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« Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 924 -- There Is Still A Land Of Opportunity In America, And It's Called Texas. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 926 -- Detroit Versus Texas Suburbs. »

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 925 -- Education.

With No Collective Bargaining, Texas Outperforms Wisconsin, Nation-

In recent weeks, the domestic political debate has turned to the relative performance of states, economically, educationally, and otherwise. If you've read WILLisms.com over the past few years, you know that conservative Republican Texas pretty well dominates in most economic categories, especially compared to the most liberal states such as Rhode Island and California.

Texas' dominance has sparked a hunkering down, if you will, from liberal commentators and activists. They are fighting to defend their failed left-wing policies, and Texas-- as the embodiment of all (justified) right-wing braggadocio-- is in their cross-hairs. For example, with Wisconsin stealing the headlines over the past month, you've seen a spirited defense of public sector unions and an attack on right to work policies, from the left.

Many on the left have resorted to essentially conceding that, yes, Texas is creating more jobs or whatever, but that doesn't translate to long-term success, because Texas is still filled with poor, uneducated people who are going nowhere in life because the mean Republicans are keeping them down.

Blogger Iowa Hawk really just laid the wood to Paul Krugman and all the other nattering nanny state naysayers on this one:

...white students in Texas perform better than white students in Wisconsin, black students in Texas perform better than black students in Wisconsin, Hispanic students in Texas perform better than Hispanic students in Wisconsin. In 18 separate ethnicity-controlled comparisons, the only one where Wisconsin students performed better than their peers in Texas was 4th grade science for Hispanic students (statistically insignificant), and this was reversed by 8th grade. Further, Texas students exceeded the national average for their ethnic cohort in all 18 comparisons; Wisconsinites were below the national average in 8, above average in 8.

Perhaps the most striking thing in these numbers is the within-state gap between white and minority students. Not only did white Texas students outperform white Wisconsin students, the gap between white students and minority students in Texas was much less than the gap between white and minority students in Wisconsin. In other words, students are better off in Texas schools than in Wisconsin schools - especially minority students.

Conclusion: instead of chanting slogans in Madison, maybe it's time for Wisconsin teachers to take refresher lessons from their non-union counterparts in the Lone Star State.

Some numbers and graphics to ruminate on:

2009 4th Grade Math
White students: Texas 254, Wisconsin 250 (national average 248)
Black students: Texas 231, Wisconsin 217 (national 222)
Hispanic students: Texas 233, Wisconsin 228 (national 227)

Fourth grade math scores, sorted by state:


Fourth grade math scores, sorted by race:



2009 8th Grade Math
White students: Texas 301, Wisconsin 294 (national 294)
Black students: Texas 272, Wisconsin 254 (national 260)
Hispanic students: Texas 277, Wisconsin 268 (national 260)

Eighth grade math scores, sorted by state:


Eighth grade math scores, sorted by race:



2009 4th Grade Reading
White students: Texas 232, Wisconsin 227 (national 229)
Black students: Texas 213, Wisconsin 192 (national 204)
Hispanic students: Texas 210, Wisconsin 202 (national 204)

Fourth grade reading scores, sorted by state:


Fourth grade reading scores, sorted by race:



2009 8th Grade Reading
White students: Texas 273, Wisconsin 271 (national 271)
Black students: Texas 249, Wisconsin 238 (national 245)
Hispanic students: Texas 251, Wisconsin 250 (national 248)

Eighth grade reading scores, sorted by state:


Eighth grade reading scores, sorted by race:



2009 4th Grade Science
White students: Texas 168, Wisconsin 164 (national 162)
Black students: Texas 139, Wisconsin 121 (national 127)
Hispanic students: Wisconsin 138, Texas 136 (national 130)

Fourth grade science scores, sorted by state:


Fourth grade science scores, sorted by race:



2009 8th Grade Science
White students: Texas 167, Wisconsin 165 (national 161)
Black students: Texas 133, Wisconsin 120 (national 125)
Hispanic students: Texas 141, Wisconsin 134 (national 131)

Eighth grade science scores, sorted by state:


Eighth grade science scores, sorted by race:



The RAND Corporation studied this phenomenon, as well, and confirmed that Texas students outperform their national counterparts.

And while we're on the topic of education, don't miss the two latest television ads from a project I've been working on with Tyson Culver of New Media Wins and the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility crew, Protect The Classroom:

Administrator Decisions-

Science Lab Disaster-

There is ample funding going into our schools. America as a whole spends far more per primary school student than all but three other countries and more on secondary school students than all but two countries in the world. The United States spends far more per student than many of our emerging competitors in the global economy. Far more. It's not even close.

It's not that we need more funding. We need to be a lot smarter and more efficient about our funding. Indeed, it's doable; it's been done in at least one Texas school district:

Hurst-Euless-Bedford began preparing for the budget crisis in 2006....

The district padded its fund balance using energy-saving lights in buildings and private water wells to maintain its sports fields. It also began charging teachers $40 a year to cover the cost of running classroom refrigerators and staggered school start times to use fewer buses.


"We knew there would at some point be a reckoning," Buinger said. "The state was digging a deep hole."

Faith Waligora, president of the H-E-B Council of PTAs, said she and other parents were relieved that the district avoided layoffs.

"They have monitored money very closely and carefully," Waligora said. "The hope is most parents won't even notice the cuts."

It's not a pipe dream to trim budgets and still produce excellent results. And Texas has a lot of room to trim.

Cut the fat.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Is The Center Of The Universe.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 21 March 2011 09:54 AM