Red Oak ISD Board joins TEA Lawsuit Challenging the TEA A-F Refresh Changes

(L-R) Sean Kelly, Michelle Porter (Secretary), John Anderson (President), Melanie Petersen (Vice President), Johnny Knight, Donna Knight, Brian Sebring

(RED OAK, TX) – The Red Oak ISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of joining the litigation challenging the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) failure to provide Texas school districts advanced notice of measures, methods, and procedures to be used in the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years prior to the start of each of these school years in violation of State law.

“Red Oak ISD took a stand today to fight for what is right and defend the public education system in Red Oak, TX, and for districts across the state,” stated Superintendent Brenda Sanford. “Our Board is uniting with Frisco ISD, Dallas ISD, Kingsville ISD, Waco ISD, Crowley ISD, and dozens more to prevent TEA and political individuals in the State of Texas from using the 5.9 million students and 500,000 teachers, plus staff, as part of the politics of this State.”

TEA has introduced multiple changes to the state accountability system; many of which are retroactive to students’ testing results last year, and even the year before. These retroactive updates will lower the rating of thousands of schools and districts by one to two letter grades in the A-F system; an indication that schools are failing, when progress continues to be made post-COVID pandemic.

In the 2023 TEA A-F Refresh Overview and Summary document, TEA states: The 2022 and 2023 ratings cannot be compared side-by-side. It is possible that a campus with an ‘A’ in 2022 may improve in 2023 and yet receive a ‘B’.

One such change is the College, Career, and Military Readiness indicator. Cut scores were set for CCMR for the first time in 2017. Stakeholder feedback recommended 90 for an ‘A’, but very few campuses performed at that level in 2017 (average performance was 47 percent – PRE-COVID), so the cut point was set at 60 percent based on a complicated formula. CCMR’s average performance now, five years later, is 65 percent. The new refresh cut point for an ‘A’ has been adjusted to 88 percent – an increase of 28 points (a 47% increase) and is based on data from one and two years ago by students who have already graduated.

“How can a school reallocate resources toward an unknown goal for students who have already graduated?” questioned Superintendent Sanford. “Red Oak ISD is not where we need to be and we have made adjustments recently to leadership and processes to support our course of action. We have shared our expectations with campus leadership and those who are to support the schools. We are giving our educators the resources and support systems to be successful in the classroom.”

“But hear this too, our students are learning and are amazing young people,” Mrs. Sanford emphasized. “Our high school students excelled in all five End-of-Course exams with ‘approaches’ percentage increases from 4-11%. Our students earned more industry-based certifications last year than ever before, and we had 23 students earn AP Scholar awards for high performance on multiple AP exams. Our fine arts, athletics, FAA, Naval JROTC, academic UIL, robotics, and various other organizations are developing student leaders who serve in the community and support one another.”

“This lawsuit is not about not having standards; we welcome accountability. However, no one should be expected to play the game without knowing the rules and even the measures by which one will be announced as a success or a failure,” Mrs. Sanford added.

“The Legislature is ramping up for special session #3. The biggest agenda item should not be private vouchers or education credits or other political agendas; instead, it should be about properly funding public education and supporting the 5.9 million students in Texas public schools.”

Recent Event Timeline:

  •  August 23, 2023 – Lawsuit filed by seven Districts; The lawsuit names Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath as the defendant. The petition, filed collectively by seven school districts, says that the TEA’s decision to modify performance ratings after the fact is both not fair and in violation of state law.
  • September 12, 2023 – TEA announces delay of ratings to past October at the earliest. Initially typical mid-August, was pushed to Sept. 28, now delayed with no announcement date.
  • September 14, 2023 – Dallas ISD joins lawsuit; Red Oak ISD, Fort Worth ISD to vote this week.