According to public records, Texas education is nowhere near the top when compared to the other states.
- Texas is #49 in verbal SAT scores in the nation (493) and #46 in average math SAT scores (502).
- Texas is #33 in the nation in teacher salaries. Teacher salaries in Texas are not keeping pace with the national average. The gains realized from the last state-funded across-the-board pay raise authorized in 1999, which moved the ranking from 33 to as high as 26th in the nation, have disappeared over the last five years.
- Texas was the only state in the nation to cut average per pupil expenditures in fiscal year 2005, resulting in a ranking of #40 nationally; down from #25 in fiscal year 1999.
- Texas is #6 in the nation in student growth. The general student population in Texas public schools grew by 11.1% between school years 1999 and 2005, with the largest percent of growth seen among low income and minority children.
- Between school years 1999 and 2005, the number of central administrators employed by Texas public schools grew by 32.5%, overall staffing in public schools grew by 15.6%, while the number of teachers grew only 13.3%.
Despite the far less than spectacular performance in education, budget cuts for school districts across Texas has caused some panic for teachers, principals and superintendents. Classrooms continue to expand as the number of students in Texas schools continue to climb, but cutbacks target employees first rather than special programs.
According to the Houston Chronicle:
“Texas’ largest school systems are laying off teachers by the hundreds and thousands while hanging on to the tens of millions of dollars in their “rainy day” and reserve funds — and some in those communities, including some teachers, say that’s a bad idea.”
Whether or not there are millions on standby, the a very bad connection is obvious. The increase in the number of students should lead to the increase in the number of teachers and budget, but it seems the State of Texas has it backwards.