Summary of Public Comments and Agency Responses Related to Proposed New 19 TAC Chapter 102, Educational Programs, Subchapter II, Commissioner's Rules Concerning Texas High Performance Schools Consortium, §102.1201, Texas High Performance Schools Consortium
Comment: Concerning proposed new 19 TAC §102.1201(b)(1), comments were received from the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), co-signed by the presidents of eight other education associations and more than 150 superintendents or interim superintendents of Texas school districts listed at the end of this comment summary; the superintendent of Crowley Independent School District (ISD); the president and chief executive officer of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce; the superintendent of Guthrie ISD; the director of public relations for Lytle ISD; the superintendent of McKinney ISD; the superintendent of Perrin-Whitt Consolidated ISD (CISD); and the deputy superintendent of Richardson ISD.
All commenters requested that the agency eliminate the requirement that a district and its participating campus(es) be rated exemplary in order to apply to participate in the consortium. The commenters recommended eliminating this restriction in order to allow broad participation from school districts across the state, thereby reflecting the diversity of the state's students and learning environments where excellent instruction is provided. In addition, the commenters suggested that an accountability system developed only by exemplary districts might fail to address the challenges faced by more diverse districts, thus rendering the new system incompatible with the rest of the state and jeopardizing the ability of the majority of the state to replicate the new system.
The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce expressed concern that limiting participation to only districts and campuses awarded exemplary ratings may run counter to the statute and its requirement that the consortium reflect a range of district types, sizes, and diverse student populations. Richardson ISD and Crowley ISD noted that this requirement would result in few, if any, large, diverse districts participating in the consortium. Guthrie ISD expressed concern that limiting participation to districts rated exemplary would result in a very narrow band of applicants, thus effectively eliminating a large pool of the state's most innovative schools. Guthrie ISD also commented that it is important not to stifle innovation and entrepreneurial inclinations by defining too tightly the requirements for participation in the consortium.
The TASA and co-signers commented that many Texas school districts excel in successfully educating diverse student populations, including schools that have earned Gold Performance Acknowledgments and Blue Ribbon school nominations, as well as schools that excel through innovative digital learning and other methods for engaging students in meaningful learning experiences.
The presidents of the following education associations were co-signers on the comments submitted by the TASA: Texas Association of Mid-size Schools, Texas School Alliance, Texas Association of Community Schools, Texas Rural Education Association, Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association, Fast Growth School Coalition, Texas Association of School Boards, and Texas Association of Secondary School Principals.
The superintendents or interim superintendents of the following school districts were co-signers on the comments submitted by the TASA: Abilene ISD, Alamo Heights ISD, Albany ISD, Aldine ISD, Alief ISD, Allen ISD, Alvin ISD, Amarillo ISD, Arlington ISD, Banquete ISD, Birdville ISD, Bloomington ISD, Booker ISD, Bosqueville ISD, Brazosport ISD, Bridgeport ISD, Brownsville ISD, Brownwood ISD, Bryan ISD, Bullard ISD, Buna ISD, Burkburnett ISD, Carroll ISD, Carrollton‐Farmers Branch ISD, Carthage ISD, Chisum ISD, Clear Creek ISD, Cleburne ISD, Clint ISD, College Station ISD, Conroe ISD, Coppell ISD, Corpus Christi ISD, Corsicana ISD, Crowley ISD, Cypress‐Fairbanks ISD, Decatur ISD, Deer Park ISD, Denton ISD, Duncanville ISD, Eagle Mt.‐Saginaw ISD, Eanes ISD, Ector County ISD, Edna ISD, El Campo ISD, Eustace ISD, Floresville ISD, Flour Bluff ISD, Fort Worth ISD, Friendswood ISD, Frisco ISD, Garland ISD, Garner ISD, Georgetown ISD, Glen Rose ISD, Goodrich ISD, Goose Creek CISD, Grapevine‐Colleyville ISD, Greenville ISD, Gregory‐Portland ISD, Groesbeck ISD, Groom ISD, Hamilton ISD, Hardin‐Jefferson ISD, Harlandale ISD, Harleton ISD, Harlingen CISD, Hays CISD, Hereford ISD, Highland Park ISD, Hillsboro ISD, Houston ISD, Hudson ISD, Huffman ISD, Humble ISD, Huntsville ISD, Iraan‐Sheffield ISD, Johnson City ISD, Katy ISD, Kaufman ISD, Keller ISD, Kerens ISD, Kerrville ISD, Killeen ISD, Klein ISD, La Feria ISD, La Joya ISD, La Vega ISD, Lake Travis ISD, Lamar CISD, Laredo ISD, Leander ISD, Lewisville ISD, Little Cypress‐Mauriceville CISD, Longview ISD, Lovejoy ISD, Lubbock ISD, Lytle ISD, Magnolia ISD, Manor ISD, Mansfield ISD, McAllen ISD, McGregor ISD, McKinney ISD, Mesquite ISD, Midland ISD, Midlothian ISD, Midway ISD, Mission CISD, Montgomery ISD, Muleshoe ISD, Nacogdoches ISD, Navasota ISD, North East ISD, Northside ISD, Northwest ISD, Nueces Canyon CISD, Orangefield ISD, Palacios ISD, Pampa ISD, Pasadena ISD, Pearland ISD, Pflugerville ISD, Pine Tree ISD, Plano ISD, Pleasanton ISD, Ralls ISD, Richardson ISD, Rockdale ISD, Rockwall ISD, Round Rock ISD, Royse City ISD, San Angelo ISD, San Antonio ISD, San Benito CISD, San Felipe‐Del Rio CISD, San Saba ISD, Schertz‐Cibolo‐Universal City ISD, Socorro ISD, Southwest ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Spring ISD, Stephenville ISD, Sundown ISD, Trinity ISD, Tyler ISD, Vernon ISD, Victoria ISD, Waco ISD, Weslaco ISD, White Settlement ISD, Wichita Falls ISD, Wimberley ISD, Wylie ISD, and Zavalla ISD.
Agency Response: The agency agrees that limiting participation to districts and campuses rated exemplary may compromise the agency's ability to ensure that the consortium represents a full range of district types, sizes, and diverse student populations. However, in order to ensure that participating districts have the necessary experience and expertise to undertake the challenging work assigned to the consortium, the agency will limit eligibility to those districts and their participating campus(es) that have been acknowledged or honored for their work in the areas targeted by the consortium. Specifically, §102.1201(b)(1) has been modified to state that a school district and its participating campus(es) "must not have been awarded the lowest performance rating as its most recent state academic accountability rating under §97.1001 of this title (relating to Accountability Rating System)." Additionally, new subsection (b)(2) has been added to establish that either a school district or its participating campus(es) "must have received either national, statewide, or regional public acknowledgment, from an organization relying on expertise in the field of education, for district-wide or campus-wide excellence in academic performance or innovative practices in one of the areas described by the consortium principles in subsection (a)(2) of this section." Subsequent paragraphs in subsection (b) have been renumbered accordingly.
Comment: Concerning proposed new 19 TAC §102.1201, the superintendent of Perrin-Whitt CISD expressed concern that the consortium may be comprised of a disproportionate number of restrictive-enrollment charter schools. The commenter urged the TEA to be aware during the selection process that if too many charters are chosen to participate, the consortium's work may be questioned or dismissed because of heavy involvement by schools that can be selective about which students they enroll and retain.
Agency Response: The agency disagrees. The authorizing statute places no limits on charter participation other than the requirement that the charter be rated exemplary under the TEC, Chapter 39, Subchapter G, during the preceding school year. The rule specifies that applications will be selected based on quality of the application and the extent to which the district's participation contributes to diverse district representation to transform learning opportunities for all students, as required by the authorizing statute.
Comment: Concerning the application process for the consortium, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Lake Travis ISD requested guidance on how a district would determine which campus(es) to include in its application.
Agency Response: The agency is unable to respond because inclusion of campuses in a district's application is a local decision. The statute permits districts to designate specific campuses for participation, but does not offer further guidance.
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