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Foster Care and Test Scores: Monday’s Show (November 9, 2015)

While the number of children in foster care has increased nationwide in the last five years — and the population of Harris County has increased since 2010 — the number of kids in foster care in the county over that time has dropped annually, based on the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count data and numbers from […]

While the number of children in foster care has increased nationwide in the last five years — and the population of Harris County has increased since 2010 — the number of kids in foster care in the county over that time has dropped annually, based on the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count data and numbers from Texas Child Protective Services. Is this a sign that Harris County’s doing something right?

On this edition of Houston Matters, we explore why Harris County’s bucking the national trend in foster care. We welcome your thoughts for Debra Page from TCPS, Ashley Harris from the advocacy group Texans Care for Children, and DeJuana Jernigan from DePelchin Children’s Center.

We also hear about foster care in Texas from the point of view of an adult who aged out of the system and now advocates for kids within it. And we hear about changes in that system designed to address instances of abuse and neglect.

Also this hour: The National Assessment of Educational Progress is the only standardized test given to public school students in all 50 states. It’s administered every two years to fourth and eighth graders. In his report Breaking the Curve, Matthew Chingos takes issue with how the NAEP test’s results are published, and says test scores of Texas students rank very differently compared to students in other states, depending on how the data is broken down. Chingos is a Senior Fellow at the D.C.-based liberal think tank the Urban Institute. He explains how he breaks down the data, and what it suggests about education in Texas.

Plus: After an ugly first three games, the Houston Rockets rebounded last week to win four straight. We discuss what we’ve learned so far about this year’s Rockets team and look ahead to the Texans’ lofty challenge next Monday against the 8-0 Cincinnati Bengals with Jeff Balke, writer for the Houston Press and Houstonia Magazine.

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