Message for Texas State Senate

Dear Texas Senate,

It is unfortunate that you feel the need to vilify our Texas public schools because your top campaign contributions come from folks who are determined to see vouchers finally pass. Condemning our public schools and casting harsh accusations of widespread failure is not only disrespectful and counterproductive, it is just flat inaccurate. Doing so for the benefit of a corrupted ideology seeking profit on the backs of our taxpayers from the billions invested in public education is reprehensible.

The public schools across this great state, including those in the heart of our largest metropolitan areas, are achieving extraordinary success in spite of your toxic rhetoric and lack of support. I recognize that you don’t want to hear it or read it because this reality contradicts your political and personal agendas, but if you should have even the slightest hint of curiosity about these public school achievements to which I refer, or any respect at all for those who’ve dedicated their lives to serving Texas in the classroom, please continue reading the sourced information below.

For those of you serving in the Senate who may be reasonably minded Texans and open to objectively learning more about our schools first-hand versus trusting what you read and hear as the gospel, I invite you to invest a full day on any public school campus in Texas to experience it for yourself. I will personally make those arrangements for you if you have the courage to accept.

Scott Milder
Founder & CEO
Friends of Texas Public Schools
214-497-6411 cell

Texas high school graduation rate hits record high for 6th consecutive year

The Texas high school on-time graduation rate, which is the percentage of 9th graders completing high school 4 years after they start, has set an all-time high, reaching 88% for the Class of 2013. An additional 4.6% continued high school and .8% earned a GED. This marks the sixth consecutive year the graduation rate has increased, up from 78% in 2007.

STAAR® end-of-course results strong for Texas high school students

High school students posted strong passing rates for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) end-of-course exams in Biology, Algebra I and U.S. History. Passing rates include 93% for Biology, 92% for US History, and 86% for Algebra I.

The Texas graduation gap narrows sharply since 2007

The Texas high school graduation gap between the white student population and minorities has narrowed by well over half between 2007 and 2013. The graduation rate for African-American students rose 13.4 percentage points, from 70.7% in 2007 to 84.1% in 2013, while the graduation rate for white students rose 4.8 percentage points during the same period, from 88.2% to 93%. The graduation rate for Hispanic students jumped a remarkable16.6 percentage points, from 68.5% in 2007 to 85.1% in 2013.

Texas students rank high in comparison of top performing nations

Texas students beat Finland, England, Germany, France, and most other countries around the world when translating their scores on NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) to results on TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), the same benchmark so often used by critics and reformers to demonstrate how far behind American students are from the rest of the world. Texas students rank 8th in the world in math and 11th in science. The National Center for Education Statistics linked the scale of NAEP to the scale of TIMSS so that states can reasonably compare the performance of their students with those in other countries.

Texas holds braggin’ rights for highest graduation rates in America

When compared to their peer groups in all other states, Asian students in Texas rank No. 1 in the nation, Hispanic students rank No. 2 behind Maine, African-American students tied Montana for No. 1, White students are No. 1, and Economically Disadvantaged students in Texas are No. 1 in the nation.

U.S. students rank No. 1 internationally in reading

When comparing students in similar socio-economic groups, U.S. students rank first in the world in reading, as measured by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Though overall Finland out scores the U.S. in reading with a PISA score of 536 to 500, Finland is at a distinct advantage with a poverty rate of only 3.4%. The U.S. poverty rate is 21.7% and climbing. In this comparison the U.S. ranks 12th out of 23 ranked countries. However, when comparing U.S. schools with less than 10% poverty to those countries with less than 10% poverty, U.S. ranks No. 1 with a PISA score of 551, beating even Finland.

School leaders are good stewards of taxpayer dollars

Contrary to popularly held beliefs, only 3% of the public school budget across the state is allocated to central administration operations and salaries. On the flipside, 61% is allocated to teacher pay, curriculum, instructional materials, and classroom aides. The rest falls into support categories such as transportation, cleaning and maintaining buildings, heating and cooling, library services, counseling, technology, meals, and medical services. All extracurricular activities amount to only 3% of the budget, and that includes football.

Texas ISD’s Outperform Their Charter School Counterparts on State Ratings

The new Texas accountability ratings reveal that 92.59% percent of school districts across Texas have achieved the rating of Met Standard. The percentage of charter schools earning the “Met Standard” rating was 81.77%. Districts, campuses and charters receive one of three ratings under the accountability system: Met Standard; Met Alternative Standard; or Improvement Required.

Student participation in AP exams more than doubles over last decade

The number of Texas graduates taking at least one Advanced Placement exam has more than doubled during the past decade. The number of low-income graduates taking at least one AP Exam has more than quadrupled. According to the College Board’s 10th Annual AP Report to the Nation, Texas students in the Class of 2013 again made a strong showing. The report shows the number of Texas students who scored 3 or higher on an AP exam (52,167) in 2013 was greater than the number of all Texas high school students who took an AP exam in 2003 (48,500).

Texas students kicked butt during the TAKS era

The exit-level TAKS math passing rate rose from 44% in 2003 to 90% in 2011. The English passing rate rose from 61% in 2003 to 95% in 2011. The science passing rate jumped more than 40 points, from 47% in 2003 to 91% in 2011.