2006 Reports

  • Title:
    The Best School for African American Students in Texas 2002-2005
  • Author(s):
    Corey Farrar, Beloit College
    Daniel Hawes, Texas A&M University

  • Date:
    April 2005
  • Abstract:

    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.


  • Title:
    The Best School for Latino Students in Texas 2002-2005
  • Author(s):
    Claudia Munoz, Prarie View A&M UNiversity
    Daniel Hawes, Texas A&M University

  • Date:
    April 2005
  • Abstract:

    College Station—A report released by the Texas Educational Excellence Project (TEEP) finds that Latino 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 improvement. Statewide averages allow TEEP to pinpoint and rank the school districts that are doing the best job of educating Latino students. Other districts may be able to improve the quality of education and student performance by implementing the policies and programs used by the top school districts.

    2005 Reports

  • Title:
    The Best School for Latino Students in Texas
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Daniel Hawes, Texas A&M University
    Stephen Sargent, Texas A&M University
    Nick Theobald, Kansas University
  • Date:
    April 2005
  • Abstract:

    The education of minority students is a pertinent concern for education leaders and policy-makers in Texas. In recent years, minority students have made significant gains on the state exams. However, Latino students’ tests scores continue to lag behind Anglo test scores. Latino students, however, have made great strides in closing this gap. In 1996, 54.2% of Latino test-takers passed the TAAS, compared to 79.8% for Anglo students, a gap of 25.6 percentage points. By 2002, Latino students cut this gap in half to 12.8 percentage points, scoring an average of 79.7% compared to an average of 92.5% for Anglos in that year. Indeed, this is evidence of significant progress. However, these statewide gains are not evenly distributed across all districts. Some school districts have made more substantial gains while others have fallen behind. The Texas Educational Excellence Project believes that by identifying those districts that do a better job in educating Latino students, Latino test performance can be further improved. The programs and policies used by the exemplary districts may then be used as a standard by which other districts can measure and improve their own performance.


  • Title:
    The Best School for African-American Students in Texas
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Daniel Hawes, Texas A&M University
    Stephen Sargent, Texas A&M University
    Nick Theobald, Kansas University
  • Date:
    February 2005
  • Abstract:

    Minority students in Texas have consistently improved their scores on the Statewide TAAS exam. The 2003 TAKS exam shows that the gap between African American students and Anglo students’ scores continues to narrow. Though African American students have made significant improvements the score gap remains a serious issue. However, despite statewide disparities there are several districts that are doing excellent. The Texas Educational Excellence Project believes that in order to improve black tests scores, the school districts that do a better job of educating black students should be identified. Other districts can improve performance by applying the programs and policies of successful districts.


    2004 Reports

  • Title:
    Summer Employment Disproportionately Influences Latino Dropout Rates
  • Author(s):
    Eric Juenke, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    May 2004
  • Abstract:

    This paper examines the role of the macro-economy in the Latino dropout problem. Specifically, it looks at the effects of the county unemployment rate on Latino and Black district dropout rates. Previous studies have used unemployment rates to look at differences in causes of Latino and Black dropouts, but this paper specifies a more realistic process. Namely, it is not the absolute unemployment rate that contributes to Latino dropout behavior, rather it is the change in unemployment from one summer to the next that compels Latino students to consider leaving school. I analyze each racial group separately from 1997-98 to 2001-02, using Texas school district data and ordinary least squares methods. After controlling for other potential causes of Latino and Black dropout rates, I find differential effects across groups. Increases in the Latino dropout rate are observed in districts with increasing summer employment, all else equal. As the theory suggests, these macro-economic effects are not observed using Black dropout rates. Beyond these divergent results, the paper presents an improved research design for examining the relationship between the macro-economy and dropout behavior.

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  • Title:
    Organizations, Structure, and Diverse Clientele: An Examination of Decentralization, Organizational Performance, and the Latino Dropout Problem
  • Author(s):
    Holly T. Goerdel, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    March 2004
  • Abstract:

    Does organizational structure matter to program performance? This study addresses this question by focusing on how decentralization within an organization affects performance, generally. More specifically, it extracts expectations from the general concept to evaluate whether decentralization induces positive (negative) outcomes for organizations serving diverse clientele. Public education provides the context for the investigation. Findings demonstrate that administrative decentralization contributes positively to organizational performance, especially when faced with diversity. These expectations are then extended to evaluate another salient issue in education: the Latino dropout problem. While administrative decentralizion does not significantly decrease the Latino dropout rate (when utilizing a basic education production function), evidence supports the inclusion of such a variable in a more comprehensive model of Latino dropouts.

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    2003 Reports

  • Title:
    Spare the Rod, Suspend the Child?: Discipline Policy and High School Dropouts
  • Author(s):
    Rene R. Rocha, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    December 2003
  • Abstract:

    Recent events have put a spotlight on the issue of school discipline. While some contend that harsher discipline policies improve student performance because they foster a safer educational environment, others argue that they impair student success and disproportionately target minorities. Using data from a 184 school districts in Texas, I examine the differing ways in which disciplinary actions influence Anglo, Latino, and African-American student achievement. Evidence provided by this study supports those who contend that suspensions are often used to "push out" students. Also, the results indicate that discipline policies have a much more potent impact among minorities than they do among Anglos. The finding is most consistent for African-Americans. Thus, the increased emphasis placed on harsher disciplinarily policies in recent years may produce negative consequences that policymakers do not intend.

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  • Title:
    Bilingual Education: Cause or Cure?
  • Author(s):
    Nick A. Theobald, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    November 2003
  • Abstract:

    Proponents and opponents of bilingual education argue that it affect Latino dropout rates; with proponents arguing that bilingual education is a cure for the dropout problem and opponents arguing that it is a cause. This paper tests these arguments by comparing two types of programs geared toward limited English proficient (LEP) students, English as a second language (ESL) and bilingual programs. Using data from Texas, this study finds evidence for either proponents or opponents of bilingual education. That is, there is no evidence that bilingual education, compared to ESL programs, either help or hurt the Latino dropout problem. However, the Latino dropout problem appears to be, in part, a function of LEP students not being served by either ESL or bilingual programs. Specifically, Latino dropout rates increase when the number of Latino LEP students who are not served by either ESL or bilingual programs increases. These findings suggest that the important policy decision is not what type of program to use, but instead to ensure that all LEP students are served by some form of English acquisition assistance program.

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  • Title:
    The Best School Districts in Texas for Latino Students 1999-2002
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas Pan-American
    Daniel Hawes, Texas A&M University
    Nick A. Theobald, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    October 2003
  • Abstract:

    Objective. The education of minority students is of primary concern for education leaders and policy-makers in Texas. In recent years, minority students have made impressive gains on the statewide TAAS exam. However, Latino students continue to lag behind Anglo students in TAAS scores, Texas's primary measurement of basic skills. Latino students, however, have made great strides in closing this gap. In 1996, 54.2% of Latino test-takers passed the TAAS, compared to 79.8% for Anglo students, a gap of 25.6 percentage points. By 2002, Latino students cut this gap in half to 12.8 percentage points, scoring an average of 79.7% compared to an average of 92.5% for Anglos in that year. Indeed, this is evidence of significant progress. However, these statewide gains are not evenly distributed across all districts. Some school districts have made even more impressive gains while others have fallen behind. The Texas Educational Excellence Project believes that by identifying those districts that do a better job in educating Latino students, Latino TAAS performance can be further improved. The programs and policies used by the exemplary districts may then be used as a standard by which other districts can measure and improve their own performance.

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  • Title:
    Latino Dropouts and High Stakes Testing
  • Author(s):
    Alisa Hicklin, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    September 2003
  • Abstract:

    Standardized testing has become a large part of the educational process. As states increase the importance of these tests, many administrators are feeling pressure to raise their district's scores. Some studies argue that administrators may attempt to artificially inflate district pass rates by removing certain students from the test pool, either by pushing those students out of school or retaining them in lower grades (Schrag 2000; McNeil 2000). In identifying which students should be pushed out, Latino students may become a target, assuming that administrators will act on previous literature that cites language barriers, most often encountered by Latino students, as a primary obstacle to success (Heubert and Hauser 1999; Olson 2000). This paper tests the assumption that removing Latino students from the test pool will raise high stakes pass rates both for Latino students and the school district. Statistical findings give evidence to support the conclusion that administrative cheating, if it exists, does not work. Increased dropout and retention rates are negatively related to test performance, even when controlling for district quality.

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  • Title:
    The Best School Districts in Texas for African American Students 1999-2002
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Nick Theobald, Texas A&M University
    Alisa Hicklin, Texas A&M University
    Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas Pan-American
    J. L. Polinard, University of Texas-Pan American
  • Date:
    July 2003
  • Abstract:

    Objective. Texas minority students continue to make impressive gains on the statewide TAAS exam. The results of the 2002 TAAS exam indicate that scores for African American students continue to close the gap with Anglo students. In 1996, only 46.9 percent of African American students passed the TAAS compared to 79.8 percent of Anglo students. In 2002, 77.2 percent of African American students passed all tests compared to 92.5 percent of Anglo students. However, while African American students have made impressive gains over the past five years, the gap still remains substantial. Statewide averages, however, mask some impressive performance by individual school districts. The Texas Educational Excellence Project believes the first step in improving black tests scores is to identify school districts that do a better job of educating black students. Programs and policies in these districts can then be used by other districts to improve performance.

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  • Title:
    School Superintendents and School Performance: Quality Matters
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Laurence J. O'Toole, Jr., University of Georgia
    Holly T. Goerdel, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    March 2003
  • Abstract:

    Objective. The Texas Education Excellence Project is concerned with improving academic performance in school districts across Texas. This report focuses on the ability of school superintendents to improve academic performance in their schools. This study first develops a measure of superintendent quality. We then use this measure to predict several performance measures in a district, controlling for other factors that are known to affect performance. This analysis finds that superintendent quality does affect several measures of performance.

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    • Adobe Acrobat : report019.pdf
    • MS Word: report019.doc
    • A copy of the article from which this report was drafted can be found on our publications page by clicking here.


  • Title:
    The Macro-Economic Impacts on Hispanic Dropouts: A Literature Review
  • Author(s):
    Eric Juenke, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    January 2003

  • Title:
    Latinos, School Structure, and Dropping Out: A Review of the Literature
  • Author(s):
    Holly T. Goerdel, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    January 2003
    School Structure.doc


    2002 Reports

  • Title:
    The Best School Districts in Texas for Latino Students 1998-2001
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas Pan-American
    Nick A. Theobald, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    July 2002
  • Abstract:

    Objective. The education of minority students is of primary concern for education leaders and policy-makers in Texas. While Latino students have made impressive gains in the last decade, they continue to lag behind Anglo students in the state's fundamental measurement of basic skills, the TAAS. In 1991 41.5 percent of Latino students passed the TAAS, compared with 68.9% for Anglo students, a gap of 27.4 percentage points. Ten years later, Latino students had reduced to deficit to 14.8 percentage points, scoring an average pass rate of 75.6% in 2001 compared to the average Anglo pass rate that year of 90.4%. Obviously, Latino students are narrowing the gap. However, these overall gains at the state level, while impressive, are not equally distributed across all districts. Some Latino school districts have made even more impressive gains while others have fallen behind. It is the aim of the Texas Educational Excellence Project to identify school districts that do a better job of educating Latino students. The programs and policies used by the exemplary districts then may be used as a standard by which other districts can measure and improve their own performance.

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  • Title:
    The Best School Districts in Texas for African American Students 1998-2001
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas Pan-American
    J. L. Polinard, University of Texas-Pan American
  • Date:
    July 2002
  • Abstract:

    Objective. African American students continue to make performance gains in Texas. However, while African American students have made impressive gains over the past five years, the gap between African American and Anglo students still remains substantial. In 2001, 72 percent of African American students passed the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) exam compared to 46.9 percent in 1996. African Americans remain 18.4 percentage points behind the average pass rate of 90.4 percent for Anglo students. Statewide averages, however, mask some impressive gains by individual school districts. TEEP recognizes school districts that show outstanding performance in educating African American students so that researchers can identify successful programs and policies in an effort to apply them across Texas.

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  • Title:
    The Best School Districts in Texas for Latino Students
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Robert D. Wrinkle, and Nick A.Theobald
  • Date:
    January 2002
  • Abstract:

    Objective. The future is bright for Latino students in Texas, reports the Texas Educational Excellence Project (TEEP) headquartered at Texas A&M University. Latino students have made impressive gains in academic performance over the past decade; however, they continue to lag behind their Anglo counterparts.
    In 2000, 71.9 percent of Latino students passed the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) exam compared to 41.5 percent in 1991. Latinos remain 17.4 percentage points behind the average pass rate of 89.3 percent for Anglo students. Test performance is only one of the many criteria used by TEEP to examine how well districts are educating Latino students. TEEP recognizes school districts that show outstanding performance in educating Latinos so that researchers can identify successful programs and policies in an effort to apply them across Texas to improve overall Latino performance.

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    2001 Reports



  • Title:
    Athletic Budgets
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Scott Robinson, J.L. Polinard, Robert D. Wrinkle, Warren S. Eller, Minor P. Marchbanks III
  • Date:
    November 2001
  • Abstract:

    Objective.The Gymnasiums are open and the stadium lights are burning, but research indicates that Texas schools fumble when it comes to algebra and English academics. A study by the Texas Educational Excellence Project (TEEP) at Texas A&M University reports that school districts with a high financial devotion to athletics perform lower on academic exams. According to the study, character and teamwork do score high marks on the field, but off the field, they do not give schools any scholastic advantage. In fact, high athletic budgets actually have a negative impact of as much as 32 points and .9 points on the SAT and ACT, respectively. After studying 500 districts over a 4-year period, researchers conclusively found that scores on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) and the ACT and SAT college entrance exams dropped as general athletic budgets increased.

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  • Title:
    Girls' Math Scores
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier - Texas A&M University
    Lael R. Keiser, Vicky M. Wilkins, and Catherine Holland - University of Missouri - Columbia
  • Date:
    September 2001
  • Abstract:

    Objective. Nationwide, girls' math scores consistently fall short of boys' scores, but a study by the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University finds that an increase in the number of female math teachers could not only reduce the math score gap between girls and boys, but also increase college success in fields that emphasize math and mathematical reasoning. Even though females outnumber males at the teacher level, the study found that increasing the number of female math teachers could reduce the math score gap by one third. In addition, the study also emphasized the under-representation of females at the superintendent level. Texas school districts employ 75 percent females in instructor roles; however at the administrator level that number falls to 27 percent and even lower to 8.4 percent at the superintendent level, says Kenneth J. Meier, director of the Center for Presidential Studies, Policy & Governance at the Bush School and coordinator of the Texas Educational Excellence Project (TEEP).

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  • Title:
    African Americans Closing Gap on TAAS Scores - Margin Remains Large
  • Author(s):
    Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas - Pan American
  • Date:
    July 2001
  • Abstract:

    Objective. One of the goals of the Texas Education Excellence Project is identifying those school districts that have made significant strides in improving the performance of African American students on the TAAS exam. Even though there have been gains in decreasing the gap between African American and Anglo pass rates, African American student pass rates in Texas on the TAAS exam still lag behind those for Anglo students. This study creates an education "production function" for African American student pass, then we compare actual performance with the predicted performance to identify districts who perform better than expected. This is the same method used in the May 2000 report for 1997-2000 results, but this report extends the analysis to include 2000 results. Exemplary districts identified in this study can provide public policy makers with information that will inform future policy making efforts aimed at improving African American education in Texas.

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  • Title:
    Gender Discrimination in Texas School Superintendent Salaries
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Vicky M. Wilkins, University of Missouri – Columbia
  • Date:
    February 2001
  • Abstract:

    Objective. This study demonstrates a quantitative approach to assessing gender discrimination in public salaries at the individual level. Using data from 1000+ school districts in Texas over a period of 4 years, the results show that gender differences in superintendent's salaries are subtle rather than systematic. Female superintendents who replace male superintendents receive lower compensation. Local district wealth also interacts with gender to affect salaries.

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    2000 Reports



  • Title:
    The Best School Districts in Texas for Latino Students 1996-1999
  • Author(s):
    Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas Pan-American
    Nick A. Theobald, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    October 2000
  • Abstract:

    Objective. One of the goals of the Texas Education Excellence Project is identifying those school districts that have made significant strides in improving the performance of Latino students on the TAAS exam. Even though there have been gains in decreasing the gap between Latino and Anglo pass rates, Latino student pass rates in Texas on the TAAS exam still lag behind those for Anglo students. This study creates an education "production function" for Latino student pass, then we compare actual performance with the predicted performance to identify districts who perform better than expected. This is the same method used in the July 1999 report for 1996-1998 results, but this report extends the analysis to include 1999 results. Exemplary districts identified in this study can provide public policy makers with information that will inform future policy making efforts aimed at improving Latino education in Texas.

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  • Title:
    Teacher Turnover in Texas: Problems and Prospects
  • Author(s):
    Warren Eller, Texas A&M University
    Carl Doerfler, Texas A&M University
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
  • Date:
    June 2000
    Abstract:

    Objective. During its 1999 session, the Texas Legislature passed legislation increasing teacher salaries by $3,000. Increasing teacher salaries should not only attract more people into teaching, it should also reduce teacher turnover rates, thus increasing teacher supply. Because attracting more individuals to teaching is a relatively long-term activity, the more immediate impact of salary increases should be on the retention of current teachers. This study finds that, with all other variables held constant, Texas school districts should expect to see a 2.8% reduction in annual teacher turnover as a result of the $3,000 dollar pay increase. In addition to exploring the effect of salary increases on teacher turnover, this study also examines the effect of other factors on teacher turnover, such as reducing class size. By exploring these factors along with teacher turnover, we not only gain a fuller understanding of teacher turnover in general, but we also better understand how to meet the growing demands for elementary and secondary teachers.

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  • Title:
    The Best School Districts in Texas for African American Students 1996-1999
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas Pan-American
  • Date:
    May 2000


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  • Title:
    A Question of Priorities: Athletic Budgets and Academic Performance
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Scott Robinson, Texas A&M University
    Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas Pan-American
    J. L. Polinard, University of Texas-Pan American
  • Date:
    December 1999
  • Abstract:

    Objective. Many organization theories suggest that divergent goals can hamper an organization's pursuit of its primary mission. This study analyzes the effect of the pursuit of divergent goals on American public schools. Methods. Using an educational production function, this paper assesses the relationships between athletic budgets and various aggregate measures of academic performance. Results. Controlling for various known components of academic performance, athletic budgets have a significant negative relationship with academic performance. Conclusions. Schools that devote a large amount of resources to athletic budgets have lower levels of academic achievement. A focus on athletics seems to institutionalize goals that conflict with the schools' academic missions.

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  • Title:
    Black Student Improvements on the TAAS Exam 1995-98
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas Pan-American
    J. L. Polinard, University of Texas-Pan American
  • Date:
    October 1999
  • Abstract:

    Between 1995 and 1998 the pass rate for black students on the TAAS exam increased by almost 25 percentage points. Despite these gains, the pass rate for black students in 1998 remains behind that of white students--only 62.6 percent vs. 87.9 percent--by a substantial margin. While the 1998 scores represent a narrowing of the black-white gap from 36.5 percentage points, to one of just over 25 percentage points, a considerable gap remains. The first step in improving black tests scores is to identify school districts that do a better job of educating black students.

    This study identifies those school districts in Texas that performed better than expected on the pass rate for black students. These districts should serve as role models for other districts in Texas. The districts have a wide variety of programs for early diagnosis, coordination of curriculum, and parental involvement. If specific programs and performances are identified, then they can be transferred to other districts with an overall benefit to black students.

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  • Title:
    Latino Student Improvements on the TAAS Exam, 1995-1998
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    John Bohte, Texas A&M University
    Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas Pan-American
    J. L. Polinard, University of Texas-Pan American
  • Date:
    July 1999
  • Abstract:

    One of the goals of the Texas Education Excellence Project is identifying those school districts that have made significant strides in improving the performance of Latino students on the TAAS exam. Even though there have been gains in decreasing the gap between Latino and Anglo pass rates, Latino student pass rates in Texas on the TAAS exam still lag behind those for Anglo students. This study creates an education "production function" for Latino student pass, then we compare actual performance with the predicted performance to identify districts who perform better than expected. This is the same method used in the October 1998 report for 1995-1997 results, but this report extends the analysis to include 1998 results. Exemplary districts identified in this study can provide public policy makers with information that will inform future policy making efforts aimed at improving Latino education in Texas.

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  • Title:
    Examining the Effects of School Finance reform in Texas
  • Date:
    May 1999
  • Abstract:

    This study examines the effects finance equalization policies have had on the performance of students in Texas public schools from 1994 to 1997. Finance equalization policies were implemented because it is believed that wealthy local school districts with high property tax bases have a distinct advantage in raising funds for education over local districts where property tax bases are low. Studies on school finance equalization typically examine how interventions such as court decisions or laws that mandate finance reforms alter state and local funding patterns across school districts. Put another way, the dependent variable in much research on finance equalization is the change in the mix of state/local funding as a result of some sort of policy intervention. This research looks at finance equalization policies from a different perspective. Rather than focusing on whether policy interventions result in finance equalization, this study examines whether funding equalization actually results in improved student performance. Specifically, the goal of this study is to sort out the differential impacts (if any) state and local educational funds have on the performance of white, African-American, Hispanic, and low-income students on standardized academic skills exams.

    The findings presented suggest that finance equalization policies adopted by the state of Texas in 1993 played a role in dampening the effects of local wealth on the performance of white, African-American, Hispanic, and low-income students on standardized academic skills exams. And although the impact of local revenue and local wealth disappeared after the implementation of finance equalization, state revenue per pupil was positively related to Hispanic and low-income student exam performance in both the pre- and post-reform periods. This suggests that state, rather than local, funding has consistently played a more important role in shaping the performance of Hispanic and low-income students.

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  • Title:
    Teacher Salaries, Class Size and Student Performance on the TAAS
  • Date:
    January 1999
  • Abstract:

    The study examined the impact of teacher salaries and class size on the performance of all students as well as low-income, black and Latino students on TAAS exams. Students from low-income backgrounds are likely to benefit more from increases in teacher salaries and smaller classes because they face problems such as poverty and have less stable family environments compared to middle class. All Texas school districts for the years 1991-7 were included in the study. The report examines both the immediate impact of salaries and class size as well as the long term impacts.

    The model for the performance of all students on the TAAS predicts that a $1000 increase in average teacher salaries will produce a 2.12 percentage point increase in average TAAS scores over a five year period. The model for the performance of low-income students on the TAAS predicts that a $1000 increase in average teacher salaries will produce a 3.7 percentage point increase in average TAAS scores over a five year period.

    The model for the performance of all students on the TAAS predicts that a one student decrease in the average student-teacher ratio in each district will produce an increase in average TAAS scores of about 1 percentage point over a five year period. For low-income students, the TEEP model predicts that a one student decrease in the average student-teacher ratio in each district will produce an increase in average TAAS scores of nearly 2 percentage points over a five year period.

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  • Title:
    Latino Student Improvements on the TAAS Exam
  • Author(s):
    John Bohte
    J. L. Polinard
    Kenneth J. Meier
    Robert D. Wrinkle

  • Date:
    October 1998
  • Abstract:

    Although the pass rates for Latino students in Texas on the TAAS exam lag behind those for Anglo students, recent trends in Latino test scores are encouraging. From 1991 to 1997, the statewide pass rate for Latino students on the TAAS has improved from 41.5% to 61.9%, compared to a rate of change for non-minority students of 68.9% to 84.9%. While this improvement in Latino pass rates is notable, much more progress is needed. One of the major goals of the Texas Educational Excellence Project is identifying those school districts that have made significant strides in improving the performance of Latino students on the TAAS exam. By identifying exemplary districts, we hope to provide the public and policy makers with information that will inform future policy making efforts aimed at improving Latino education in Texas.

    The approach of the Texas Educational Excellence Project is to use a statistical technique, multiple regression analysis, as a tool for identifying the top school districts in Texas for Latino students. Multiple regression analysis makes it possible to develop generalizations about the overall performance of Texas school districts in educating Latino students, while also providing information that can be used to make comparisons across individual school districts. Our model is based on an education "production function" where student performance (defined as Latino pass rates on the TAAS) is a function of inputs into the educational process, such as operating expenditures, student-teacher ratios, and various educational policies. Estimation of this production function results in predictions about how well districts are expected to do, given the level of inputs available to them. Based on the results of the production function model, we compare how well districts actually perform to how well the statistical model predicts they should perform based on their inputs. The difference, if any, between the actual results and the predictions indicates how well districts are doing in educating Latino students.

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    1998 Reports


  • Title:
    Black Student Improvements on the TAAS Exam
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier
    Robert D. Wrinkle
    J.L. Polinard
  • Date:
    July 1998
  • Abstract:

    Between 1992 and 1997 the pass rate for black students on the TAAS exam increased by approximately 30 percentage points. Despite these gains, the pass rate for black students in 1997 was only 55.7 percent trailing the pass rate for white students (84.9 percent) by a substantial margin. This report ranks the 25 best school districts in Texas for black students after controlling for poverty, resources and other factors that affect test score results.

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  • Title:
    Representative Bureaucracy and Distributional Equity: Addressing the Hard Question
  • Author(s):
    Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
    Robert D. Wrinkle, University of Texas Pan-American
    J. L. Polinard, University of Texas-Pan American
  • Date:
    April 1998
  • Abstract:

    Research on representative bureaucracy has failed to deal with whether or not representative bureaucracies produce minority gains at the expense of nonminorities. Using a pooled time series analysis of 350 school districts over six years, this study examines the relationship between representative bureaucracy and organizational outputs for minorities and nonminorities. Far from finding that representative bureaucracy produces minority gains at the expense of nonminorities, this study finds both minority and nonminority students perform better in the presence of a representative bureaucracy. This finding suggests an alternative hypothesis to guide research, that representative bureaucracies are more effective than their nonrepresentative counterparts.

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