Texas Schools Didn't Do So Well...

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AUSTIN (AP) - In the first year of a tougher accountability system, fewer Texas public school systems attained the top two ratings.

Figures released Thursday in Austin also show more schools in the lowest category. About 39 percent of the state's one-thousand, 37 school
districts were rated exemplary or recognized. That's down from 47 percent in 2002 -- the last year of the old system.

The number in the lowest category -- academically unacceptable -- almost doubled to 26 districts and 102 campuses.

Texas Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley says those districts and campuses need to take a comprehensive look at their programs, instructional strategies and curriculum. Neeley says the next step is to design a plan of action -- for improvement.

Drops in the rankings were expected because the standards that schools must meet are tougher under the new system. This year's results are based on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.