Following four years of stagnant test scores, Texas students in grades 3–8 had higher passing rates on 13 of 17 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams based on 2015 passing standards. Higher passing standards were put in place in 2016.
“Student success on STAAR is generally up this year when compared to last year’s standards, which reflects the day-in, day-out hard work of teachers in the classroom throughout our state,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.
TEA has posted the results.
July 20, 2016
Do you think you have an accurate picture of Texas public schools?
Chances are the headlines you read or news you hear focuses on the bad or sensational news, rather than the good work done daily by district leaders, educators, and students. In her column, “Just the Facts, Ma’am,” featured in Texas Lone Star magazine, TASB Associate Executive Director Karen Strong offers seldom-seen evidence of the excellence of Texas public schools.
If you’d like to read more good news about schools, check out the entire July issue. It’s our annual “good news” issue.
July 14, 2016
In the commentary, “Everything is Bigger in Texas—Except Public Education,” Alamo Heights ISD Superintendent Kevin Brown calls the current state of school finance a “You can pay me now or pay me later” proposition. He and a cadre of other superintendents note that Texas has a lot to brag about, with the noteworthy exception of the state’s effort to fund schools. “Regardless of how you crunch the numbers and adjust for the cost of living or what year of data you use, Texas always ranks near the bottom nationally in funding,” Brown writes.
While Texas boasts a high graduation rate and many graduates are ready for higher education or careers in spite of low funding, Brown says, “…We can no longer fool ourselves into believing…that we can sustain those results over time or that we shouldn’t do even better.”
Brown adds that while the Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that the correlation between more money and better education are uncertain, decades of school finance rulings and legislation brought about a school finance system based entirely on that correlation, complete with the redistribution of wealth from “rich” districts to “poor” districts to the tune of $1.5 billion per year.
July 12, 2016
In “America’s Not-So-Broken Education System,” Jack Schneider says that “. . . one can see that across many generations, the schools have slowly and steadily improved.” Schneider, an author and professor of education, examines some of the arguments made by education reformers.
“. . . it is important not to confuse inequity with ineptitude. History may reveal broken promises around racial and economic justice. But it does not support the story of a broken education system. Instead, the long view reveals a far less dramatic truth—that most aspects of public education have gotten better, generation by generation.
The evolution of America’s school system has been slow. But providing a first-rate public education to every child in the country is a monumental task. Today, 50 million US students attend roughly 100,000 schools and are educated by over 3 million teachers. The scale alone is overwhelming. And the aim of schooling is equally ambitious. Educators are not just designing gadgets or building websites. At this phenomenal scale, they are trying to make people—a fantastically difficult task for which there is no quick fix, no simple solution, no ‘hack.’”
June 27, 2016
“Future prosperity, both for individuals and for society depends on education,” says M. Ray Perryman, president and chief executive officer of The Perryman Group. And he has crunched the numbers to prove it. In a recent guest column, Perryman shared his calculations to determine the long-term return per dollar of state spending on education.
“What if I told you about an investment that would yield almost $50 for every $1 you invested? What if on top of that, it improved lives, increased volunteerism, and otherwise paid major dividends to individuals and society? A ‘no brainer,’ right? Similar logic applies to strategic investments by the State in public education, and it’s irrational and shortsighted to ignore the tremendous return on this particular investment of taxpayer dollars.”
June 21, 2016
So, what happens now that the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the school finance system is constitutional? That’s the question many people are asking. And the answer: The ball is back in the Legislature’s court. In the June issue of Texas Lone Star magazine, the Texas Association of School Boards urges Texans take action to move our state’s leaders to address school funding. Read more.
June 9, 2016
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
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
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.
“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
“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