A U.S. Census Bureau study shows that Texas again ranks last in the percentage of high school graduates.
The study released Tuesday shows that 77 percent of Texans age 25 and older had a high school degree in 2003, the same percentage as a decade earlier, when Texas ranked 39th in the country. Meanwhile, graduation rates in other states have improved and a record 85 percent of Americans have high school degrees.
Education reform was the central platform of “compassionate conservatism”, and the Texas experience was supposed to guide reform at the federal level. It quickly became obvious that the Texas miracle was about as ephemeral as the Massachusetts miracle of 1988, but no one has really paid attention. Basically, No Child Left Behind is a disaster even if you fund it, and the Bush administration hasn’t. They achieved good numbers for Texas by concealing the percentage of drop-outs from Houston-area high schools.
Two weeks ago, I spent some time in Fort Collins grading AP exams. Maybe 60% of the 500 educators present were high school teachers, the rest political scientists. I had expected a “purple” mix; a fair distribution of both blue and red state folks, certainly more diverse than what I see every day in Seattle. It was not to be. High school social science teachers understand as well as anyone what Bush is doing to the country and the educational system. They’ve had to deal with the various disastrous aspects of No Child Left Behind, and, from my informal, non-rigorous estimate, they favor Kerry at about a 9-1 clip. Kay, my table leader, taught in Houston, and thought that the best thing that ever happened to the school district was the promotion of Ron Paige.
Of course, you have to remember that many of them are members of the NEA, a terrorist organization. . .