Public education in Texas
Energy • Environment • Fracking • Public education • Higher education • School choice • Charter schools • Public pensions • State budget and finances • Taxes • Voting • Ballot access • Redistricting • Nonprofit regulation
- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Transparency
- 10 Studies and reports
- 11 Issues
- 12 School districts
- 13 Education ballot measures
- 14 Recent news
- 15 See also
- 16 External links
- 17 Additional reading
- 18 References
List of school districts in Texas
Public education in Texas
School board elections portal
|“||The mission of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is to provide leadership, guidance, and resources to help schools meet the educational needs of all students and prepare them for success in the global economy.||”|
The Texas Education Agency is led by the Commissioner of Education. The Commissioner of Education is appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate. The current officeholder is Michael Williams (Texas Commissioner of Education).
The Texas State Board of Education is responsible for overseeing the state's public education system. The board is composed of 15 members elected from districts. Members serve four-year terms.
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. As of 2014, Texas had not adopted the Common Core standards.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states
- See also: Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Texas compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Texas as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic information for Texas's K-12 public school system|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students||6,258||0.13%||0.42%|
|Two or more||84,167||1.68%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
A plurality of students in Texas attend city schools. Approximately 64 percent of the state's students attend city or suburban schools, compared to approximately 36 percent who attend rural or town schools.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to three neighboring states (Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma), Texas has the highest share of fourth and eighth grade students who scored at or above proficient in math.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Texas was lower than the national average at 2.4 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 2.5 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Texas
School choice options in Texas include: charter schools, inter-district and intra-district open enrollment policies and online learning programs. In addition, about 5.14 percent of school age children in the state attended private schools in the 2011-12 academic year, and an estimated 2.67 percent were homeschooled in 2012-13.
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Texas state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 28.7 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. As a share of the budget, this is down 0.10 percentage points, or 0.35 percent, from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 28.8 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Texas totaled approximately $52.2 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Texas and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Source: National Center for Education Statistics|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Texas totaled approximately $53.7 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Texas and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Texas, the average salary decreased by 6.3 percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012 the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Texas ranked 44th overall, or "weakest," which was in the fifth of five tiers.
- See also: Texas government sector lobbying
Taxpayer-funded lobbyists for the state public schools include:
Studies and reports
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 uses six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Texas received a score of 73.0, or a C average in the "chance for success" category. This was below the national average. The state's highest score was in "transitions and alignment" at 92.9, or an A average. The lowest score was in "school finance" at 67.3, or a D+ average. Texas had the ninth lowest score in the "school finance" category in the country. The chart below displays the scores of Texas and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Texas||73.0 (C)||70.2 (C-)||92.2 (A-)||78.3 (C+)||67.3 (D+)||92.9 (A)|
|Louisiana||69.9 (C-)||59.8 (D-)||97.2 (A)||79.6 (B-)||74.9 (C)||92.9 (A)|
|New Mexico||66.6 (D+)||60.3 (D-)||92.0 (A-)||74.3 (C)||70.5 (C-)||89.3 (B+)|
|Oklahoma||72.2 (C-)||64.2 (D)||93.3 (A)||71.6 (C-)||66.5 (D)||89.3 (B+)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
Home-rule effort in Dallas
Volunteers with a local group called Support Our Public Schools circulated petitions starting on March 4, 2014, to turn the Dallas Independent School District into a home-rule district. A state law passed in 1995 allows local residents to replace their existing district structure with a home-rule charter. This charter could bypass some state regulations including minimum salary schedules for teachers, curriculum standards and the number of days in a school year. On January 20, 2015, a commission voted 10-5 against granting Dallas a home-rule charter. Commission members had until June 2015 to develop a home-rule charter for the district. If approved by the Texas Commissioner of Education, voters would have approved or rejected the charter at the polls. State law requires a simple majority and at least 25 percent of registered voters to cast ballots in the charter election.
Support Our Public Schools was a group funded by former hedge fund manager John Arnold and several anonymous donors through his non-profit organization, the Action Now Initiative. Arnold worked with local officials, including board member Mike Morath, to form the group due to concerns about the district's record of academic performance. Morath supported Support Our Public Schools but did not serve on the group's board. The organization hoped to complete the entire process in time for the gubernatorial election on November 4, 2014. If successful, Dallas Independent School District would have been the first school district in Texas to use the home-rule charter process.
Support Our Public Schools submitted more than 48,000 petition signatures to the school district in May 2014. District officials certified that enough valid signatures were submitted to proceed to the next step in the process. The group had to gather at least 24,459 valid signatures, or five percent of registered voters in the district, to force the creation of a charter commission by the school board. School board members appointed 15 members to the charter commission during a meeting on June 19, 2014.
Two members of the commission were selected by the entire board, four educators were selected by an advisory panel and each trustee selected one commission member. D. Marcus Ranger, the husband of former trustee Carla Ranger, and Lew Blackburn, Jr., the son of trustee Lew Blackburn Sr., were appointed to the commission. The state's home-rule charter law does not restrict spouses or relatives of current board members from serving on commissions. An article published following the failure of the home-rule effort noted that eight of the nine Dallas board members opposed the initiative, which Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings suggested resulted in anti-initiative appointees. Commission chairman Bob Weiss rejected this argument and stated, "I certainly respect the mayor’s point of view but will politely disagree with the inference that the process was doomed because the commission did not act in good faith. This commission was not responsible for the appointment process."
The following table details the charter commission, including how they were appointed:
|Bob Weiss||Entire board|
|Stephanie Elizalde||Entire board|
|Melissa Malonson||District 1 trustee Elizabeth Jones|
|Edwin Flores||District 2 trustee Mike Morath|
|Jeff Veazey||District 3 trustee Dan Micciche|
|Ricardo Mendez||District 4 trustee Nancy Bingham|
|Lew Blackburn, Jr.||District 5 trustee Lew Blackburn Sr.|
|D. Marcus Ranger||District 6 trustee Carla Ranger|
|Jerome Garza||District 7 trustee Eric Cowan|
|Danae Gutierrez||District 8 trustee Miguel Solis|
|Shirley Ison-Newsome||District 9 trustee Bernadette Nutall|
|Isaac Freeman||Advisory panel|
|Ron Oliver||Advisory panel|
|Bonita Reece||Advisory panel|
|Julie Sandel||Advisory panel|
Local officials and advocates debated the group's efforts during the petition drive. Mayor Rawlings supported the effort in order to bring change to the district while board members Lew Blackburn and Bernadette Nutall questioned the motivations of Support Our Public Schools. Superintendent Mike Miles neither endorsed nor rejected the movement but argued the home-rule effort was unnecessary since the district had already initiated reforms. Alliance-AFT president Rena Honea argued that this effort was "part of a plan to underfund our schools, declare them a failure, and contract out to private operators the control of our neighborhood schools, disenfranchising parents and community stakeholders and de-professionalizing teaching."
Mark Melton, a local attorney and charter supporter, published a seven-page constitution in May 2014 intended to guide the charter commission. This constitution developed by Melton and four colleagues would have left the district largely unchanged. The document proposed a three-term limit on all board members, a provision for recalling board members and an earlier start date for district schools. Melton's proposal would have allowed a recall election to take place if 15 percent of residents in a trustee district signed petitions. He offered the proposals as a reaction to the rancorous debate taking place between Support Our Public Schools volunteers and some district residents.
- See also: School board elections portal
Texas contains multiple types of school districts. Independent school districts administer K-12 schools separately from municipal and county governments. Consolidated school districts are typically formed when two or more school districts combine into a single governing body.
- See also: List of school districts in Texas
The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment:
School board composition
Texas school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed to fill vacancies until the next election for the seat is held. Texas school board elections typically follow one of these three methods, or a mixture thereof:
- At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
- Trustee area: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.
- Trustee area at-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, but candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the school district.
School boards can consists of five, seven or nine members. Board members serve terms of three or four years.
Texas does not impose statewide term limits on school board members. However, terms limits on school board members can still be imposed on the local level.
A total of 79 Texas school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections in 2015 for 214 seats. Board elections in 68 districts will be held on May 9, 2015. The remaining 11 districts will hold their elections on November 3, 2015.
Here are several quick facts about Texas's school board elections in 2015:
- The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Houston Independent School District with 203,354 K-12 students.
- The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Canyon Independent School District with 9,224 K-12 students.
- Seven districts are tied for the most seats on the ballot in 2015 with four seats up for election in each district.
- Thirty-seven districts are tied for the fewest seats on the ballot in 2015 with two seats up for election in each district.
The districts listed below served 2,564,165 K-12 students during the 2012-2013 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.
Path to the ballot
To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Texas, a person must be:
- 18 years of age or older
- A registered voter
- A resident of the district for at least six months prior to the election
Candidates file applications for placement on the ballot with the school district clerk.
Candidates can claim exemption from campaign finance reporting requirements if they do not anticipate spending or receiving $500 during the election. If they receive or spend in excess of $500, they must file amended paperwork with the school district clerk detailing contributions and expenditures.
Education ballot measures
Ballotpedia has tracked the following statewide ballot measures relating to education.
- Texas Angelo State University Governance, Proposition 1 (2007)
- Texas Appointment of the State Board of Education, Proposition 1 (1928)
- Texas Arlington State College, Proposition 3 (1966)
- Texas Bonds for Educational Loans, Proposition 13 (1991)
- Texas Bonds for Educational Loans, Proposition 13 (1999)
- Texas Bonds for Educational Loans, Proposition 1 (1995)
- Texas Bonds for Educational Loans, Proposition 2 (2007)
- Texas College Savings Bonds, Proposition 21 (1989)
- Texas County Student Loan Fund, Proposition 4 (July 1915)
- Texas Donation of School District Property, Proposition 13 (2001)
- Texas Education Constitutional Provisions, Proposition 4 (1975)
- Texas Education Loans Finance Amendment, Proposition 3 (2011)
- Texas Educational Loan Bonds, Proposition 2 (August 1991)
- Texas Free Textbooks, Proposition 4 (August 1935)
- Texas Funding for Institutions of Higher Learning, Proposition 13 (1993)
- Texas Higher Education Assistance Fund, Proposition 2 (1984)
- Texas Homestead Exemption for School District Property Taxes Amendment (2015)
- Texas Homestead Exemption from Taxation for Public Schools Amendment (2015)
- Texas National Research University Fund, Proposition 4 (2009)
- Texas Opportunity Plan, Proposition 6 (1965)
- Texas Permanent School Fund Amendment, Proposition 6 (2011)
- Texas Property Tax for Schools, Proposition 2 (1918)
- Texas Reorganization of University Funds, Proposition 5 (May 1919)
- Texas Salaries for Military Officers, Proposition 2 (1942)
- Texas School District Bonds, Proposition 1 (August 1909)
- Texas School District Bonds, Proposition 3 (May 1993)
- Texas School District Boundaries, Proposition 2 (August 1909)
- Texas School Officer Term Limits, Proposition 2 (1928)
- Texas Separation of University of Texas and Agricultural College, Proposition 6 (July 1915)
- Texas Special School Districts, Proposition 2 (1926)
- Texas State Educational Mandates, Proposition 2 (May 1993)
- Texas State Lottery Revenue for Public Education Amendment (2015)
- Texas State Medical Education Fund, Proposition 2 (1952)
- Texas Student Loans, Proposition 8 (August 1969)
- Texas Tax Exemption for Higher Education Technology Corporations Amendment (2015)
- Texas Tax Exemptions for Higher Education, Proposition 2 (1906)
- Texas Tomorrow Fund, Proposition 13 (1997)
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Texas + Education "
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Texas state budget and finances
- Texas Department of Education
- List of school districts in Texas
- School choice in Texas
- Charter schools in Texas
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- Longview News-Journal, "School districts mull faculty salary scales," June 30, 2009
- The Dallas Morning News, "ACLU questions religious freedom violations in more Texas schools," June 26, 2009
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- Texas Education Agency, "TEA Mission and Responsibilities," accessed June 5, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Texas Education Agency, "Commissioner of Education," accessed June 5, 2014
- Texas Education Agency, "SBOE History and Duties," accessed June 5, 2014
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, " How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Texas Transparency, "Home page," accessed June 5, 2014
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- The Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD home-rule commission votes against writing charter," January 21, 2015
- Dallas Morning News, "Group pushes for election to remake Dallas ISD as freer home-rule district," March 2, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD trustee Mike Morath explains his role in home-rule group," March 10, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD trustees struggle with how to form home-rule commission," May 30, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Dallas attorney Mark Melton's group releases proposed home-rule charter for Dallas ISD," May 21, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD trustees name 15-member commission to write home-rule charter," June 20, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Superintendent Mike Miles: Home rule not key to a better Dallas ISD," March 19, 2014
- "Dallas Observer," "Dallas ISD Trustees Are Skeptical of Shadowy Home-Rule District Push," March 4, 2014
- Texas Education Code, "Texas Education Code - Chapter 13 Creation, Consolidation, And Abolition Of A District," accessed July 10, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed July 11, 2014
- Texas Association of School Boards, "Resources for Board Candidates," accessed July 10, 2014
- Texas Association of School Boards, "Policy: Eligibility/Qualifications," October 19, 2011
State of Texas
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