Two El Paso schools receive failing grade


POSTED: Friday, January 10, 2014 - 11:09pm

UPDATED: Friday, January 10, 2014 - 11:12pm

Two El Paso schools are in the spotlight for failing reading and math on a 2013 standardized test.

Bonham Elementary and Bassett Middle schools have been rated "academically unacceptable" in student progress by the Texas Education Agency, and now parents are allowed to transfer their kids out of those schools.

"Ninety-five percent of the schools did better than you on this progress measure, and so you need to improve and that's what we're working on," said Dr. James Steinhauser, the assistant superintendent for research, testing, and accountability at El Paso ISD.

Results from the 2013 STAAR test revealed that students from the two EPISD schools did not meet the TEA's new set of requirements in those two subjects.

Students also didn't show a year's worth of progress - meaning they didn't get any better in those subjects throughout the year either.

"If they do improve, I don't mind to keep my daughter in school. But if they don't, then it's time for my daughter to move on," said Maria Figueroa, a Bassett parent.

District leaders say students won't have to move on because they've already started making changes to fix the problem by sending their campus leaders to training, assigning academic coaches to teachers, and giving one-on-one instruction to struggling students.

"I think it's all how you treat your child and it's how they're learning. The learning is very important," said Juanita, another Bassett parent.

Some parents say standardized testing is to blame for the results and the system has failed their schools.

"Testing does not prove whether a school is really doing it's job! Let's get back to basics and not teach to the test," said Luz Carmona on Facebook.

Christa Jean Hausknecht thinks the tests are "misleading" because "Non English speaking students take the test in English and this has kept over-all scores lower in many of the schools in the area."

The TEA is giving El Paso parents the option of pulling their kids out of Bonham or Bassett, and transferring them to another district school in "good standing."

Amanda Mefford said on Facebook that she had both her middle school aged kids transferred from Bassett.

According to the TEA though, the guidelines for transferring to a new school are strict and the new school could always reject a student's application to transfer.

This is the first year that either Bonham Elementary or Bassett Middle has received such a low ranking.

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