FISD people testify at TX House re: Rep. Bell HB 4402

Forney ISD & Rep. Keith Bell - “Our Kids are More Than a Test:” TX HB4402

On Thursday, April 20, 2023, Forney ISD Superintendent Dr. Justin Terry, Board President Greg Pharris, and Chief Learning Officer Dr. Judy Webber testified in Austin in support of Texas House Bill 4402. This legislation was a joint effort by Forney ISD and Texas State Representative Keith Bell, House District 4.

“Our students are so much more than just one test, held on one day. Their successes and talents span further than only math, reading, science, and social studies. They are more than a test,” Dr. Terry said. “Our schools and districts are not against accountability but want to be measured on the many, many opportunities in which our students exhibit success each day that help prepare them for future careers and to be productive citizens within their communities.”

HB 4402 proposes reducing the state-required number of tests down to the federal standard. It also includes a focus on through-year testing instead of a single, one-time assessment. The bill includes additional measured indicators for grades 3-8 that would incorporate student participation in extracurricular and cocurricular activities; local accountability through the results of parent and student feedback; and student completion of advanced mathematics, e.g. 8th-grade algebra 1.

The bill also caps the percentage of any accountability rating that may be attributable to 3rd through 8th-grade student performance on required state assessments at 80% to the summative score on assessments and 20% to the new indicators mentioned previously. The current K-8 accountability ratings are 100% based on performance on a single STAAR test on a single day at the end of a school year.

“With part of the accountability score focusing on things such as extra- and co-curricular engagement and parent and student feedback, it allows parents and students to have more of a voice in their education, and takes into account more of what our students are learning each day,” Pharris said. “This proposed bill is a great step in the right direction for students, parents, educators, TEA and the state of Texas. There is still accountability for all.”

Each year the Texas Education Agency (TEA) provides annual academic accountability ratings to independent school districts, charter schools, and individual campuses. These ratings are primarily based on student performance on state standardized tests; high school graduation rates; and certain college, career, and military readiness outcomes at the high school level only.

“This is a great step forward. HB 4402 proposes changes that creates an academic accountability system that is not solely focused on standardized testing but instead takes into account the totality of a student’s participation in a well-rounded educational program,” Dr Justin Terry said, “In the future, we hope to see the inclusion of employability and future ready skills as an additional indicator to support career development in grades 3-8 to lay the foundation for College, Career and Military Readiness in high schools. Waiting to begin teaching these skills in high school is too late as we continue to move toward the Texas goal of 60 by 30.” Dr. Terry said.

To follow the HB 4402 online, visit: here.

HB 4402 was voted out of the public education committee on April 21, and headed to the calendars committee to be considered for a vote on the house floor.

For more information about the Forney Independent School District, contact the Forney ISD Marketing and Communications Department at or by phone at 469-762-4100.


Press release provided by Forney ISD.

Thursday, 2023, April 20