Letter to the editor: Splendora joins 62 other districts to challenge standardized test evaluations

Dear editor,
School districts, communities, and parents all want true accountability for their children’s
education, but the current accountability system fails to provide these stakeholders with accurate and actionable information. True accountability can’t come from a state or national system; it must be a respectful partnership between state and local interests. It must come from the community’s hopes and dreams for its children.

In response to ongoing frustration with the current accountability system, Splendora ISD has joined with 62 other public school districts in Texas to develop a grass-roots Community-Based Accountability System (CBAS) where every child is valued and respected and schools can be evaluated beyond state standardized tests. These districts have partnered with the Texas Association of School Administrators to form the Texas Public Accountability Consortium (TPAC.)

Along with the other Texas districts, we are designing the CBAS model to reflect the diversity, talents, skills, and priorities of communities of all sizes and demographics. Ultimately, the CBAS will allow school districts to identify the unique needs of their community, and evaluate how decisions and changes result in continuous improvement for all students. It will give a full account of what schools do to educate all children, and avoid the inaccuracies that come from assigning a single grade to a system. It will celebrate the hard-earned successes of students, teachers, administrators, and community members.

The educators involved in this consortium believe a student’s academic success is only one part of how a school and district should be evaluated. Through the CBAS process, communities will have the ability to create an accountability system that will take into account areas of the school district that are not “tested” in a traditional sense. There will be a process to ensure true accountability with reliability and validity, and metrics and indicators to show improvement and growth. We are excited to be part of this critical work in Texas public education, and we are eager to share our work in the near future.

Jeff Burke, Ed.D.
Splendora ISD Superintendent

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