AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed legislation Tuesday that would for the first time assign letter grades to Texas public school campuses based on their academic performance.
In a budget summary that accompanied his State of the State address, Abbott said Texas should require “that each public school publish an A-F report card on its campus website.” The purpose, the Republican said, is to “ensure that parents, students and teachers have better access to valuable information about their school’s performance.”
State lawmakers considered such a requirement in 2013 but dropped the idea because of strong opposition from school districts and public education groups. Critics argued that letter grades could stigmatize low-achievement campuses.
Abbott also proposed action aimed at failing schools, including empowering “parents to petition to change campus management at underachieving schools.” Lawmakers are expected to consider such “parent trigger” proposals this year.
In addition, the governor supported creation of an “achievement school district” to manage the state’s lowest-performing elementary schools and provide special attention for their students. Lawmakers considered such a plan two years ago but did not act on it.
Abbott’s budget also includes $182 million for prekindergarten programs and specialized training for teachers in prekindergarten through third grade. Another $164 million is proposed for digital instruction, targeting low-performing schools and helping high school students succeed on state end-of-course exams.