College Station—A report released by the Texas Educational Excellence Project (TEEP) finds that African American students continue to improve their performance in Texas. While improvements are being made throughout the state, some districts are making more impressive gains while other districts show room for much need improvement. Statewide averages allow TEEP to pinpoint and rank the 25 schools districts that are doing the best job of educating African American students. This allows other districts to consider the policies and programs used by the top school districts in order to improve the quality of education and student performance. TEEP researchers are aware that there are differences across the various districts that must be considered. In order to take these factors into consideration, TEEP uses an analytical technique that allows them to control for such factors as financial resources, teacher quality, and district policies. This method provides insight into how these constraints affect the performance of African American students. Ferris ISD is an excellent example of the success that can be achieved when proactive measures are taken to improve the education of students. Ferris, which is ranked first among Texas school districts in this report, has approximately a 10% African American population. Ferris has adopted initiatives such as a pre-K program that identifies students that are able to attend school early in order to attend school early, in addition to a quality nutritional program. Ferris also uses a Reading Recovery Program, which allows first and second graders who need to sharpen their reading skills to work closely with a teacher. Another program Ferris has adopted is an Accelerated Reader Program in which junior high and high school students are regularly tested on their knowledge of assigned material. This program has been attributed to improving ACT and SAT scores. The top ranked schools represent a diverse spectrum of Texas school districts. The ranking recognizes both small and large districts. In addition, TEEP specifically ranks those schools that have more than 15,000 students. The top rate large school is Galena Park followed by Aldine and Abilene ISD. These districts have performed well over the years. Rankings for all districts and statistical data can be found at http://teep.tamu.edu/.
The Texas Educational Excellence Project seeks to apply scholarly research to educational policy issues in order to make recommendations for greater quality and equity in Texas school systems. TEEP is a joint program of Texas A&M's George Bush School of Government and Public Service and the university's Department of Political Science, with research associates at the University of Texas - Pan American, University of Texas at Dallas and Oakland University.Click here to to go directly to the full report