by Victor Lopez
MIDLAND--One half of one percentage point is what gave Midland Lee it's failing grade. Midland High lost out by one and one half percent.
Superintendent Dr. Sylvester Perez says, given the fact they got 34 out 35 indicators to be rated an acceptable school district, should count for something, "You know, I'm an old baseball coach. If you're hitting 34 out of 35, that's not a bad batting average."
103 out 21,000 students failed to graduate from Midland High Schools in 2008. According to state standards, that's enough to give the whole district a failing grade. According to the Superintendent, "I don't think that's a very accurate way to label or brand our school district, when we have all these other things that are going on that are good."
The district's drop out rate and academic performance have both improved, but that wasn't enough to save them.
"There are some flaws in this accountability system, and at the risk of sounding defensive, I'm just going to be very frank and very candid, that have got to be addressed and have got to change," Perez commented.
Dr. Perez says these stats are not new, since they are based on old data. MISD has been addressing the problem for two years now, "We're not going to wait for the state or the feds to tell us where our blind spots are. I think we're smart enough to know what we need to get done and we know what the expectations are, here, in Midland Texas."
When asked if any changes will be made in the district, due to the failing marks, Perez replied, "Absolutely not. We're heading in the right direction."
That direction includes new education software and the ability for students to get high school credit online. As Perez explained, it's already having positive results, "We're having more kids graduate from our schools than ever before. You're going to see a much different picture, this time next year."
The TEA ratings are also based on TAKS scores. Perez says MISD is not a TAKS taking, preparation district. They want to offer students a richer curriculum and get them ready for college and the workplace.