RISD ‘stuck in the past’
The Rockdale ISD must feel like the classic movie “Groundhog Day,” in which residents of a Pennsylvania town live the same day over and over again for no reason.
Once again, soon-to-be threeyear old TEA state test scores have been used to place the high school and junior-high campuses on a list purporting to show “low performing schools.”
Nevermind that in 2013 all campuses in the RISD got acceptable ratings in the same TEA test scores used to place Rockdale on the “bad list” in the first place— RJH even received a commendation— the new Public Education Grant (PEG) List will include Rockdale again.
FRUSTRATION—That leaves RISD administrators feeling more than a bit frustrated.
“We’ve had a very positive year in 2013,” Pam Kaufmann, assistant superintendent for curriculum and administration, said. “But this list doesn’t take that into consideration. It goes back and picks up these scores which are about to be three years old.”
One year ago, when Rockdale ISD was also on the PEG list, administrators voiced similar concerns and hoped improving test scores would get the district’s campuses off the list.
The good test scores happened, but the listing remained.
So, the district is preparing to send out letters explaining the listing to parents and guardians, hoping they will understand nothing in the PEG List has anything to do with Rockdale ISD in 2013-2014.
PURPOSE—It’s also unclear exactly what is the purpose of the PEG List for school districts in municipalities the size of Rockdale.
The PEG List is supposed to be about giving students on lowly ranked campuses opportunities to transfer into higher-ranked schools.
That may be feasible in large cities with many schools but in small town Texas, it’s a different story.
“This was actually designed for a place like Houston or Austin,” Donald Denbow, interim superintendent, said. “There, you can just go a few miles and have your student in a different campus.”
And the overriding irony is that for decades students have been able to transfer in and out of districts of all sizes.
Approval of transfer lists have been agenda items on Rockdale ISD board meetings for decades.
“It happens all the time,” Kaufmann said. “Right now we have people transferring into and out of the Rockdale ISD.”
Now the big question is “will Rockdale ISD be able to get off the PEG List next yea?”
“Right now I’d say ‘ yes’,” Kaufmann said. “ Those 2011 scores ought to finally rotate off the list of criteria. But, don’t bet on anything when it comes to tests and accountability scores.”