According to Bill Gates, Texas is a model education system because we require more math and science credits to graduate than Washington state.
Twenty-seven states require students to take three or four years of math to graduate from high school. Washington requires only two years of math. The science requirement is also two years.
Gates says Washington should take a look at Texas.
He says to get a high school diploma, Texas students need to pass four years of math, science and social students and two years of a foreign language.
For a college dropout, Gates seems to be putting a lot of faith into setting and meeting standards. Maybe becoming a billionaire does that to you.
Now I’m sure after everyone’s experience with NCLB and it’s Texas origins, the people of Washington state will take a closer look at what is actually going on before deciding Texas has a better education system. Just in case people get to busy, I would like to point out a few facts.
According to the College Board, the mean Math SAT score for Texas students in 2006 was 506. The mean Math SAT score for Washington students in the same year was 532. Also, the average number of years of mathematics taken by test takers in Washington was 3.8 compared to 3.7 years in Texas.
But that’s not necessarily comparable since as the percentage of students who take the test increases, the average scores decrease. Well, the population of Texas is approximately 3.6 times that of Washington while the number of students taking the test in Texas was about 3.8 times that of those Washington.
Who knows if these scores are statistically comparable. There are all sorts of other factors that need to be accounted for such as race, gender, income, and so on. My point is that we don’t know. Just because Texas is requiring more math and science classes for its students to graduate does not indicate a more effective system. It’s like saying that the Mac OS is superior to Windows because it is attacked by fewer viruses or that Windows is superior to Linux because it has more applications.