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Longview ISD resolution opposes accountability system, vouchers

By Special to the News-Journal
Dec. 14, 2016 at 2 a.m.

Superintendent James Wilcox speaks during a Longview ISD board meeting, on Saturday February 20, 2016, at the LISD Education Support Center. (Michael Cavazos/News-Journal Photo)

Longview ISD has joined districts across the state calling for the repeal of the A-F school rating system while also voicing opposition to a state voucher plan.

A resolution passed Monday by school trustees calls for the Legislature to repeal the letter-grade rating system that will be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year as part of House Bill 2804, passed in 2015.

Longview ISD believes the accountability system does not provide a meaningful or accurate assessment of a student, campus or district performance.

"Our view is the social and economic environment of a campus or district will have unintended consequence on the ratings," said Superintendent James Wilcox. "What's more, the bulk of the rankings will be based solely on a once-a-year STAAR/EOC assessment that has been proven to be defective, not statistically significant or reliable, and detrimental to students and the teaching profession."

Wilcox said LISD supports a strong accountability system that reflects the many facets of a quality 21st century education system.

"It should reflect overall student performance and not be limited to the lowest-performing student group, based on a single state assessment," he said.

The resolution offers an alternative to the A-F rating system — pursuing the development of a community-based accountability system that empowers districts to design their owns systems of accountability.

The resolution also opposes a state voucher plan, tax credit, taxpayer savings grants, tuition reimbursements or any program that diverts public tax dollars to private entities, home school students, or parents with little or no academic or financial accountability to the state, taxpayers or local communities.

Wilcox said vouchers and savings grants given to the private sector "remove the fiduciary responsibility required for the accountability of public funds."

"We oppose any form of certificate directly or indirectly funded by the government in which parents can apply toward tuition at a private school or home schooling, rather than attending the state-funded public school," he said.

In addition to opposing vouchers, Longview ISD is joining with the 95 school districts and seven charter schools of Region VII in calling for more public school funding.

Wilcox said Texas funding per student ranks 40th in the nation, while the Texas economy ranks among the best.

"LISD believes that the basic allotment should be raised creating additional funding for all districts in Texas," he said. "The increased allotment would not require additional revenue from the state, rather revenues generated by increased property values would be returned to local school districts."

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