Doing Something Right—the Real Story of Texas Public Schools

The folks at Friends of Texas Public Schools perform a signal public service by compiling from time to time the evidence of effective work—in spite of inadequate funding—carried out by public schools in Texas and the nation. We encourage you to check out the 2011 edition of the Friends’ flier, captioned:  “Great things are happening in Texas Public Schools,” which you’ll find at this Web address:

Items included in their litany:

–Since 2003, passing rates on every TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) exam at every grade level have improved dramatically. This year passing rates on 23 of 27 subjects tested were in the 80 percent to 99 percent range.

–The on-time graduation rate for the Class of 2010 was 84.3 percent, some 3.7 percent higher than the year before. Rates for African American and Hispanic students rose 5 percent or more over the prior year.

–Every major ethnic group scored higher on the National Assessment of Educational Progress science exam for eighth graders than did their peers nationally. All major ethnic groups in Texas ranked in the top ten nationally. Hispanic eighth-graders ranked seventh, African American eighth-graders ranked eighth, and White eighth-graders ranked second in the nation.

–Controlling for socioeconomic factors, U.S. students rank number one in reading, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).  Compared to ten countries with similar poverty rates, U.S. schools with a poverty rate of less than 25 percent ranked first. U.S. schools with poverty rates exceeding 25 percent also outperformed any other country tested.