Education Indicators: Quality of Schools

Landers Brannon Education Research, Research Findings

Our public education system is a gateway for almost all children in our region to prepare themselves for success in life. Our communities are obliged to ensure that system provides a safe and high-quality education to all children enrolled, a consistent and equitable assessment of what they learn, and the ability to adapt to rapidly changing demographics to best achieve equitable outcomes for all students.

Research shows that quality child care in the first years of life has a lifelong impact on an individual’s physical, mental and social development. Providers, families, and public-sector budgets continued to be challenged to provide affordable quality care for the region’s children.

Academic performance, as often assessed through standardized testing, is the most broadly used determination of quality and equity. Differences in academic performance by campus and by school district often mirror other economic and land use patterns.

The higher education system is a gateway for youth to the full range of employment opportunities as well as an economic driver for the entire region.

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Exemplary Campuses by Race/Ethnicity

  • Hispanic and Black students remain significantly less likely to attend an Exemplary campus.
  • Since TAKS testing began, the gap between racial/ethnic groups has widened. Increased standards and the elimination of the Texas Projection Measure resulted in fewer schools earning an Exemplary accountability rating in 2011.
  • Note: The STAAR testing system replaced TAKS in Spring 2012.

Exemplary Campuses by County

  • After a significant increase in the number of Exemplary campuses since 2008, higher accountability standards in 2011 resulted in fewer Exemplary schools.
  • The smaller school districts have seen progress but are less stable, illustrated by Bastrop and Burnet counties having zero Exemplary campuses again in 2011.

Campus Safety

  • In recent years, the number of reported disciplinary incidents has decreased slightly, with drops in reported violence and substance abuse.

Perspectives on Drop-Outs

  • As in 2008, nearly 90% of survey respondents believe that a lack of parental involvement is an important factor in student drop-out or poor performance.
  • While not as strong, a majority also believe a non-working public school system, as well as the alternative priorities students may have, are factors in poor student performance.

Classroom Language Barriers

  • As the number of students who are learning English has soared, the number of teachers trained to teach in ESL classrooms has lagged behind, declining by 50% from 2006 to 2008 with minimal recovery since.