Friends Poster 2016

State Says School Leaders Are Good Stewards of Tax Dollars

Nearly every school district in Texas earned the state’s highest rating for fiscal responsibility, known as FIRST, the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas. Ninety eight percent of Texas Public School ISDs earned the rating of Superior Achievement. Contrary to popularly held beliefs, only 3% of the public school budgets 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.

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Texas School Districts Earn State’s Highest Possible Ratings

The percentage of Texas public school districts meeting the state’s rigorous academic standards reached 95.8% in 2016. “That’s an incredible record of 978 wins and just 44 districts needing improvement, which hardly paints a picture of widespread failure,” said Scott Milder, Friends of Texas Public Schools founder and CEO.

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Texas Leads Nation in Early College High School Programs

Texas has more early college high school campuses and more students participating in early college high school programs than any other state in the nation.

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MEGA-STATES: AN OVERVIEW by the National Center for Education Statistics. Mega-States are California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas, which in total enroll close to 40% of the nation’s public school students:

Texas Leads U.S. in NAEP Eighth-Grade Mathematics Gains Among Mega-States

The average mathematics score for Texas eighth graders was 32 points higher in 2011 than in1990. This increase was larger than all the other Mega-States. Texas was also the only Mega-State to score higher than the national average in 2011.

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African-American Students in Texas Post Greatest Gains Among Mega-States on NAEP Math

African-American eighth-graders in Texas scored 42 points higher in 2011 than in 1990, which was a larger gain than in any of the Mega-States.

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Texas High School Graduation Rate Hits Record High for 7th 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 88.3% for the Class of 2014. An additional 4.3% continued high school and .8% earned a GED. This marks the 7th consecutive year the graduation rate has increased, up from 78% in 2007.

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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.

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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 2014. The graduation rate for African-American students rose 13.5 percentage points, from 70.7% in 2007 to 84.2% in 2014, 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 remarkable 17 percentage points, from 68.5% in 2007 to 85.5% in 2014.

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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.

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Texas Consistently Ranks Among Top 5 States With Highest Graduation Rates

Texas’ Class of 2015 ranked 4th in the nation with a statewide high school graduation rate of 89%, behind only Iowa, New Jersey, and Alabama. The Class of 2014 ranked 5th nationally with an 88.3% graduation rate, behind only Iowa, New Jersey, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The Class of 2013 ranked 3rd nationally with an 88% graduation rate, behind only Iowa and Nebraska. NOTE: Texas students and educators achieved these remarkable graduation rates despite elevated challenges over other states, including one of the highest percentages of students on free-and-reduced lunch, one of the highest percentage of students from a single-parent or no-parent home, and one of the highest percentages of Limited English Proficient (or no English at all) students.

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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.

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