Facts and insights about Texas public schools

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Texas Has a Difficult History Where Vouchers Are Concerned

You may think that the call for vouchers—ostensibly to allow low-income students to access high-quality schools—is a relatively new phenomenon. It’s not. A new KUT story provides the details.

The state’s first voucher proposal came about after the US Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. Texas was resistant to desegregating its public schools, so a voucher plan that would allow parents who opposed integration to send their children to segregated private schools was proposed. Vouchers were part of a larger bill to circumvent desegregation, which never passed. Supporters of the current voucher initiative are prone to characterizing it as ‘the civil rights issue of our time.’

Read or listen to “60 Years Ago, Resistance to Integration in Texas Led to School Voucher Plan,” on KUT’s Website.

March 23, 2017

Decreased State Funding Is a Problem for Districts

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The State of Texas reduced per-student funding by $339 since 2008. When adjusted for inflation, this amounts to a $795 per student decrease. Funding reductions took place despite rising costs and increasing mandates. The folks at Taxparency Texas have done an excellent job of explaining the decrease.

March 22, 2017

Strange Ideas about Public Funds

In her Texas Lone Star Q&A for March, Karen Strong, TASB associate executive director of Communications and Public Relations, takes on the notion that people should be able to use their school property tax dollars to choose an alternative to public schools for their child.

The argument just doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Read “Our Tax Dollars: Some Folks Have Strange Ideas about Public Funds” to learn more.

March 14, 2017

Texas Public School Students Beat National Math Scores

Fourth and eighth graders take the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in mathematics each year. In 2015, Texas students scored a 244, higher than the national average of 240.
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March 13, 2017

DeVos Praises Virtual Schools; Studies Reveal Poor Student Outcomes

Online schools have earned a hearty endorsement from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has called for their expansion.

There’s just one problem: A new RAND Corporation/New York University study shows that low-performing students—those already on the edge of failure—tend to be drawn to cyber charter schools, perhaps because of the additional flexibility and autonomy. But they perform poorly in virtual schools, and tend to fall even farther behind. Even high-performing students tend to do worse when enrolled in a virtual schools than they would in a regular setting. Other studies have produced similar findings.

In spite these results, DeVos is using her new position to align herself with supporters of virtual schools. Read “DeVos praises virtual schools, but new research points to problems,” on the Hechinger Report Website.

March 10, 2017

The Texas High School Graduation Rate Is Higher Than the National Average

In 2014, Texas’ graduation rate was 88.3 percent, an all-time high for the state. This marks the seventh consecutive year the rate has increased.
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March 9, 2017

Study: School Vouchers Aren’t a Proven Strategy for Improving Student Achievement

A new study by Stanford University Professor and Economic Policy Institute (EPI) Research Associate Martin Carnoy shows that voucher programs that promote private schools have done little, if anything, to improve educational attainment.

The study is timely for Texas. The Legislature is currently debating offering school vouchers (in the form of educational savings accounts) and tax-credit scholarships. Carnoy says voucher programs in cities including Milwaukee, Dayton, and Washington, D.C., and states including Indiana, Louisiana, and Florida show that vouchers do not significantly improve student achievement.

“If we want to give parents a real ‘choice’ of quality schools, we should invest in neighborhood public schools with a menu of proven policies,” said Carnoy. “All of these yield much higher returns that the minor gains that have been estimated for voucher students.”

March 7, 2017

Texas Public Schools Welcome All Students

Texas public schools welcome all students, while charter and private schools choose who they will admit.
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March 6, 2017

Taxparency Texas Video Explains Where Your Property Tax Dollars Actually Go

This video by Taxparency Texas explains that Texas property taxpayers often don’t realize that higher school taxes paid because of growth in local property values actually benefit the state’s general revenue fund, not school districts.

March 2, 2017

Student Enrollment Rises, State Per-Student Funding Decreases

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Each year, Texas schools admit an additional 80,000 students.

February 27, 2017