The U.S. News & World Report is known for its ranking lists of colleges, grad schools, and online universities. Texas, which has a storied past with its public education system, has consistently nabbed the top spot in the publication’s Best High School rankings. For the fourth year in a row, a Dallas magnet school is in first place, and four other Texas high schools sit near the top of the national list.
But how does this square with the fact that Texas also spend less per student that almost every other state? Or the fact that Texas gets only a C- from Education Week?
Terrence Stutz, deputy Austin Bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, spoke to the Texas Standard about the state’s conflicting public education standards.
How does this ranking skew perceptions of the state’s system?
“If you’re looking at that list, it’s gonna reflect either magnet, specialized schools or it’s gonna reflect more affluent neighborhoods. There may be a few exceptions on there as you go down the list but I think, generally speaking, that’s why Texas looks good on that [list].”
Is this ranking an indication of what is happening in public education throughout Texas?
“I think there’s a lot of dissatisfaction with what’s happening in the schools. All you have to do is look at the legislature. They’ve got a raft of bills over there that deal with failing schools. A lot of attention this time on low-achieving schools. The SAT scores last year were down to the lowest level in more than 20 years in Texas.”
On how funding is related to the rankings:
“The funding is down. They’re doing some things right, but when it comes to some national measures like the SAT, or how much we’re spending per student, Texas does not fare very well.”