Every time I write or speak on a radio show favorably about Texas compared with California, I get harsh online comments, emails and phone calls. The usual theme isn’t just that California is a nicer place to live. It’s that Texas is a hellhole compared with just about anywhere — a place that hates unions, poor people, nonwhites and more, and has a culture that celebrates ignorance.
This is supposedly reflected in the priorities of Gov. Rick Perry. A phone message I got expressed disbelief that I praised Texas public schools and called them broadly better than California’s. A male voice said something along the lines of … “Have you seen how little they pay for K-12? It’s obscene.”
That is not a good argument. In fact, it’s another argument for Texas.
It’s time to bring in Chuck DeVore, Orange County assembly member turned Austin think tanker. DeVore suggests the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a good baseline to compare states. It measures fourth- and eighth-graders in math, reading and science and breaks down the results by the performance of white, Latino and African-American students.
So guess what happened in an analysis of the NAEP results for the eight biggest states? According to what Chuck wrote last year for the San Francisco Chronicle, it’s a rout.
“Looking at the most recent NAEP testing data for fourth and eighth graders in math, reading and science as well as looking at race and ethnicity and considering the eight biggest states, there are 24 categories to measure (e.g., eighth-grade science results for African American students, etc.). The 2009 results showed Texas as having the strongest scores in 11 of 24 categories while California was last in 15 of 24 categories. Further, Texas showed no areas of weakness compared to the national average.”