The Race To Save Failing Schools | KERA News

The Race To Save Failing Schools

From Texas Standard.

In efforts to avoid strict state sanctions, Houston ISD, San Antonio ISD and Waco ISD are all school districts that have recently either considered or adopted plans to consolidate several of their consistently failing public schools into charter school partnerships.

Tiffany Szerpicki

For school districts with chronically failing campuses, a recently passed law that allows them a reprieve from state sanctions was supposed to be a lifeline. A year on, less than a tenth of those districts are on track to take advantage of it.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

For most kids in North Texas, today's the last day of school. This day has special meaning for the struggling schools KERA's education team has explored over the last month in our series, “The Race To Save Failing Schools.”

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

The Fort Worth Independent School District took five of its struggling elementary campuses and turned them into leadership academies this school year. Now, the district is pointing to some early successes. 

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

The race to save failing schools doesn’t just happen in inner cities. Suburbs like Arlington face the same challenges.

Two miles west of the Cowboys’ glitzy AT&T Stadium, Wimbish Elementary is trying to turn itself around. It’s been on the state’s “Improvement Required” list for four straight years.

If it doesn’t succeed by next year, the state could shut it down or take over the district.

Lara Solt / KERA Special Contributor

A few years back, the Dallas school district came up with an ambitious plan to save failing schools. Accelerating Campus Excellence, or ACE, pours money and the best teachers and principals into struggling schools. With Fort Worth, Garland and Richardson borrowing the idea for their failing schools, can ACE work on a larger scale?

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Opened in 2011 to relieve crowding at other nearby schools, John T. White Elementary School in Northeast Fort Worth has always been on the state’s “Improvement Required” list.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Once on the state’s list of failing schools, Pinkston High School in West Dallas has managed to turn things around, meeting state education standards for the past three years.

Now, with the nearby Edison Middle Learning Center closing, Pinkston is preparing to take in hundreds of younger students coming from the struggling school.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

For five straight years, Thomas Edison Middle Learning Center has failed to meet the state’s minimum education standards.

The West Dallas school named for America’s great inventor couldn’t find a way to earn to a passing grade. One more failing round of tests and the state would shut it down or even take over the district.

So instead of waiting on the verdict, Edison will close its doors.   

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Mitchell Boulevard Elementary is one of five low-performing schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District that has been designated a “leadership academy.”

The school struggles with kids regularly moving in and out and low literacy rates, but administrators believe changes made this year — including an ambitious literacy goal set by the district — will put Mitchell Boulevard back on track.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Texas is getting tough with chronically low-performing schools. A 2015 law allows the state education commissioner to shut down schools or take over districts when schools go five straight years with the state’s lowest accountability rating: "Improvement Required."