Friday, August 12

"NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" FALTERS IN TEXAS

President Bush's much ballyhooed "No Child Left Behind" public education iniative (signed into law in 2001) appears to be faltering in his home state, where he was governor before becoming a two-term president. According to a "Houston Chronicle" (registration required) story by Jason Spencer, "900 Texas schools, including 52 in HISD, have failed to meet federal improvement standards." Spencer further reports that "the number of failing schools is ... double last year's total." Poor math scores among middle school and high school students appear to be the primary reason for the downturn in overall testing results. In the Lonestar state's two largest school districts -- Houston and Dallas -- 19% of the schools failed to make the grade.

There was no mention in the story of the impact of swollen illegal immigrant populations on test scores, but you can bet that's a part of the equation. Heretofore minority groups now form the majority in Texas, as I reported yesterday.

I would suggest that rigorous English-proficiency standards be incorporated into the Texas public education system. Hispanic parents are doing their school-age children a disservice by continuing to speak Spanish in their homes. This is not assimilation into America's culture. Only 51% of Hispanics ever earn a high school diploma in Texas. The language barrier has to be an integral element in this failure rate.