academic performance of Texas public schools and assigns letter grades A–F to districts and schools. Despite the fact state assessments were taken last spring and a new school year is underway, TEA is still in the process of substantially changing the accountability ratings system.
“We believe in high standards, and we want high standards. We believe in accountability,” said Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri. “The challenge here is that the rules were not released in time; the 2022-23 school year started before the rules were released. Even now we don’t know all of the details. We didn’t know the rules of the game while we were playing the game. Now, we are being held accountable to a set of rules that we didn’t know, and that’s the real problem.”
One example, from the proposed new TEA accountability rules which have yet to be finalized, is the threshold for a school or a district to earn an “A” for College Career & Military Readiness (CCMR). That standard will be increased from 60% to 88% for the 2022-23 accountability year. The 88% threshold will be applied retroactively to the Class of 2022 graduates, well after they have graduated and left school.
ECISD contends, in violation of state law, TEA did not provide the District information regarding the changes to the A–F Accountability System prior to the start of the 2022–2023 school year and, indeed, still has not provided a full explanation of the rules and methodologies that are being used to determine district and campus ratings. The lawsuit will seek to prohibit TEA from issuing performance ratings – the A-F letter grades – for the 2022-23 school year. Also, because ECISD does not know the expectations set by the State of Texas for school districts it has been unable to adjust to the TEA’s new accountability measures and allocate resources in a manner required to help students meet state standards.
“We’ve gotten better academically,” said Dr. Muri. “Our STAAR scores, our End of Course exam scores, our CCMR score, all of these numbers are better for us but the letter grade is going to be lower and that just doesn’t make any sense. Again, we are happy for new, higher standards but let us know the rules before the game begins.”
- Closing remarks.
- The meeting adjourned at 6:38 p.m.