Texas-style Community-Based Accountability?

Policymakers from Texas to California are either taking notice of Community-Based Accountability, and/or they are thinking on the same wavelength. The first positive sign that I posted on around New Years was that the High Performance Coalition of 20 districts in Texas empowered by SB 1557 were seeking to adopt a Community-Based Accountability and Assessment plan. Then, last week, Jerry Brown introduced Local Accountability as discussed here and on Edweek. Now the proposed Texas House Bill 5, the new omnibus education bill, appears to have Texas-style Community-Based Accountability provisions. The bill states:

Sec. 39.0545.  SCHOOL DISTRICT EVALUATION OF CAMPUS PERFORMANCE IN COMMUNITY AND STUDENT ENGAGEMENT.  (a)  Each school district shall evaluate the performance of each campus in the district in community and student engagement as provided by this section and assign each campus a performance rating of A, B, C, D, or F.  Not later than August 8 of each year, the district shall make the performance rating publicly available as provided by commissioner rule.

(b)  For purposes of assigning the performance rating under Subsection (a), a school district must evaluate the following programs or specific categories of performance at each campus:

(1)  fine arts;

(2)  wellness and physical education;

(3)  community and parental involvement;

(4)  the 21st Century Workforce Development program; and

(5)  the second language acquisition program.

(c)  A school district shall use criteria developed by the commissioner as described by Subsection (d)(1) in conjunction with criteria developed by a local committee established as provided by Subsection (d)(2) to evaluate the performance of a campus under this section.

(d)  The commissioner shall:

(1)  in accordance with commissioner rule, establish a separate committee that includes members as described by Sections 39.204(c) and (d) to develop criteria for each program or category of performance under Subsection (b) in the manner provided for developing criteria for a distinction designation under Section 39.204(e); and

(2)  by commissioner rule, prescribe requirements for school districts to use to establish a local committee to develop district criteria.

KUT reports all 11 members of the House Committee on Public Education have endorsed the bill. See the full text of Texas House Bill 5 here.

While not as comprehensive a community-based framework as we have proposed here, this is a step in the right direction considering the limitations of NCLB’s requirements.


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  • What happens if, in a diverse community with white & affluent power brokers who write standards that say nothing about equity? What happens when a poor rural community writes standards that focus more on low-skill job preparation than in the neighboring suburban community? How does one esnure that the zio code in which a child lives does not determine the level of expectations and acocuntability that s/he lives under?


  • At first glance this does seem encouraging. Just don’t let it be perverted into another “parent trigger” bill used to shutter public schools in favor of privatization. I’d also like to see more power given to the teacher’s voice. They are important stake holders in the process as well, their perspective is valid and deserves consideration.


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