Background on the Issues
Funding: Our schools depend on a reliable stream of funding that can be used to determine hiring and planning for each school year. That is especially true this year when schools have extra needs to fund for at-home learning and the safety of students, teachers, and staff.
Funding in Texas is traditionally determined by “average daily attendance” – counting students in classrooms at 10 a.m. each day. Last spring, TEA waived that requirement, not cutting funding beyond the last available attendance data. This fall, TEA will do the same thing for the first 18 weeks (with conditions), then shift to determining to fund by attendance.
In this extraordinary and challenging time, that model risks the stability of funding for our schools, and it requires teachers to spend hours each week focused on complex systems of documenting attendance. That also leaves our district exposed to mid-year cuts that could have serious impacts on student services, teachers, and schools.
We ask for a funding commitment from our state that is based on last year’s attendance numbers. To learn more about this topic, you can visit justfundittexas.org.
Current TEA rules require high-stakes standardized testing beginning in third grade. Those tests are used to assess student progress. They are also used to make decisions about promotion and graduation, and to issue ratings for individual schools.
The federal government mandates testing for assessment but does not require high-stakes testing. Encouraging Texas to use any testing that is administered solely for assessment, not used to determine promotion, graduation, or campus ratings will help remove some burden of testing from our teachers and students this year.
To understand the big picture of funding and accountability in Texas, this video explains it in pretty good detail (it’s an hour, but totally worth it) https://youtu.be/ePf_yuJChvo.
More info coming.