The formative years spent in kindergarten up to senior year are a vital time for a child’s education. This is the time when they will grow, both physically and mentally. This is the time you need to be sure they are getting the proper lessons and life tools. That will allow them to go as far and high as they possibly can when they go. And once they graduate high school, then they may decide to go to college in Texas before seeking full-time employment.
So, are the schools in Texas any good? What can Texas schools offer you and your children?
K-12 Schools In Texas
With over 1,000 school districts, ranging in size from massive districts in urban Houston to the tiny rural districts in the south of the state, there is quite a bit of choice. The smallest school district is based in Kerr County, and serves a mere 26 students.
Though there are many private schools in Texas, the public school system is considered to be of high quality all across the board. The School For The Gifted And Talented, part of the Dallas School District, was rated as the #1 top high school in the country in 2013. Texas is home to over 400 of the best high schools in the US. Texas has an average high school graduation rate of 79 percent. That’s slightly higher than the national average.
One of the most interesting schemes in Texas (and some would say controversial) is the Robin Hood plan, which is a tax redistribution scheme whereby property tax from wealthy school districts is distributed around poorer school districts. This means that no school is poorer than any other, and ensures a baseline minimum standard of education for all children.
Students level of development and ability is measured using the ‘Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skill (TAKS).’ This test is designed to measure levels of reading, writing, mathematics, sciences and social studies. It compiles with the No Child Left Behind Act. Though since 2012 this is being phased out to be replaced with the STAAR test. This is a four hour aptitude test, split up with a half hour lunch break. Hedley High School, located in the Texas Panhandle, is currently ranked best in state in terms of high student grades.
Athletics are a big part of the public school system in Texas, with a lot of competition and camaraderie. That encourages young children to socialize and interact with their friends. Athletic ability has also traditionally been a way into further education, with grants and funding from the best universities for those who have strong athletic skills.
Texas has been at the forefront in terms of improving the school system in the 21st century. The student body has become much more diverse in recent decades, with over 100 languages spoken by students in state education throughout Texas. State schools in Texas place an emphasis on teaching English to children who may not consider English their first language. Texas is showing other states the way forward in that area. The reading score results for children in state education is equal to the national average, and is slowly rising each year.
Texas is also a great place for parents who choose to home school their children. Home schooling is legal in Texas and very lightly regulated. Learn more about home schooling in Texas.
5 Top Universities In Texas
The Fiske Guide to Colleges ranked three colleges in Texas among its best for 2014. Couple that with the vibrant campus life on offer, and you’ll realize that Texas has a lot to give in terms of education and social prospects.
1) The University of Texas at Austin
Located in the heart of Austin just north of the state capital. This institution has over 51,000 students enrolled in its courses. Considered a major center for academic research, there are seventeen libraries on campus. It isn’t all just about the dry academic stuff though. UT athletics teams, who go by the name of the Texas Longhorns, compete at various levels. Texas Longhorn alumni won 14 Olympic medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
2) Texas A&M
This is the largest university in Texas. A great deal of research projects are undertaken here, funded by various institutions including NASA. The main campus is one of the biggest in America, and houses around one fifth of the student body. Students here are affectionately known as ‘Aggies’ because of the school’s agricultural roots.
3) Rice University
Another university that is known for research. The student body is relatively small with a 5:1 student-faculty ratio. The emphasis at this Houston school is one to one education. The Honor Council, run by and for the students, is designed to enforce the code of the university. Traditionally, male and female colleges were separated, with legend suggesting that female only colleges were deliberately built as far away from the male colleagues as possible. However, since 2006, things have been mixed.
4) The University Of Houston
With 41,000 students, this isn’t the biggest university in Texas. But with 667 acres of land and a tier one ranking in U.S. News and World Report, this is the flagship university in the Texas educational system. Beyond that, a thriving arts scene and 16 intercollegiate sports teams give this university the edge in terms of extra curricular activity.
5) The University Of North Texas
Based in Denton, this university has degree programs in maths, science and the arts, as well as a medical school. UNT Discovery Park, opened in 2004, is a hub of scientific research. The Design and Research center, part of the College of Visual Arts, is a laboratory for prospective design students. There are 35,000 students enrolled at this college, and a quarter of them were at the graduate level. Extra-curricular activities are taken seriously here also. The debate team were ranked first in the state in 2012, and in the top 100 of the world.
And once your children graduate, they’ll need to pay off those student loans. Texas leads the nation in job growth, so they can always stay close to home and find jobs in Texas.
Read More: Home Schooling In Texas