Re­port: Math stan­dards in Texas trail­ing U.S.’s

Austin American-Statesman - - LOCAL BRIEFING - By April Cas­tro

Texas stan­dards for what stu­dents are ex­pected to learn in math are “clearly in­fe­rior” to a new set of na­tional guide­lines that the state’s lead­ers have re­jected, ac­cord­ing to a think tank’s anal­y­sis.

The re­port, re­leased Wed­nes­day by the Washington-based Thomas B. Ford­ham In­sti­tute, gave Texas a grade of C for its math stan­dards, say­ing they were min­i­mal and lacked speci­ficity.

How­ever, Texas got an A-mi­nus in English and lan­guage arts — one of three states that ac­tu­ally scored higher in those sub­jects than the na­tional guide­lines called Com­mon Core State Stan­dards.

The think tank an­a­lyzed the stan­dards in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. None of the states was bet­ter than the na­tional core stan­dards in math.

Texas of­fi­cials, led by Gov. Rick Perry, were crit­i­cal of ef­forts to adopt uni­form na­tional stan­dards, re­ject­ing the ef­forts in fa­vor of al­low­ing the elected State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion to con­tinue craft­ing state guide­lines.

The Com­mon Core stan­dards have been adopted by 25 states. The state-led ini­tia­tive aims to es­tab­lish a uni­form set of ex­pec­ta­tions on what stu­dents should know by the time they grad­u­ate from high school.

The sweep­ing ed­u­ca­tion bench­marks re­leased in May aim to re­place a hodge­podge of aca­demic goals vary­ing widely from state to state with a uni­form set of ex­pec­ta­tions for stu­dents.

Lan­guage arts stan­dards in Texas were adopted by the State Board of Ed­u­ca­tion in 2008. The math stan­dards were adopted in 1997 and are ex­pected to get a re­write later this year.

The com­mon aca­demic stan­dards that many states will adopt this fall are clearer and more rig­or­ous than those cur­rently used by three-quar­ters of all states, ac­cord­ing to the Ford­ham In­sti­tute.

The study found the Com­mon Core stan­dards were stronger than 37 states in English and 39 states in math. A hand­ful of states had aca­demic stan­dards in both sub­jects that were sim­i­lar to the uni­form ones.

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