Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Progress in Texas Schools shown by February TEA data release, but will budget cuts end this progress?

The newest Texas Education Agency enrollment and graduation data for Texas public schools was posted in February on the TEA web site. I have been working today to update the old graph posted only with the enrollment data for last year. With this new data the progress that is happening in Texas schools is more than amply documented. Here is the initial draft of the graph I have made with the new data:

Click on the above chart to see a bigger copy. All four of these measurements tracked in the graph increased from 1.4 to 3.5 percentage points this past year alone with this update!  This is wonderful progress for schools representing 4,900,000 students! It is also significant progress on four measurements tracking the most critical factor in our school system, the deadly dropout rate. No single variable contributes more consistently to the crime rate in Texas than the dropout rate.

The probability of this progress continuing is in danger with the currently planned cuts in education funding in Texas. The time is long overdue to correct the state and local taxing systems in Texas. The 20% of families with the lowest incomes pay the highest percentage, 12.2% of their income, in state and local taxes.  The richest 100,000 Texan families, the 1% of the state with incomes over $463,000 annually, only pay 3% of their income in state and local taxes.  We have a problem! Texas definitely has the money. We only need to decide that education is a priority. See

Here is a report card to use in helping to communicate the message to legislators that we will be watching for the effects of their current refusal to address equal tax rates for all Texans but instead cutting public education:

If anyone wants a copy of the spreadsheet, and all the numbers used in creating the charts above, please email  I will continue to work on these charts to make them more useful. Ideas are welcome! Due to the budget crisis here in Texas it is urgent such updates on the wonderful progress in Texas education are known.  The damage a 15% cut in funding for education would do to this progress is frightening!