Gov. Rick Perry today applauded the Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center's success in transforming from a chronically underperforming school to one recognized statewide for excellence in education.
"Because students at chronically low-performing campuses struggle to develop the necessary skills to succeed at the next level, improving public education in Texas positively affects the lives of our young people and the very future of our state," Gov. Perry said. "Our overall goal is for young Texans, no matter their economic status, to graduate from our high schools career- and college-ready, with the essential knowledge and skills that will allow them to tackle the next step."
Despite being academically unacceptable for six years, the Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center earned its status as a recognized campus in one year. These gains are not unique to Sam Houston, as the 2008-2009 TAKS scores across the state improved in each subject and grade level, and Texas was recently recognized as one of only four states to close the achievement gap in math.
Gov. Perry noted that Texas schools that are still struggling can learn from schools like Sam Houston and take advantage of initiatives such as the Texas Turnaround Center, which was created in July 2008 as part of a state-wide system to provide support and technical assistance to districts and campuses identified as under-performing. Working through a regional network of highly trained turnaround teams, the center aims to reduce the number of low-performing campuses by enhancing the statewide capacity to support comprehensive, ongoing improvement of under-performing schools.
The governor also emphasized the importance of House Bill 3 of the 81st Legislative Session, which helps students prepare to enter college or the workforce by ensuring that schools retain rigorous high school graduation plans, improving parent access to student academic information and increasing school district financial transparency. The bill also encourages students to stay on the recommended high school plan, which includes four years of English, science, social studies and math, while allowing for greater scheduling flexibility to take courses that will prepare students for a successful career.
Education Week Magazine recently recognized Texas as one of the first states in the nation to hold schools directly accountable for ensuring our students graduate college- and career-ready with four years of math, science, social studies and English on their transcript.