(Orange, Texas)

State News

June 24, 2013

Test scores highlight ineffective school funding


AUSTIN, Texas —

In the more affluent Frisco school district, north of Dallas, where just 12 percent of students are from low-income families, 85 percent passed.

Students in the Austin school district performed about on par with the state average. But students in the suburban Leander and Round Rock school districts passed many of the end-of-course exams required to graduate high school at a much higher rate.

In Austin, more than 55 percent passed the writing test, while 74 percent of Leander students who took the test passed, and 69 percent of Round Rock students who took the test passed.

The Austin school district outperformed other urban districts, as it usually does, in part because the appeal of living in Austin helps recruit and retain quality teachers, said Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin, a labor group that represents district employees. But the district can't count on that to last forever, he said.

"Long term, that's not enough," Zarifis said. "As we see people moving to other districts in Central Texas, we're going to have to find a way to attract people. That's going to be a hurdle that will continue to challenge AISD until we can find a way to pay our teachers."

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