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The Good News about Texas Public Schools

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 8/06/2015

At ATPE, one of our primary goals is to unite our more than 100,000 members and serve as a powerful voice for public education. Every day we working with legislators at the state capitol and with media outlets statewide, sharing valuable insight from you—our state's educators—about issues that directly affect you and your students every day.

Most often, we field questions about school finance, standardized testing, vouchers, or social security. What we don't see enough of in the media headlines is the good news.

You've worked hard to develop your expertise, and you are investing your skills in Texas’s 5.2 million schoolchildren. Thank you!

When I look at our state's teachers, principals, and paras, I see the very definition of the word “professional.” No other profession has had to endure the scrutiny that Texas’s teachers and administrators have endured for the past several years. You've met these ever-evolving challenges by staying focused on the end game—a quality education for Texas’s kids.

And it's paying off. Because of your professionalism, and that of your colleagues, 26 Texas schools have been nominated for the 2015 national blue ribbon honors. And in 2014, the high school graduation rate increased to 88.3 percent, outpacing the national rate of 81 percent.

Far too often we hear politicians and skeptics say that Texas schools are failing.  That couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are some highlights from the past school year:
  • High school graduation hit record highs for the sixth consecutive year. The 88% rate in Texas outpaced the national rate of 81%
  • When compared to their peer groups for graduation in other states, Asian students in Texas rank #1 in the nation, Hispanic students rank #2, African American students tie for #1, white students are #1, and economically disadvantaged students in Texas are #1.
You’ve each taught, supported, encouraged, and cheered for that special student, regardless of their ethnic or religious background, their economic status, or their learning attitudes. I’m willing to bet every single one of you, whether or not you’re a classroom teacher, volunteer, administrator, or staff person has a story to share. There’s someone you’ve influenced, who’s overcome the odds and has succeeded in life. Take a moment and think about that person. You made their journey possible, and that’s what makes the sacrifices worth it.