Unacceptable’ schools grow fivefold in Texas

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The Houston Chronicle reports on how the new stricter TAKS standard increased the number of “unacceptable” schools and lowered the number of high performing schools.

The number of academically unacceptable public schools in Texas increased more than fivefold this year after the state raised standards, leaving parents with a confusing picture of districts’ progress.

The ratings plunge is largely due to the state no longer using a statistical measure that gave credit for failing test scores if the students were on track to pass in coming years.

Statewide, the unacceptable list grew from 104 schools to 569.

All the test scores of special-education students were counted for the first time.

Friendswood ISD was the only traditional school district in the greater Houston area to earn the state’s highest rating of “exemplary.” The charter schools YES Prep, Harmony School of Science, Harmony School of Excellence and Houston Heights Learning Academy also earned the top status.

KIPP, one of Houston’s most popular charter school networks, had its first “unacceptable” campus. Mike Feinberg, KIPP’s co-founder, said he was not surprised that KIPP’s Sunnyside High School rated low because it opened in 2010 with 120 ninth-graders. He said it takes time to catch up the students.

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