10 24 2014

Van ISD Joins Suit Against ‘Ridiculous’ Ratings System

By Terry Britt
Staff Writer
Van ISD has apparently had enough of “No Child Left Behind.”
On Monday, the district announced it has joined a lawsuit with more than 80 other Texas school districts trying to overturn the federal Annual Yearly Progress Ratings (AYP) system issued under the “No Child Left Behind” Act.
“We joined the suit because the AYP ratings are an unlawful, costly and destructive federal intrusion into our schools’ operations,” Van ISD Superintendent Don Dunn said in a press release issued Monday.
But at the Van ISD School Board meeting that evening, Dunn and some of the trustees held nothing back in blasting the source that led to the legal action.
“What we have right now is a set of federal standards and a set of state standards that are not aligned,” Dunn said.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s politics and it’s ridiculous,” he added.
Vice president of the board Mark McClanahan chimed in that the accountability system was “totally asinine.”
School board president Charles McCaffree then took his verbal shots at the matter, criticizing the emphasis on state standardized testing.
“We’ve got kids applying to colleges, and the colleges do not care how that kid performs on STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) testing,” McCaffree said.
“The only thing colleges care about is the SAT or ACT scores. This whole thing (state testing and accountability) is a sham and is set up for a school’s failure, not success, because schools are being ranked on their lowest scores, not their highest scores,” he added.
McCaffree then praised the work of Van ISD teachers and students in spite of the situation and later added the unrealistic measures being placed on Texas schools, “makes you wonder what they’re smoking in Austin.”
The lawsuit was organized by the Texas Association of Community Schools, representing more than 600 local school districts.
The suit was filed on Nov. 1 before the State Office of Administrative Hearings. If successful, the suit would require the Texas Education Agency to withdraw AYP regulations and every school district in the state would start again with a clean slate.

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