2016 #TXED Accountability System Powerpoint Presentation

Every year Kelly Baehren, the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Federal Programs for Waller ISD, creates a highly detailed presentation on the accountability system. If you are in the process of preparing a presentation on the 2016 accountability system for your school board, staff, parents or other stakeholders, this Powerpoint is the template you need.

Baehren Imagewaller

Link to 2016 Texas Accountability Powerpoint


Each year, Kelly Baehren (@kellybaehren) of Waller ISD (@wallerisd) creates and shares an explanatory PowerPoint for educators in Texas.

(image credit)

This PowerPoint can be used to explain your soon to be released results to all stakeholders including staff, parents and School Board members.  Kelly has given permission to modify the file for your own use but please credit her for the creation of the document.

There are two options for you to download the File:

Kelly currently serves as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and the Director of Federal Programs for Waller ISD.  Take a moment to tweet something to Kelly thanking her for all of her hard work again!

Return calendar flexibility to Texas school districts

Currently Texas school districts are not able to start school until the 4th Monday in August.  The legislative guidelines for district calendars have changed many times since 1984.


According to a Dallas Morning News article from January 5, 2015

During a 1984 special session, the Legislature required the first day to occur after Sept. 1. The law was tweaked in 1989 when schools could start on any day during the week in which Sept. 1 fell. But in 1991, the law on a uniform start date was repealed.

In the decade that followed, school districts began setting the first day of class earlier and earlier. Many eventually started the first week of August.

In 2001, schools were required to start class during the week of Aug. 21, but districts found a way around that by asking and receiving state waivers to maintain an early start.

So the travel industry and frustrated parents fought back, pushing for a uniform start date after Labor Day. A state comptroller’s report estimated that an early start date contributed to Texas losing $790 million annually in economic benefits.

In the 2006 special session, lawmakers approved what they called a compromise that amended the start to late August.


In contrast, Texas charter schools are allowed to determine their own school start date.   It allows school systems such as Life Schools of Dallas, where I am employed, to consider a variety of calendar options to best meet the needs of our stakeholders. Texas school districts, and ultimately their governing school boards, should be afforded that same flexibility to create and approve calendars that best meet the needs of their community.

14 questions (and few answers) about SB 276

Today I read a great article from Hudson ISD Superintendent Mary Whiteker about Senate Bill 276 published in the Lufkin Daily News.

(Click here to jump right to the article)

In the piece, Whiteker lists fourteen questions for backers of #sb276 to consider.  I have attempted to answer each one based on my own reading of the bill:

■ Will private schools retain the right to charge tuition above the value of the voucher? (Yes)

■ Will private schools that receive state aid ( vouchers or taxpayer grants) be eligible to request additional funds to provide the necessary services required for the very special high-needs students? (?)

■ Will a private school that receives state aid (vouchers or taxpayer grants) be required to meet the same regulations as public schools? (maybe, but no law passed after 1-1-2015 will apply link)

■ Will a private school that receives state aid (vouchers or taxpayer grants) be required to administer the state-mandated curriculum and student assessments? (not addressed in SB 276, but in HB 1043, any norm referenced test can substitute for STAAR)

■ Will private schools and home schools that receive state aid or taxpayer grants be allowed to teach common core curriculum? (?)

■ Will a private school be subjected to the same accountability standards as public schools? (?)

■ Will a private school retain the right of student refusal based on disability, academic achievement, religious beliefs or discipline? (?)

■ Will a private school, receiving students that are eligible for free and reduced meals, be required to offer meals under this federal program? (?)

■ Will vouchers (taxpayer savings grants) limit the religious instruction (Christian and non-Christian) offered in private schools? (?)

■ Will the state assume the responsibility of managing and monitoring families that receive vouchers or taxpayer grants to home school their children? (?)

■ Will the state offer vouchers/taxpayer savings grants for all students currently enrolled in private schools or home schooled? (After year 1 they would not be eligible according to Sec 42.501 as worded in bill link)

■ Will voucher funds (taxpayer savings grants) be allocated by average daily attendance, requiring private schools/home schoolers to report daily attendance with required hours of instruction to receive the funds for that day of instruction? (?)

■ Will the private school/home schooler have to reimburse the state if the student(s) withdraw from the private school during the year and wish to re-enroll in the public school. (?)

■ Will private schools be required to participate in the PEIMS reporting system? (?)


Consider connecting with me on Twitter (@troymooney) and mention #sb276 if you have any answers to these questions.

SB 276 Taxpayer Savings Grant: Jan 1 2015 provision

Senate Bill 276,filled by Donna Campbell,  which establishes a program of up to 60% reimbursement for private school tuition also contains this provision:

  • A private school selected by a parent for the parent’s child to attend may not be required to comply with any law or rule governing the school’s educational program that was not in effect on Jan 1, 2015

Why do you think the Jan 1 2015 provision was included in the bill text?  (full text of bill)

Connect with me on Twitter and reference #sb276 to offer your insight.

The requirements for nonpublic schools under HB 1043

House Bill 1043 is described as a “voucher” bill in the 84th Texas Legislature.  It involves tax credits to educational assistance organizations that are able to grant scholarships to eligible public and nonpublic schools.

The requirements of eligibility for a non-public school to be a recipient of this form of educational assistance are found in Section 171.153 of the Bill. Those requirements  include that the nonpublic school must allow a student to fulfill the state compulsory attendance requirements, not be in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights act, and have evidence of :

  1. Accreditation or actively be in the process of accreditation from the Texas Education Agency or Texas Private School Accreditation Commission
  2. Annual Administration of a nationally norm-referenced assessment instrument or appropriate instrument required under CH. 39.023 of the Texas Education Code (STAAR)
  3. Valid certificate of occupancy
  4. Policy statements regarding: Admissions, Curriculum, Safety, and Student-teacher ratios

Bill Text

Connect with me via social media and share your comments about HB 1043 of the 84th Texas Legislature.

House Bill 5: Foundation High School Plan Substitution Document

My friend, Kelly Baehren, modified this file originally created by Alief ISD for Texas school districts to keep track of various substitutions allowable for the Foundation High School Program.

Substitutions for FHSP Graduation Requirements – Draft2 Waller ISD

Feel free to share and modify as needed.  Please connect with me via social media if you make any improvements to the file or notice any errors or omissions.

Accountability without Equity is Hilarity

Members of the 84th Texas Legislature who are stressing accountability without equity are being comical at best and disingenuous at worst.

Hold schools accountable, close failing schools, and demand measures of student academic progress.

But don’t also fail to recognize and address the impact of current per pupil funding inequity.

According to Dr. Wayne Pierce of the Equity Center the per pupil funding gap between the richest 100 districts and the poorest 100 districts is equal to $2,641 per weighted average daily attendance (WADA).  This inequity results in approximately 91,000 fewer dollars per typical elementary classroom for the 100 poorest districts (source: 15th Annual School Finance and Legislative Workshop presentation Jan 23, 2015.)

How does anyone think it is acceptable for this to disparity to continue without a planned attempt at mitigation?  Why are the students of one district worth less than those of another, or suddenly worth more when they transfer to a neighboring school system?  This is not a call for more funding but rather a call for at least a move to equitable funding.

In support of stronger accountability, many have suggested schools be required to place A-F letter grades for academic performance on their campus marquees.  Let’s take it a step further and also require schools to place their per pupil revenue numbers on their marquees as well.

Parents deserve to know how well their schools are performing academically, but they equally deserve to know how inequitably they are being funded.

Accountability without equity is hilarity.


List of 84th Texas Legislature bills affecting STAAR Testing

Thanks to twitter user @staartest for spurring the compilation of these STAAR test related bills in the 84th Texas Legislature.

Bills related to number of State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) tests:

  • HB 742 and HB 774 which both eliminate 4/7 writing and 8 Social Studies. HB 742 also eliminates US History End of Course test.
  • HB 959– Would only require testing in subjects for which testing is required by federal law

Bills related to End of Course (EOC) test graduation requirements:

  • SB 149 Establishment of Independent Graduation Committees for students who fail to master all EOCs

Tweet any other bills affecting standardized testing to me (@troymooney) and I will add them to the list