Friday, August 3, 2007

Since When Did Education Matter?

Oh, that's right...always. It has always mattered. Texas has seemed to catch this drift, ranking high among states in spending in education. However, it's not spending that's the problem. It's spending in the right places that's important. Is it really alright for superintendents to receive high percentage increases while teachers rates stay drastically lower? Why should only roughly 50 cents on the dollar make it to the classroom and their teachers?

Lately on the federal level education has been taking the backseat to slightly more pressing issues with the war in Iraq, social security, and health care. This means that now more than ever the states need to step up and really push for better reform in schools. Not too long ago a bill proposed to issue tax-free books failed (yet again) to make it through the legislature. Just last week I purchased books for the new school year, and I am looking at spending $500 just to buy books just for the Fall 2007 semester!

Recently Texas decided to drop the top 10 percent rule, meaning that universities will no longer be required to admit students simply because they had a high enough GPA in relation to their peers. If I had to say one thing, I would say this is a step in the right direction. I am not saying grades are unimportant, but I am saying that it should not be the only thing that matters. I recall upon a friend of mine named Mitch that always took upper level classes so he could challenge himself. Well Mitch was also a football player and a member of many student organizations, and in the end he pulled B's in these tough classes. When he barely dropped out of the top 10 percent, he was denied admittance to UT, despite good SAT scores and his extracurricular activities. One year later he is finally able to transfer from a satellite school, but he missed out on a year of a better education simply because of this shortsighted rule. Thank god for this, and I hope that we only progress our education system with more reforms such as these, taking away from the standardized nature of 'no child left behind.'


zhanga said...

I think this is a very appropriate topic to consider, especially since our class's fourth discussion board deals with the top 10 percent rule. Obviously all of us in this class find education to be an important investment, and the way that the state spends funds on education is extremely relevant to our future.

However, I had a few comments for your post. First, I just wanted to inquire as to where you found your information. I have not heard anything about the elimination of the top 10 percent rule. Last I heard, there were proposals in the Texas Senate for a bill that would get rid of the rule, but I didn’t realize that the bill had been passed already. If so, I agree with you that perhaps this was a step in the right direction for Texas. I, too, knew of many deserving students who were unable to gain acceptance to schools of their choice simply because they were not ranked in the top 10 percent of the class. Like you, I agree that admission into college should depend on more than just grades.

I also wanted to question your statement regarding the high ranking of education spending in Texas. According to the article, “Texas on the Brink,” Texas ranks 38th among all states on spending for public elementary-secondary education. However, I agree with you that more emphasis should be placed on how this money is spent, not just how much money is spent.

Overall, your article was very intriguing, and I thought you brought up really valid points regarding education spending in Texas.

KSeago said...

This is an excellent topic, and you make some good arguments, but you're off base on a couple of items. Texas doesn't spend much AT ALL per capita on K12 education. We do better when it comes to higher ed, but still not great. Top 10% is alive and well, but it does generate scrutiny every legislative session.