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Joint Letter to State Officials

March 6, 2023

Governor Greg Abbott
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Commissioner Mike Morath
Texas Education Agency
1701 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas, 78701

The Honorable Brandon Creighton
Chairman, Senate Education Committee
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711

The Honorable Brad Buckley
Chairman, House Public Education Committee
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, Texas 78768

Dear Governor Abbott, Commissioner Morath, Chairman Creighton, and Chairman Buckley,

Over the past several months, the Texas Education Agency has been working on an “A-F Accountability Refresh” to roll out with the 2023 Accountability Ratings. The TEA states that the purpose of the refresh is to “refocus on goals that directly address post-pandemic student needs” and to “allow Texas to leverage lessons learned over the last five years to improve the rigor, transparency, and fairness of the accountability system.”

These are certainly admirable goals. However, we write today with significant concerns regarding the proposed update to the College, Career, and Military Readiness (“CCMR”) cut scores as part of the refresh and the fact that the TEA has chosen to implement this refresh at the same time as another major change, the redesigned STAAR exam. The undersigned districts have enrollment ranging from less than 100 to over 100,000 students, and collectively we educate more than 2.7 million Texas students. We request that the TEA pause its planned refresh so that the legislature can re-evaluate the accountability system holistically.

The TEA proposes to raise the cut score necessary for a high school to receive an “A” in the CCMR domain from a 60 to an 88, a nearly 47% increase in one year and apply this increased cut score to students who graduated in 2022. Districts no longer have any influence over the performance of those students, and it is unreasonable to apply new standards retroactively, particularly because these students will not benefit from the “improve[d] rigor, transparency, and fairness [of] the accountability system.”

According to materials published by the TEA, the newly proposed cut score was set for two primary reasons: 1) too many schools are performing above the 60 point threshold; and 2) 68% of students who are deemed college, career, or military ready, sustain postsecondary success one year after graduation.

The TEA states that one of the goals of the A-F Accountability System as a whole is to ensure that no forced distribution exists and that all schools have the opportunity to achieve an A rating. As a result, it is perplexing that the TEA would use the justification that too many schools are receiving an A for CCMR to raise the cut score.

Additionally, the fact that only 68% of students who are deemed college, career, or military ready are sustaining postsecondary success one year after graduation suggests that either the components used by the TEA to measure such readiness are inadequate, or that issues in higher education may be hindering otherwise prepared students from succeeding. Both of these likely play a role in this issue. For example, the TEA emphasizes a certain list of “industry-based certifications,” however, many of those certifications are not truly of value in the workforce. But because the TEA emphasizes those certifications, many schools feel compelled to spend resources promoting them instead of focusing on other potential opportunities for students to become prepared for postsecondary success.

These significant changes to the cut score for CCMR will have drastic impacts to school ratings across Texas. The A-F system was designed to make it easier for the public to understand how schools are truly performing. But increasing the cut score for an A for CCMR by almost 47% in a single year will create the misconception that high performing schools are drastically declining, even if their CCMR performance actually improved. In the midst of a teacher shortage, the last thing school districts need is another false narrative that drives a wedge between schools and the families they serve. No public relations campaign from the TEA will be adequate to combat the misperception that our schools are suddenly worse than they were last year.

House Bill 977 would create an Assessment and Accountability Commission to fully review the current system and make recommendations regarding improvements to how we measure success and communicate school performance to parents. The legislature has used the commission model with great success to address other complex issues over the past few sessions and should apply this same model to the A-F Accountability System.

Moving forward with the planned refresh is irresponsible as it will cause significant confusion among the community, put increased pressure on teachers and other staff who are already at their breaking point, and wrest the policy decisions of how we should hold our schools accountable away from the elected representatives of the people leaving them in the hands of unelected bureaucrats. We urge the TEA to pause its accountability refresh and allow the legislature to examine the system and make the policy determinations of what Texans expect from their schools, as they were elected to do.


A+ Unlimited Potential Charter School
Abernathy ISD
Alamo Heights ISD
Albany ISD
Aldine ISD
Aledo ISD
Alief ISD
Allen ISD
Alvin ISD
Alvord ISD
Anahuac ISD
Angleton ISD
Aransas County ISD
Argyle ISD
Atlanta ISD
Austin ISD
Azle ISD
Bandera ISD
Bells ISD
Benjamin ISD
Beta Academy
Birdville ISD
Bland ISD
Blue Ridge ISD
Bonham ISD
Bosqueville ISD
Boyd ISD
Brazosport ISD
Bridgeport ISD
Brock ISD
Brownfield ISD
Brownsboro ISD
Buena Vista ISD
Buffalo ISD
Burkburnett ISD
Burkeville ISD
Burleson ISD
Caddo Mills ISD
Callisburg ISD
Campbell ISD
Canadian ISD
Canyon ISD
Branch ISD
Cedar Hill ISD
Celeste ISD
Channing ISD
Chapel Hill ISD
Chico ISD
Chilton ISD
Claude ISD
Clear Creek ISD
Comal ISD
Coppell ISD
Corpus Christi ISD
Corsicana ISD
Crawford ISD
Cross Roads ISD
Crowell ISD
Cushing ISD
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD
Dallas ISD
Damon ISD
Danbury ISD
Dayton ISD
Decatur ISD
Del Valle ISD
Denison ISD
Denton ISD
Detroit ISD
Dickinson ISD
Dodd City ISD
Dr. M.L. Garza-Gonzalez Charter School
Duncanville ISD
Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD
East Chambers ISD
Edgewood ISD
El Paso ISD
Farmersville ISD
Fayetteville ISD
Flour Bluff ISD
Follett ISD
Forestburg ISD
Forney ISD
Forsan ISD
Fort Bend ISD
Fort Davis ISD
Fort Stockton ISD
Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts
Fort Worth ISD
Freer ISD
Frisco ISD
Frost ISD
Fruitvale ISD
Gainesville ISD
Galena Park ISD
Garland ISD
Gatesville ISD
Graford ISD
Grand Prairie ISD
Grandview ISD
Grapevine-Colleyville ISD
Gregory-Portland ISD
Groesbeck ISD
Hardin ISD
Harlandale ISD
Hawley ISD
Honey Grove ISD
Houston ISD
Huffman ISD
Hull-Daisetta ISD
Humble ISD
Hutto ISD
Ingleside ISD
Ingram ISD
Iowa Park CISD
Irving ISD
Italy ISD
Jacksboro ISD
Jasper ISD
Jim Ned CISD
Katherine Anne Porter School
Katy ISD
Kaufman ISD
Keller ISD
Kelton ISD
Kennedale ISD
Kerens ISD
Ki Charter Academy
Kingsville ISD
Klein ISD
Knox City-O'Brien CISD
Krum ISD
La Vega ISD
Lago Vista ISD
Lancaster ISD
Leander ISD
Lewisville ISD
Liberty Hill ISD
Liberty ISD
Liberty-Eylau ISD
Lipan ISD
Little Elm ISD
London ISD
Lubbock ISD
Lubbock-Cooper ISD
Lufkin ISD
Mabank ISD
Mansfield ISD
McKinney ISD
Melissa ISD
Mesquite ISD
Miami ISD
Miles ISD
Montgomery ISD
Muleshoe ISD
New Braunfels ISD
New Diana ISD
New Waverly ISD
Newton ISD
Northside ISD
Northwest ISD
Oakwood ISD
Odem-Edroy ISD
Orange Grove ISD
Palmer ISD
Pampa ISD
Panhandle ISD
Paradise ISD
Paris ISD
Patton Springs ISD
Pearland ISD
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD
Pettus ISD
Pewitt CISD
Pittsburg ISD
Plains ISD
Plano ISD
Poolville ISD
Port Aransas ISD
Pottsboro ISD
Prairie Valley ISD
Prairiland ISD
Prosper ISD
Queen City ISD
Red Lick ISD
Red Oak ISD
Rice ISD
Richardson ISD
Rio Hondo ISD
Riviera ISD
Rockwall ISD
Rogers ISD
Round Rock ISD
Royse City ISD
Sands CISD
Savoy ISD
Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD
Sealy ISD
Seguin ISD
Seminole ISD
Shallowater ISD
Slaton ISD
Slidell ISD
South San Antonio ISD
Spearman ISD
Splendora ISD
Spring Branch ISD
Spring ISD
Springtown ISD
Sudan ISD
Sundown ISD
Sunnyvale ISD
Taylor ISD
Tenaha ISD
Terrell ISD
Texas School of the Arts
Tornillo ISD
Treetops School International
Trinity ISD
Utopia ISD
Van Alstyne ISD
Vega ISD
Victoria ISD
Waller ISD
Warren ISD
Water Valley ISD
Waxahachie ISD
Weatherford ISD
West ISD
West Orange-Cove CISD
Westlake Academy Charter School
Wheeler ISD
White Deer ISD
Whitewright ISD
Whitney ISD
Willis ISD
Wylie ISD
Zapata County ISD

North Texas Commission
Texas ASCD
Career and Technical Association of Texas
Raise Your Hand Texas