If your child got a C-, would that be good enough?
The Texas education system received its annual report card from Education Weekly, a national publication that graded states and Washington DC. There were many parts of the grade including student’s chance for success, school finance and K-12 achievement.
The report rated the United System as a whole as a C, and Texas overall as a C-.
What’s really troubling about Texas’ grade is we are a state that has sustained economic health for years. Health bordering on wealth. Yet our education system doesn’t reflect it, at all. Texas school finance has a received a well earned D rating. Not surprising since it is before the courts again, because of the way it chooses to fund or, more to the point, not adequately fund school districts. We rank a dismal 49th of Adjusted Per-Pupil Expenditures. Critics can point out that our students still managed a C- on achievements, the national average with this laughable funding scheme, but that’s students succeeding despite the state they are in. Think where our students could be with proper funding and opportunities. We could have the workforce that would be the envy of any state. Instead, we’re below average. Where’s Texas pride and value of our greatest resource, our children?
The 84th Texas Legislature has made education a priority, therefore the school voucher scheme is once again on the agenda. A racket to transfer public tax dollars to private schools where the curriculum is controlled not by the tax payers, but private individuals with no guarantee of quality. We’re giving away our responsibilities to provide an excellent education to all students. Only time will tell what will become of school finance, but if history is any indication – we should be very worried.
As troubling as the finance situation is, the tale the report tells of Pre-K is even worse. The report shows that access to Pre-K is limited by Race and financial class. We rank 47th with enrollment of 3 and 4 year olds in poverty in Pre-K. Only 4 in 10 Hispanic children enroll in Pre-K. We only have 42.1% of children in Pre-K, a program that has shown conclusively the benefit to the success of its enrollees. We should have universal Pre-K available, but as it stands almost 56% of those attending Pre-K are paying out of pocket into a system that doesn’t even have consistent standards.
No one wants their child to fail. No business wants to hire someone that is below standards. But no one wants to just be … a little below average either. Our students could be truly exceptional and take up the mantel to change the world. Instead, we appear to be preparing a generation to be mediocre achievers.
Here’s a link to the report: Texas State Highlights 2015