Woods' Weekly

Woods' Weekly

Woods' Weekly is written by Superintendent Brian T. Woods and is sent to Northside ISD staff every Monday to keep them updated on local and state education issues.

January 20, 2015     
Good morning! Last week, the state’s newly elected Comptroller released the legally required revenue estimate for 2016 and 2017. The Comptroller projects modest growth in the state’s income during those years. However, it was revealed that at the end of the current biennium the state should have a surplus of $7.5 billion. That is obviously significant dollars that could have been appropriated to meet the needs of our state in 2014 and 2015 that were not. When you add that $7.5 billion to the $105.4 billion in projected revenue that leaves legislators a total of $113 billion available for appropriations after required transfers to the Rainy Day Fund and the Transportation Fund. Speaking of that Rainy Day Fund, the Comptroller estimates that without any withdrawals it will be valued at over $11 billion at the end of the 2016-17 biennium.
 
By way of analysis, one of our consultants estimates that even ignoring the massive Rainy Day Fund, these numbers translate to legislators having $11 billion more in revenue than it will take to fully fund current services for the next two years. So, like the last session, there is no legitimate argument that there is no money to spend. The question is will the political courage exist to look at the long-term needs of the state and appropriate those funds.
 
As if I haven’t argued enough for the legislature to support public education, I thought I’d give you one more piece of evidence. I’ve written several times about Dr. Steve Murdock who used to be the Texas state demographer and has also directed the US Census Bureau. Dr. Murdock now heads the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University. He has written for years about the projections that show how, without significant support for public schools, the Texas of the future will be both less educated and more poverty stricken than it is now.
 
It will come as no surprise that Murdock predicts that the state’s population will become much more Hispanic over time. In fact, he predicts that by 2040 the only age band that will still contain a majority of Anglos will be 65+. Largely based on the
educational attainment and employment status of Hispanic Texans today, Murdock makes these dire predictions about lower educational attainment and poverty in general for Texas in the future.
 
However, there are bright spots in the education of Hispanic students in Texas and I’m pleased to say that San Antonio is one of those. Dr. Murdock’s data shows how well the San Antonio area does with regard to Hispanic student performance compared to the state’s other major metropolitan areas. More specifically, in Northside we accomplish much with all of our student groups, but with regard to Hispanic students:
  • In 2014, 92% of Northside Hispanic 3rd grade students met state standards on Reading and 88% met standard in Mathematics.
  • For the class of 2013 (the most recent for which there is data) our 4-year, on-time graduation rate for Hispanic students was 91.8%. That number rises to 95.7% when you count those who earned their GED or continued into a 5th year.
  • 85.9% of the Hispanic students in the class of 2013 were Recommended or Distinguished graduates.
  • In this same cohort, 71% were college ready in English Language Arts and 75% were college ready in Mathematics and 61% were college ready in both subjects.
  • In the class of 2013, over 31% of Hispanic students successfully completed one or more dual credit or Advanced Placement courses and met criteria on the exam in the AP course
  • Since 2010, the number of Hispanic students testing and meeting criteria on one or more AP exams has increased by 50%.
We should all be proud of this performance. In Northside, we consider it a part of our mission to give our students the best possible chance to make a bright future for themselves – regardless of their background or abilities when they come to us. This belief and our ability to continue to operationalize it are key parts of our success.
   
    BTW