The following is my response to a reader’s recent comment on a posting I made earlier this year on Texas’ public schools.
Texas schools are far from perfect, I’m afraid, Alan. The quality of our schools varies from ISD to ISD. I know because I live in a city that is serviced by an overcrowded public high school to which I would not send a son or daughter, yet I teach in a city where the high school is exemplary (recognized according to TEA’s TAKS assessments). Our problems I judge, here in north central Texas, are social-economic/ethnic clustering, lack of bilingual teachers, and poor teachers’ pay. Many of the teachers in the city where I live are uncertified because the ISD here cannot afford to pay what it would take to attract and retain teachers who are both fully-qualified and experienced to work on “challenge” campuses.
Hmmm… maybe what we need, since market system forces of supply and demand don’t apply in government-provided service industries like public education, is “court-ordered” bussing of teachers.
I don’t subscribe to “Education Week,” but I came across an article last weekend in a past issue of the magazine while surfing the Net for material on a posting about quality education for my blog. The article says that… “A child born in Virginia is signifi- cantly more likely to experience success throughout life than the average child born in the United States, while a child born in New Mexico is likely to face an accumulating series of hurdles both educationally and economically.” This statement was made based on a “Chance-for-Success Index” which tracks state efforts to connect education from preschool through postsecondary education and training. The index was developed, by the way, with analysis done by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, part of the PEW Charitable Trusts network.
So, wondering where Texas was on this index, I dug a little deeper and went to the study itself. The researchers rated Texas 48, only 2 up from the very bottom, which is New Mexico. Heavens! I would have expected Texas to at least rate higher than Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. But, no; this independent, unbiased research center reached a different conclusion. You may see and download the report for yourself from http://www.edweek.org/media/ew/qc/2007/17shr.tx.h26.pdf.
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