Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Report Card to be completed for 82nd Texas Legislature

Prior to 2011 two states spent less per student on k-12 education than Texas: Utah and Nevada.

In 2011 the 82nd Texas Legislature cut funding for each student in Texas by 10.4% from 2011 to 2012, and then cut more in 2013.  Only two other states had cuts to k-12 education of the same or worse percentage of funding as Texas between 2011 and 2012: Kansas and Illinois.  Statewide many Texas districts were anticipating the cuts.  They were leaving positions vacant and unfilled before the January 2011 start of the 82nd Texas Legislature. Programs were also being cut that were considered lower priorities. It was very clear that Texas schools had been enjoying a period of great progress until 2011.  For some, such as Dallas, it had been a record setting time of improving graduation rates.  Most familiar with dropout prevention knew that was about to change. 

The following “report card” was made to document consequences from the decision of the 82nd Texas Legislature to cut $5.4 billion from education in Texas. Initial results are already evident in the CPI measurement.
82nd Texas Legislature Report Card: finishing out a decade of educational progress
(Right-click on image above and open link to see larger copy.)

The Graduation Rate and the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) above are calculated from the same four movements of student groups through high school: 9th to 10th, 10th to 11th, 11th to 12th and 12th to graduation. The difference is that the CPI calculation only uses these four transitions that happen within the same year by four different classes.  The Graduation Rate calculation covers these four transitions for the same class over a four year period.  Therefore the CPI is more timely and predictive than the Graduation Rate.  The CPI is not dealing with events that happened 2 and 3 years ago but is reflecting what is happening in high schools this year.
Notice how the CPI improvement has leveled off for 2011, the first classes to see effects from the cuts.
More variables related to achievement should be added to this report card, but graduation rates are probably the most critical of all measurements.  They are the most direct predictors of incarceration rates.  What price will Texas ultimately pay for this $5.4 billion “savings”? What will this Report Card for the 82nd Texas Legislature look like by 2015/16?