Facts and insights about Texas public schools

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Number of Texas Students Taking AP Tests Continues to Climb

Over the past decade, the number of Texas students taking at least one Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) exam during high school has more than doubled. According to the College Board’s AP Cohort Data Report for the Class of 2015, Texas continues to outpace the national average in percentage of students taking at least one AP exam.

In addition, Texas has seen growth in achieving equitable participation for low-income students. Half (50.5 percent) of the AP examinees in the Class of 2015 were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Of those students, 44.6 percent achieved a score of 3 or higher—higher than the national average (24.2 percent) and higher than any other state.

March 3, 2016

Texas Seeing Increase in Students from Immigrant Families

KTRH NewsRadio 740 reports that Texas public schools are struggling with growing numbers of students and limited tax dollars to spend on education.

“Millions of students from immigrant families are filling Texas public school classrooms, but the tax base isn’t growing at the same rate. Competition for scarce resources is edging toward a crisis. Center for Immigration Studies Research Director Steve Camerota says this can’t help but impact the quality of a Texas education.”

February 21, 2016

New Study Reports that Texas Is Failing at Supporting Schools

The Network for Public Education (NPE) recently released the NPE State Report Card 2016, and Texas did not fare well. The report card assesses each state’s commitment to its public schools based on six criteria.

High Plains Public Radio says:

“Among High Plains states, Texas performed the most dismally, receiving an F grade. Only Mississippi scored more poorly on the report card than Texas. Oklahoma and Colorado didn’t do much better. Both states received D ratings. Only Nebraska scored relatively well, garnering a C average.”

Access the full report on the NPE website.

February 19, 2016

Questions about Charter School Funding

“The playing field is built to give an advantage to charter schools,” says Brian T. Woods, superintendent of the Northside ISD in San Antonio, in a recent editorial in the San Antonio Express-News. An article in the Houston Chronicle also looks at the funding differences between charters and public school districts.

February 8, 2016

How Does Texas Compare to Other States in Education Spending?

In 2012–13, Texas had more than 5 million students and spent an average of $8,261 per student on education. The figures are part of a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) that compiles national- and state-level data on revenues by source and expenditures by function for public elementary and secondary education.

According to the report:

  • Total revenues per pupil decreased by 1.2 percent on a national basis from fiscal year (FY) 2012 to FY 2013, after adjusting for inflation. Texas’s revenues decreased by 2.1 percent.
  • Nationally, expenditures per pupil for public elementary and secondary education were $10,763 in FY 2013. Expenditures per pupil decreased by 0.6 percent on a national basis between FY 2012 and FY 2013. Per pupil expenditures in Texas decreased by 1.1 percent.
  • Current expenditures per pupil ranged from a low of $6,432 in Utah to $20,530 in the District of Columbia. After District of Columbia, expenditures per pupil were next highest in New York ($19,529); New Jersey ($18,523); Alaska ($18,217); Connecticut ($17,321); Vermont ($17,286); Wyoming ($15,815); and Massachusetts ($15,321).

February 5, 2016

Texas Posts Higher Graduation Rates

New figures released by the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics show that the Texas Class of 2014 high school graduation rate was 88.3 percent, surpassing the national average of 82.3 percent. In addition, Texas exceeded the average in eight demographic categories.

To view a state-by-state breakdown of graduation rates for the Class of 2014, visit http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/tables/ACGR_RE_and_characteristics_2013-14.asp.

January 21, 2016

More Articles about School Board Service

Last week the Dallas Morning News carried two more articles honoring the work of local school board members: One by Anne Foster, a former Richardson ISD trustee, and one by Ann Casey, a current Lovejoy ISD trustee:

See the articles:

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20160114-anne-foster-lessons-from-a-former-school-board-member.ece

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20160114-ann-casey-why-im-a-school-board-member-and-why-you-should-consider-it.ece

January 19, 2016

Honor the Work of School Trustees

On the occasion of School Board Recognition Month, Bret Begert, who serves as president of the Texas Association of School Boards, wrote an article that has appeared in various publications in recent days. In part, he said:

There are more than 7,000 locally elected school trustees in Texas, which makes them the largest group of elected officials in the state. Even though they receive no pay for their work, they are required to get a certain number of training hours each year. The state and federal requirements, the intricate accountability system, and the funding formulas for schools are a few of the complicated topics trustees must navigate.

A Big Responsibility
School trustees are responsible for the ongoing education of the more than 5.2 million school-aged students in the Lone Star State. Five million seems like an overwhelming number to me, but you can’t stop there. For the last several years, the Texas student population has been growing by 75,000 to 85,000 annually, so the responsibility keeps increasing.

It takes a lot of infrastructure to provide classrooms for that many students. We have more than 8,500 public schools and more than 334,000 teachers statewide.

Saying Thank You
The tremendous effort going on in our schools is largely invisible to most Texans. If you don’t have a student in a Texas public school, you may not know about the hard work of our large and growing student population, the caring and creative instruction by our army of teachers, and the dedicated service of the thousands of school trustees.

He went on to urge readers to visit a public school, appreciate the teachers, and thank the trustees for their generous service.

The whole article can be found at:

http://www.elpasotimes.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/01/12/begert-recognizing-local-school-trustees/78707864/

January 16, 2016

How Much Do Schools Get from Powerball?

The numbers associated with Powerball sound huge. The jackpot is up to about $1.5 billion. So how much of that goes to Texas public schools?

The lottery distributes:

  • About two-thirds of the money to winners
  • Five percent to retailers who sell tickets
  • About 4 percent to the lottery for administrative costs
  • Less than half a percent to fund veteran assistance programs
  • The remaining 27 percent to public education

Last year the Texas Lottery sent $1.2 billion to the Texas Education Agency. The Texas school system spends $50-52 billion a year. So the lottery covers about one week of operating the more than 8,000 schools.

See the article at:

http://kut.org/post/how-much-money-powerball-goes-education-texas

January 14, 2016

Teacher Out-of-Pocket Expenses Caused by Poor State Funding

The Austin Chronicle covered a story recently that highlighted the fact that teachers routinely fill in the gaps in state funding for their classrooms.

Read it at http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2015-12-11/out-of-pocket/.

December 22, 2015