An ongoing lawsuit filed against the Texas Education Agency by a number of local school systems has kept their latest student achievement scores under wraps, leaving The Dallas Express unable to determine 2024’s Bad Apple of Q1 at Dallas ISD.
Dallas ISD joined dozens of other school districts in spending taxpayer money to block the release of accountability reports for the 2022-2023 school year, claiming that the updated grading methodology would unfairly move the goalpost and give parents the impression that their children’s schools were getting worse, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
Travis County District Judge Catherine Mauzy ruled that the new accountability metrics, which were intended to encourage school systems to keep working toward improvement, were unlawful. She consequently blocked the release of the scores, preventing parents from seeing how individual districts and campuses performed last school year. A trial date for the lawsuit has been scheduled for February 12.
Dallas ISD underperformed across several metrics during the 2021-2022 school year, according to the district’s latest Texas Education Agency accountability report. Only 41% of students scored at grade level on their STAAR exams despite the hard work of the district’s dedicated teachers, and almost 20% of Dallas ISD’s graduating Class of 2022 did not earn a diploma in four years.
The Dallas Express considers any student attending a school with a student achievement score of 69 or below to be abandoned by the school district, the trustee within whose district the student’s school is located, and the entire board of trustees. Some 84 campuses in the district received scores of 69 or below, with a total of 53,363 students attending in the 2021-2022 school year.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Dallas ISD’s budget has continued to grow even as enrollment has stagnated and begun to dip in recent years. Despite the billions of dollars in taxpayer money the district spends, it has seemingly shown itself incapable of providing many of its students with a quality education.
Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde, who recently got a raise voted on by Dallas ISD’s board of trustees, has been an outspoken opponent of TEA’s updated grading methodology.
“None of us are saying high standards are not something we should continue to work towards. We are saying we should do that in a way that allows us to meet that target and be successful. Giving someone a test when you know they’re not prepared for it serves what purpose?” Elizalde said last September, according to NBC 5 DFW.
In an earlier interview with The Dallas Morning News, Elizalde acknowledged that Dallas ISD’s scores for the 2021-2022 school year would have been lower in a number of metrics if graded using the updated methodology.
Polling conducted by The Dallas Express found that nearly 50% of respondents felt that Dallas ISD was being mismanaged, citing this as the main reason for its lackluster academic performance.
“Maintaining high expectations helps guide our efforts to improve student learning and support,” said TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, per a news release explaining the methodology changes. “The A-F system is designed to properly reflect how well our schools are meeting those high expectations, and the adjustments we are making this year will ensure it continues to serve as a tool for parents and educators to help our students.”