Exclusive to Cloaking Inequity: Retro School Finance Testimony


Ever wondered what prepared expert testimony for a school finance case looks like? Recently, Dr. Walt Haney, a Boston College Professor well-known for statistically debunking the Texas and Florida educational miracles, emailed me a copy of his expert report prepared for the previous Texas school finance adequacy case (West Orange-Cove v. Neeley). For those of you that really like to dig into the stats, I have linked his West Orange-Cove report here. I have posted this report with Haney’s permission and it is currently exclusive to Cloaking Inequity. Here is a summary of what you will find:

The essential findings from the analyses reported here may be summarized as follows.  First, the state of Texas has developed a system of accountability for rating schools and school districts in the state in terms of test scores, attendance rates and dropout rates.  Second, while the vast majority of Texas districts have been rated as acceptable or better over the last decade or so, dropout data on which these ratings have been based have been at best unreliable, and in some instances completely fraudulent.   Third, analyses of enrollment and graduation data show that according to the State’s own accountability standards, public education in Texas, in general, and in most large districts, is of unacceptable quality.  This leads to the conclusion that the state of Texas has not met its constitutional obligation to “ensure that all Texas children have access to a quality education that enables them to achieve their potential and fully participate now and in the future in the social, economic, and educational opportunities of our state and nation.” (West Orange-Cove Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Alanis, 107 S.W.3d 581  (quoting Tex. Educ. Code § 4.001(a)). (Tex. 2003).  In light of this conclusion it is not terribly surprising that according to recent independent reports, and a variety of social indicators, young people in Texas, even those who do graduate from high school, have relatively limited opportunities compared with youth in other parts of the U.S.

Even though it is a decade later, his findings sound strangely similar to 2012. Retro and contemporary at the same time.

BTW. Still working on the reliability of the recently released Texas graduation rate. TEA has not yet responded to my FOIA request. They have until 12/13/12.

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