Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rick Perry and Education in Texas

After reading Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's attack Rick Perry and his efforts in Texas regarding education, I figured it was just another Democrat's attack on a Republican candidate.

Not being a fan of Perry myself, I decided to take a look. I found a lot of information at the National Journal. What I found was far from inspiring:

The Lone Star State lags the rest of the nation badly in high school graduation rates. Among people older than 25, only 79.9 percent of Texans have a high school degree—the lowest rate in the country, according to the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey. California doesn’t fare much better at 80.6 percent, but other large states do: New York’s graduation rate stands at 84.7 percent, and Florida’s is 85.3 percent.
I have to wonder if Texas poverty level has a lot to do with this:
Texas suffers from one of the highest poverty rates in the country. Seventeen percent of its residents lived below the federal poverty level in 2009, according to the Census Bureau. That was the eighth-highest rate in the country. Texas has the sixth-highest poverty rate for children at 24 percent; the national average is 20 percent.
Critics of Perry and the state’s conservative Legislature argue that the widespread poverty, large number of uninsured people, and low high school graduation rate tell the real story of economic growth in Texas. It stems, they say, mainly from cheap and unskilled labor rather than from the kind of investment and innovation that improve long-term competitiveness. “We are a state that wants to have a workforce that looks more like Canada’s, but every year, it’s looking more like Mexico’s,” said state Rep. Mike Villarreal, a Democratic lawmaker from San Antonio. “It’s becoming less educated, and income equality is rising.”
There really is a lot of information in this article if you're interested in learning more.

One of the charts that popped out for me, was the following:

I noticed Massachusetts vs Texas numbers:
  • Massachusetts No. 1 in those completing college, Texas No. 30
  • Massachusetts No.1 in residents with Health Insurance, Texas No. 50
  • Massachusetts No. 1 in children with health insurance, Texas No. 50.

Is Perry being picked on?  You decide.

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Anonymous said...

It is clear that much of Perry's success came at a heavy cost.

Those numbers on Education and access to health care are terrible.

larry said...

I don't know how any Republican can look at Perry's overall record and say to themselves that they would want those results on a national scale.

craigs said...

Send this chart to Sean Hannity. He is obviously totally confused about education......or, perhaps just not too smart, like Perry.Maybe this is why Bush went to Yale and Perry went to Texas A & M. Couldn't get in anywhere else.


Machtyn said...

Before we throw too much weight into these statistics, we do need to remember that TX is a Mexican border state. I think the comparison to CA is fair, but look how low CA was. I'd be interested to see where NM and AZ fall into these graphs.

Look, Romney is my guy and I think Perry is not at all - he's got too much other baggage. But I think a Perry fan may be able to counter-point this topic fairly well.

I am more curious about this Washington Post article, though. While I think it is a bit of a hit piece (only because of the timing of the article), it does raise an interesting point into our education becoming a police state. It is fraught with fraud (potentially). What is stopping the police from writing every child a ticket to generate revenue for the city when there is little recourse for the accused?

Noelle said...

I have one anecdotal story about education in Texas. It doesn't prove anything, but it makes me stop and think.

I have a friend who moved here so her husband could attend dental school. They are an 'older' family, and have 4 children, their oldest just started middle school.

They are originally from Utah. In Utah their son did not perform particularly well in school. He needed extra help to succeed. They moved to Texas. Their mom (my friend) talked to the school about her son, concerned that he receive the help he needed. They told her that her son was doing just fine, and that his work didn't indicate any kind of lapse or anything.

I don't know what that means. Does it means that the expectations and requirements in Texas are significantly lower than they are in Utah? Does it mean that their move to Texas coincided with their son's leap in development?

I don't know exactly how he is performing in school now, so I can't really throw my state into the mix, but it makes me wonder.

The statistics provided in this post, together with the experience of my friend, cause me to think that the expectations in Texas are not too high.

Ann said...

As an educator, I can tell you Perry's numbers are horrible.

Noelle, tell your friend that The expectations have been lowered there for her son and that she needs to advocate for him and demand to see what evaluations they are using to determine he's doing fine.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the percentage of illegals are in the state of TX? Are they (or their children) part of the poverty/low graduate problem?

craigs said...

Atlantic had a great commentary this morning that we should all think about and forget the " nattering nabobs of negativity " in the MSM that need bad news to sell Viagra.
The point. Romney would be the Jobs candidate if he had been Governor of Texas and Perry would have been lucky to get anything through a Mass legislature. The point is that neither guy had much to do with the results ...good or bad. That is just the nature of the position.
I do think that a Governor can lead his party , particularly if his party controls the state legislature and that Perry probably should get little credit for what was in place 12 years ago, but ample discredit for what he proposed on his watch, like the Gardisil mandate.


Anonymous said...

It is impossible to ignore the fact that Texas is a border state with Mexico, and has a high degree of unskilled, uneducated illegal, and perhaps, legal workers. Trying to take native Spanish speakers and educate them is challenging, but it is not nearly so challenging as trying to change a culture that does not value education!

Some of the high numbers of drop outs must be attributed to a clash of cultures.

One of the radio hosts in Arizona was speaking about education on his show. A caller called in, and I will never forget what he said. He said that he is hispanic, and that we will never achieve educational success with hispanics until this aspect of their culture is changed. This caller then spoke about the experience of his family as immigrants. At first, his father encouraged his children to get a good education. Then when the dad realized how long it takes and how difficult it is to get a good education, he began telling his children to "just go get a good factory job." The caller said that he had not listened to his dad, and had chosen to become a lawyer; he was currently a success in his chosen field. His siblings had not fared so well.

Here in Arizona, we not only have a high number of hispanics, we also have a high number of Native Americans, all of whom affect the numbers used in national comparisons.

The real problem is that the Left is so politically correct that they insist that "all cultures are equal." While I admit that there are things to admire in most, if not all cultures, there are bad things, as well. The macho image of the men that forces young hispanic girls not to appear to be smarter than their boyfriends is something that should be changed, for example.

Enough! My two brothers who live in Texas describe Perry as "a nothing," and "the lesser of two evils in the Governor's race" clearly do not have a high opinion of him!


TexasConservative said...

I am going to have to disagree with all you Romney fans on your attack of Perry regarding education in Texas. Sometimes the numbers don't tell the story. And in this case, I believe that to be true.

There are a lot of illegal kids who go to school in Texas. There are also a lot of legal kids from Mexico who attend school. In addition, with the hurricanes hitting Louisiana and Texas taking in most of those evacuees, many of those families stayed.

My kids attend public school in Texas. Their high school is ranked in the top 100 in the country. Now you can argue that I live in an area where the property taxes pay into a good school system. That is true. But we also have numerous students who are as I described above. That brings down some of the testing scores as well as the graduation rates even for our excellent school system. A lot of money goes into trying to help those students achieve better grades and graduate on time.

AZ had a good point of comparing Texas to California, Arizona and New Mexico rather than to MA.

Pablo said...

Not sure why everyone is blaming the illegals in Texas. Culturally, a state that proudly elects Rick Perry, a man who barely finished at Texas A&M with a 1.9, is not a state that is going to prize education. The low education success seems about right to me.

Machtyn said...

This post is not advocating for one candidate or another.

"A lot of money goes into trying to help those students achieve better grades and graduate on time."

Perhaps we should stop spending so much money on students who don't want to learn - as they are likely pulling down the access to education that more motivated children desire. I have heard one person suggest that after the 6th grade, if a student wishes to work the fields or the factory for their subsistence, let them. I'm not sure 6th grade is the best time, but certainly when they hit 15 or 16, they should be able to make the choice. Not everyone has the ability to be a doctor, rocket scientist or even a literary genius.

Stephen Monteith said...

TC, if the low education scores are, as you say, mainly attributable to immigration, both legal and illegal, from Mexico, then Governor Perry's immigration policies are a factor in his education standing. He's been governor for 11 years, as people keep reminding us. If he'd passed any sort of meaningful, effective reform, then it would have included measures designed to address immigrants in public schools. And if there were such measures, and if they were effective, then the immigration quotient wouldn't be dragging down the scores to a significant degree. Again, it's on Perry.

school funding said...

If Perry managed Texas like this for many years, what do you think his performance will be if he won the presidency? He had just proven that he is incapable.