TEA issues Hurricane Harvey accountability waivers

HOUSTON — During the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, about 100 schools in the Houston area were in low academic standing, but the Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath announced Wednesday that school districts directly affected by the storm are eligible for special evaluation in this year's state accountability system.

The districts must meet specific criteria, such as if 10% or more of a school's teachers experienced homelessness due to Harvey or if a campus was reported to the TEA as displaced.

For Houston ISD, which has petitioned for these special evaluations, four out of 10 schools in academic jeopardy will not qualify. The district was hoping that all 10 of their struggling schools would be eligible to receive the waiver.

If Mading and Wesley elementary schools, Woodson PK8 and Worthing High School do not meet state academic standards in August, the TEA could replace HISD's locally elected board or close those campuses.

"Despite the challenges we have faced this school year, our data shows that our students performed well on state assessments. We know that we are moving in the right direction," an HISD official said.