- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The number of campuses on the annual list of the worst public schools in Texas is up more than a third from last year.

The Texas Education Agency reported Friday that 1,199 schools have been identified as low performers because of poor test scores or unacceptable ratings under the state’s Public Education Grant Program. Last year there were 892 schools on the list. Under different criteria in 2012, 456 campuses were singled out.

More than 736,000 students attend the schools on the list, and all have the right to transfer to another campus either in their home district or any neighboring district that agrees to accept them.

In the Dallas school district, the number of schools listed increased from 59 to 71. Houston jumped from 53 to 86 schools.

“We didn’t see a lot of change in student performance (on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, exam) this year, and that compounded the number of schools on the list,” TEA spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe told The Dallas Morning News.

“It is taking schools longer to adjust to the revised curriculum standards and the new test than we originally projected,” she said, referring to a more challenging curriculum and a more rigorous STAAR implemented over the past few years.

TEA says campuses made the list if 50 percent or more students failed the STAAR in two of the past three years or were rated “Improvement Required” in state accountability ratings in 2013 or 2014.

Last school year, just 1,694 students from PEG schools transferred to other campuses. But that number was up from previous years.

The Legislature is expected to review the PEG program in its regular session that begins in January.


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