Rick Hanushek, Paul Peterson, and Ludger Woessmann offer the following graph comparing educational outcomes across states while controlling for parental education. (The bright red arrows are my addition.) The circle for each state shows the percentage of 10th graders proficient in math. Rankings on the horizontal axis show how well a state does for kids from families where neither parent graduated high school. Vertical axis rankings are for families with at least one parent graduating college.
I’ve added arrows pointing to Texas and to California.
Texas does moderately well–by American standards–at educating the children of well-educated parents. (By this ranking, Texas kids perform at about the middle of OECD countries, which isn’t exactly super.) California does less well. According to the authors’ calculations 54 percent of Texas kids from well-educated families are proficient in math. In California, it’s only 43 percent.
But now look at the kids whose parents are uneducated. Texas does better than any state in the country. In fact, the Texas proficiency number is the same as that of Finland’s much-vaunted school system. In contrast California, is a disaster for the children of the uneducated. Neither Texas nor California does a great job by these kids, but Texas kids are three times as likely to be proficient as are the comparable kids in California.
I live in California. There’s a lot of talk around here about education for all. Someone’s not walking the walk.