A coalition of more than 80 Texas school districts is seeking to overturn all federal accountability ratings issued since the program started in 2003.
The school districts filed a legal case against the Texas Education Agency on Thursday, challenging the Adequate Yearly Progress ratings issued under the No Child Left Behind Act.
The 87 school districts say all AYP ratings issued under the program are invalid, said Ken McCraw, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Schools, an Austin group that organized the legal proceeding.
“It’s a pretty big deal because it could set aside the AYP ratings of school districts if it is upheld,” McCraw said in a Friday telephone interview. “What we're saying is that the feds only contribute a small amount of money but they’re trying to control 100 percent of the accountability. We don’t think the federal government ought to be devising the accountability system.”
DeEtta Culbertson, a TEA spokeswoman, said Friday: “We are reviewing the filing.”
The group is asking the State Office of Administrative Hearings to review the case.
“The challenge asserts that the ratings constitute an unlawful, costly and destructive federal intrusion into local school operations and that the Texas Education Agency, in its efforts to comply with federal mandates, acted without authority from the Legislature and denied school district leaders their right to due process,” the Community Schools group said in a Thursday news release.
If the challenge is successful, the TEA will be required to "withdraw its AYP regulations, wipe the federal ratings slate clean for the past nine years, and start AYP implementation over," the release said.
The school districts involved in the case include several from Greater Tarrant County, including: Alvarado, Castleberry, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw, Everman, Grapevine-Colleyville, Lake Worth and White Settlement.
Additional school districts are expected to join the case, McCraw said.