Austin ISD gets ‘B' under new state grading system, five schools failing

When you were in grade school, it's likely your work was graded on an A through F scale. Now, take that same concept, and apply it to district and individual grades for entire schools.

The Texas Education Agency released district grades based on their new accountability system.

Austin ISD received an 89, a B. “We know we are sharing some good news around our district, but I know we still have work to do,” said Dr. Paul Cruz, AISD superintendent.

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These grades are based on standardized test scores, and how well districts are bridging gaps between students of all backgrounds. Right now, just districts as a whole received letter grades.

Individual schools will get a grade in December.

As of now, five schools in Austin ISD have a score low enough to be counted as an F.

One of them, Rosedale is a school for students with special needs.

“We will be appealing the rating for Rosedale, we fully expect that appeal to be approved. Their entire rating hinges upon the performance of six students. The reason only six students were included in the rating, is because the remaining students were unable to provide an authentic academic response,” said Debra Ready, AISD executive director of accountability and assessment.

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“I think the grading system is a huge mistake,” said Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin.

Zarifis, who taught at Burnet Middle School thinks, the state should rethink this one.

He says a score or grade is only a small part of who a child is.

“Policymakers don’t understand what it is to educate children and how complicated that system is. Some days if a child just showed up in my class because of the challenges he or she faced the night before, that was a victory, that should be celebrated,” said Zarifis.

“We know our schools and students are much more than a score. We believe in student academic success, but we also believe in making sure we provide a strong learning environment,” said Cruz.

Lawmakers came up with the system last legislative session, however it seems to be getting just as much criticism as praise.