The educational gains in Texas have been George W. Bush's major accomplishment as
governor, right? That is why they are the cornerstone of Bush's
campaign and why education appears prominently at the top of his Internet home
page and campaign literature. On
closer examination, however, no credible evidence could be found to support
Existing research consistently shows that nothing special has been
happening in Texas. State exam results (TAAS), which were used as the primary basis for exaggerated
performance gains, have been criticized in the press and shown to be untrustworthy by two independent research
papers published in peer-reviewed journals [Haney,
If Bush can't deliver on his "top priority"
how can we
expect him to deliver on less important issues?
The Bush campaign has pointed to a July 2000 RAND
as proof of their claims of educational improvement. However, the July
report looked at trends from 1990 to 1996 and failed to normalize for significant
effects such as the implementation of high-stakes testing in Texas in 1994--before Bush took office. Therefore, it is not valid to compare scores before
1994 against scores after 1994. Had the RAND report
confined its analysis
to the period 1994 onwards, they would have found that Texas has shown no
improvement relative to the rest of the country. In fact,
in an October 2000 RAND paper, Klein [Klein]
showed if we followed students in Texas public schools from 4th grade in 1994
to 8th grade in 1998, we would find that their improvement is slightly below the
national average for each of the following ethnic groups: whites,
African-Americans, and Hispanics. Klein also found that
the achievement gap in Texas between whites and people of color widened,
rather than narrowed as Bush has claimed.
These results are confirmed by other trusted sources. NAEP scores, SAT scores, and Texas state's
own TASP scores all show
that academic performance has not improved under Bush or has dramatically
declined [Haney]. Only
50% of minority students in Texas have been progressing from grade 9 to
high school graduation since Bush was elected in 1994 [stats]. Recent SAT scores
ranked Texas in the bottom four of all 50 states. TASP (a Texas college readiness test) results showed a
decrease (from 65.2% to 43.3%) in the percentage of students passing all three
parts (reading, math, and writing) [Haney]. The New York Times
that in February 1999, officials with the University of Texas system presented
a report to a Texas House subcommittee complaining of "marked declines in
the number of students who are prepared academically for higher education." And there are many other,
I could find no trustworthy data to support Bush's exaggerated claims
being made today that students' true academic proficiency dramatically improved on his watch. Every
piece of trusted independent data shows the opposite. Despite
many attempts, there has not been an explanation that has been proposed that explains how gains could be happening in
Texas while every other independent trusted indicator has remained flat or
Bush is a man who sees things as he wants to see
them, not as they really are.
ignored overwhelming scientific data on the academic progress in Texas.
He says he trusts us. But why should we trust him?
The only “miracle” that happened in Texas was
that Bush has been able to get away with telling the story of massive and impossibly
large improvements for so long without anyone questioning the real story. He has misled you, not on some
small inconsequential issue, but on what, by his own admission,
is the most important issue in America today. He says he believes in a
government that is accountable to the people. Will you hold him accountable?
That choice is
yours to make on November 7.
Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
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