Wednesday, September 17, 2014




Crossroads districts meeting the mark

By Victoria Advocate
Aug. 9, 2014 at noon


State accountability ratings released Friday show most of the Crossroads' school districts are meeting the mark for academic performance. While we question the wisdom of our state putting so much emphasis on standardized testing, that is the hand Texas schools are dealt from our Legislature. Kudos to our area schools for playing that hand well.

The Victoria Advocate Editorial Board has been a long-standing supporter of the Victoria school district as well as all our Crossroads educational institutions, and we recognize the hard work students, teachers and administrators have put in throughout the past school year.

From the accountability ratings, parents can see the performance across all subjects, measure annual student progress, track achievement of economically disadvantaged students and see the emphasis placed on earning a diploma.

The education agency's latest ratings are intended to help parents understand how their children's schools stack up against others across town and across the state. Victoria stacks up well.

More than 1,200 school districts and charters and more than 8,500 campuses were included in the assessment, and ratings reveal 90 percent of them met state standards.

Of those schools, 4,400 campuses earned a distinction designation including Dudley Elementary, Martin DeLeon Elementary, Rodolfo Torres Elementary, Vickers Elementary, Victoria West High School and William Wood Elementary. That's a tremendous accomplishment to be celebrated. The VISD Board, Superintendent Jaklich, VISD administrators and teachers and their students should all be proud of their achievements.

All schools across the state need to be held accountable for teaching the next generation of Texans how to succeed, but we believe our state should avoid focusing solely on the test.

Learning comes from good teaching, and when too much emphasis is placed on standardized scores and assessments, our community suffers.

The tests don't tell about marching bands, debate teams, school spirit or student creativity, but the four indicators - student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness - provide one snapshot of the job educators and the community are doing.

The state's accountability system is rife with complex formulas and is so onerous to explain that the Texas Education Agency had to put an animated instructional video on its website.

Because some factors changed from the year before, the ratings released Friday can't really be compared with the first year of the ratings. Next year is already guaranteed to be different. It is a testament to our area educators to navigate this complex system and still provide for the basic educational needs of our children.

State and national school accountability systems remain flawed, but parents and education supporters should still analyze them in search of ways to improve. Most importantly, though, we all should strongly support our public schools. They're only as good as we make them.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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