Frisco Independent School District joined multiple Texas school districts in filing a lawsuit against the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for failing to adequately notify school districts of the changes made to accountability ratings.
District campuses are rated annually with an A through F letter grade by the Texas TEA. The rating system relies on performance measures, methods and procedures based on students' performance on the annual standardized assessment (STAAR). In 2022, Frisco ISD was the largest school district in North Texas to receive an ‘A’ accountability rating from TEA.
Although improvements were made in STAAR scores and a rise in the proportion of students meeting college, career and military readiness benchmarks, the adjustment to the accountability system is anticipated to reduce the rating for Frisco ISD and numerous other districts across Texas. Because of these changes, the district expects a decrease of one or more letter grades in the ratings for several of its campuses.
The lawsuit alleges that the commissioner has neglected to furnish school districts with “a document in a simple, accessible format that explains the accountability performance measures, methods and procedures that will be applied” for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school terms.
“Accountability is an important orienting aspect for a school district; however, the arbitrary application of new measures without the required advanced notice will potentially give the appearance that schools across the state, including Frisco ISD, are declining,” said Frisco ISD Superintendent Dr. Mike Waldrip. “Moving the goalposts arbitrarily is unfair to our students and teachers.”
According to Frisco ISD, the lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent the commissioner from issuing new ratings using the retroactively applied, yet-to-be-finalized measures.
The release of new accountability ratings for Texas schools was originally planned for Sept. 28, 2023. These ratings would have been determined by adjusted criteria, which included a higher threshold for college, career and military readiness scores — increased from 60% to 88% to achieve an A rating.
In response, on Sept. 12, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) declared that the scores would be temporarily postponed for approximately one month. This delay is intended to facilitate a "further re-examination of the baseline data" utilized in the calculations.