TEA releases letter grades for schools, Socorro and Bowie High Schools receive low scores

EL PASO, Texas - The Texas Education Agency released a preview of the letter grades schools and districts throughout the state would receive based on a new grading system.

Five areas of performance, called domains, were designated by the TEA to measure academic success of schools and districts.  The four domains included in the preview are: student achievement, student progress, closing gaps, post-secondary readiness.

A fifth domain, self-assessed grade, will be implemented in 2018.

Bowie High School in the El Paso Independent School District received an "F" across the board, according to the report.

Mission Early High School in the Socorro Independent School district scored As across the board. However, four other SISD schools scored Fs for post secondary readiness.  The lowest ranking school was Socorro High School, which scored a mix of Ds and Fs.

"For a school to be labeled by one grade, one letter grade on a test that they take -- that's just not fair," said SISD superintendent Jose Espinoza.

Espinoza told ABC-7 he and faculty plan to ask the school board to oppose the new grading system at an upcoming meeting.

"We're very proud of our student performance, it took a lot of hard work," said Espinoza.

In an area where 70 percent of students are economically disadvantaged, he said the explanation for all the Fs is simple. "Our CTE classes, our career technical education classes," said Espinoza.

He said he's disappointed he's getting dinged for offering students the option to take different classes, and shouldn't punished when they decide to explore other classes.

"A child is interested in welding, take that class!  After that, you want to take something in auto mechanic? Take that class," the superintendent said.

Even though he may not agree with the system, Espinoza said he still wants students and faculty to strive to suceed. "We all want to shoot for As," said Espinoza.

The change in the accountability system was approved by Texas' Republican-controlled Legislature in 2015, with supporters saying it would make it easier for parents to understand how their local schools and districts truly measured up. Education groups say the incomplete results already show the new A to F scale stigmatizes classrooms in poor and heavily minority areas.

Nearly 65 percent of Texas' 5.2 million public school children are black or Hispanic, and about 60 percent of students statewide come from impoverished households. Breakdowns by schools and districts with large numbers of black and Hispanic students were provided in the report, but were incomplete.

The Associated Press Contributed to this Article

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