Texas students' 2012 SAT scores dropped 5 points since 2011. Unsurprising that the downturn coincides with our state government's 2011 education budget slashing.
Meanwhile, test participation rates are up. Hispanics and African-American participation have especially increased recently – 65 and 42 percent, respectively, since 2007.
Gov. Rick Perry praised the results. “The longevity of our state's economic success will be built on an educated workforce that can compete in the global marketplace,” he said. “I'm proud to see that the number of Texas students aiming for a brighter future is skyrocketing, and I remain committed to improving quality, efficiency and access to higher education.”
Well, Dick Perry, the increased participation is not an achievement. Texas's population has been booming steadily increasing for the last two decades, which leads obviously to higher SAT participation rates. The question is not how many students are in the system, but how our state is doing by them.
And on that score, these results are a failure. Our own Jamie Sanderson reported earlier this month:
Our friends at the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities have drawn our attention to a new report that shows state and local funding for preK-12 education in Texas is 11.2 percent below 2008 levels after adjusting for student growth and inflation. The report comes from another highly regarded non-partisan policy-research organization, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities based in Washington, D.C.
“These cuts have undermined our ability to educate our children and there will be consequences for the Texas economy,” said Chandra Villanueva, education policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. “Good schools and an educated workforce foster economic growth, and we are undermining our own recovery by reducing our investment in education.”
If you drain the education system, scores are definitely doing to drop. And that's exactly what's happening. Many schools are so short on money that they are forcing teachers to clean the schools and selling ad space on school buses.
Perhaps the most amazingly depressing fact about Texas education is this: only 47 percent of Texas students are graduating prepared for college.
We're literally failing our children. And in doing so, we're failing our state. Unless Texans elect a very different Legislature from the one we have in Austin now, expect those scores to drop again next year and the next after another round up education cuts coming in 2013.