Texas is far from perfect when it comes to education. If it were, I would be out of a job. That said, we are certainly not doing as quite as badly as Paul Krugmans recent op-ed would have you believe. Yes, we have problematic ACT/SAT scores, and we should be doing all we can to get those scores higher. The same goes for our graduation rates. But one conclusion one could draw from the Krugman piece is that the non-union model that Texas teachers work under is part of the problem.
Not so, says this piece from Iowahawk. Stacked against Wisconsin, currently the most public face of unionized education, Texas outperforms the Badger State in almost every 4th and 8th grade category on the N.A.E.P. (National Assessment of Education Progress). The gaps were especially wide in Texas’ favor for minority students.
It should be stressed, again, that Texas has a lot of work to do in public education. We need fewer restrictions on charter and virtual schools. We need to free up school districts from state and federal mandates that are financially harmful and prevent school districts from operating in a manner that best suits their student body. Our N.A.E.P. scores may be better than Wisconsin’s, but they are still not impressive, and more importantly, have not improved measurably in the last twenty years. The point here is that a big government/pro union approach does not necessarily make for better K-12 education, as the Krugman piece might lead you to believe.