Dallas, Texas – In a recent move punctuated by mounting discontent, the Dallas Independent School District has entered into a legal alliance with an expanding cadre of over 20 other Texas educational districts—spanning geographic locales from Kingsville to Crowley, and Frisco to Fort Stockton—in instituting litigation against Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.
TSA’s new A-F academic rating system comes too soon for implementation for Dallas ISD
The lawsuit principally revolves around the recalibrations to the state’s A-F academic rating system, modifications that the districts contend were implemented without adequate notice and carry the potential to yield detrimental and inequitable outcomes.
The overhauled evaluation mechanism mandates heightened performance benchmarks for both individual schools and entire districts in order to sustain their pre-existing academic standings. Aggrieved parties allege that these modifications were unveiled at an inopportune juncture, thereby engendering widespread apprehension that such abrupt changes may precipitate a severe downturn in the districts’ educational ratings.
Commenting on the Dallas Independent School District’s decision to be enjoined in the lawsuit, Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde conveyed a nuanced stance. She posited that while all stakeholders within the Dallas ISD sphere should indeed be held accountable for end-of-year outcomes, clarity surrounding the regulatory frameworks—specifically, the stipulations and exceptions—is an imperative for districts to strategize effectively and optimize results.
Dallas ISD officials seek TSA to give more time for adaptation to the new grading system
Elizalde further lamented the timing of the A-F system’s May revision, asserting that such belated adjustments, implemented subsequent to the administration of critical academic assessments, fail to encapsulate and give due recognition to the district’s recent strides in performance, which she avers currently surpass state averages across numerous metrics.
“Put simply, our test scores have gone up, but under the new system, our ratings are projected to decrease. This does not make sense,” Elizalde said in a statement as reported by KERA.
At last Thursday’s special board meeting, Dallas ISD trustee Dan Micciche, a lawyer, also said it’s not fair.
“It’s bad policy to do things retroactively without fair notice of what the rules of the game are,” he said. “The A through F refresh, if applied to the 2022-23 year, would be changing the rules of the game after the game has been played.”
In an amplification of the burgeoning legal entanglement, Dallas stands as the most populous school district to have formally appended its name to the lawsuit thus far. Significantly, Fort Worth Independent School District could be poised to augment this escalating list of litigants as early as Tuesday.
When reached for a comment regarding the unfolding legal proceedings, the Texas Education Agency exercised reticence, explicitly declining to offer any remarks on matters that are currently sub judice.
TSA decided to postpone ratings’ public delivery until next month
In a somewhat related development, last week the TEA made a discrete but notable departure from its original schedule, announcing that it would forgo the dissemination of educational ratings on the initially slated date of September 28. The public release of these much-anticipated assessments has instead been deferred, with a new target timeframe set for sometime in October.