Texas Ranks Low on Economics and Education Report

Texas ranks among the lowest states in regards to a child's chance for success, according to a report analyzing economics and education in the nation. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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The "Quality Counts" Report is issued every year by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center with support from the Pew Center on the States. The report measures each state by 13 success indicators, ranging from family income to high school graduation rates and postsecondary education. EPE Center Director Chris Swanson says they compared each state's performance to the national norm.

"If all states start, you know, on an even playing field with zero points and you get one point or two points, or take away one point or two points at each stage, you can think of this as steps along a path. If you're doing well, you're taking one or two steps forward at each stage, if you're doing poorly you're taking one or two steps back."

Texas falls almost at the bottom, with only Louisiana and New Mexico scoring lower on the scale. This assessment is based on more than just school performance. The Center's Lynn Olson says the report examines the pipeline from birth to adulthood.

"What we were really trying to do with this report was to suggest that there needs to be a stronger focus on education across that whole continuum."

Olson says the research indicates the success of a child is determined by much more than K-12 education.

"We're seeing a number of states now starting to focus on the importance of early childhood education to increase children's success once they start school. And then on the importance of linking what happens in elementary and secondary school to postsecondary education and the workforce so that kids have a smoother pathway into further learning, which is becoming increasingly important for adult success."

When compared to the national average, Texas scored statistically lower on nine of the 13 indicators. On two, kindergarten enrollment and elementary reading, Texas scored at the same level as the nation and on middle school mathematics and steady employment, the state scored statistically higher than the national average. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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