Texas Schools Hit by Hurricane Harvey Plead for Exemption from School Accountability Ratings


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One of the lingering effects of Hurricane Harvey, which drenched a great deal of the Texas Gulf Coast centered on the Houston-Galveston area, has been how it has impacted the school districts in the affected area.

Several school superintendents attended a recent meeting of the House Public Education Committee to plead with the state to waive school accountability ratings, according to the Texas Tribune.

The ratings, which are tied to how students do during state tests in each spring, will determine how schools may be required to take corrective action if they fail to meet standards.

The
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argument by the superintendents is that both students and teachers in the Harvey impact zone have been distracted by the ravages of the storm. Many have become temporarily homeless, and some teachers and staff are having to deal with insurance companies and FEMA to get themselves made whole. Some school buildings were flooded by Harvey, making it necessary to lump students into schools that were not so affected or to cancel classes altogether until the school buildings could be repaired. The result is that student grades and test scores may be adversely affected.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath countered that waiving the ratings would lead to a lack of accountability for teachers and students. Morath promised that the Texas Education Commission would take into account the ravages of Harvey when assigning the final scores. In a sign that the Texas Legislature may intervene, the House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty, R-Houston asked Morath to formally ask the federal government for its reaction to a delay in the spring tests. However, most of the superintendents oppose this approach, supporting instead that their school districts be held blameless if they draw bad ratings as a result of Harvey.

AUTHOR: Jake Posey

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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