The Texas Miracle

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The 'Texas Miracle' refers to George W. Bush's claim, now largely disproven, that increased emphasis on high-stakes testing resulted in greater overall student achievement and decreased dropout rates in Texas during Bush's tenure as governor of Texas. The myth of the 'Texas Miracle' has since been used to justify Bush's education policy, in particular the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Closing the Gap

One of the claims made by Bush during the 2000 campaign was that increased emphasis on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) resulted in overcoming the usual gap encountered on academic achievement test results between Anglo students and ethnic minority students. A RAND study showed, however, that the gap between Anglo and minority student achievement persisted in Texas on national tests, indicating that the gap in student achievement still existed and that the change in TAAS scores was probably either related to overemphasis on coaching the specifics of the TAAS or on changes within the TAAS itself.

Dropout rates

Another claim of the proponents of the 'Texas Miracle' was that the emphasis on student achievement had the impact of decreasing high school dropout rates. School districts like Houston's were touted as examples of this decrease in dropouts. (It should be noted, too, that Secretary of Education Rod Paige is the former superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.) This, too, however, has proven to be myth rather than miracle. In February 2003, Robert Kimball, Assistant Principal at Sharpstown High School in Houston, broke the news through local station KHOU that his school had falsified dropout records to claim 0 dropouts. (A later audit revealed that the dropout rate should have been closer to 3,000 students that year.) Subsequently, 14 Houston schools were re-ranked based on audits of their dropout records, causing their state rankings drop to the lowest rating.

External Links

  • 60 Minutes II - Report on the Texas Miracle. Jan 7, 2004.
  • The Myth of the Texas Miracle in Education, Walter Haney, Boston College
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