by State Board of Education staff
Texans believe the top two desired outcomes for public schools are to teach communications, problem-solving, critical thinking and other employability skills and to prepare students to be productive citizens, according to results of a survey conducted on behalf of the State Board of Education.
As part of the board’s effort to gather citizen input as it prepares a new Long-Range Plan for Public Education, a survey was conducted on five topics:
- Desired outcome of public education
- Equity and access
- Educator preparation, recruitment, and retention
- Student empowerment and engagement
- Family empowerment and engagement
A total of 11,462 Texans responded to the survey between Jan. 25 and March 2.
“The input we received from the survey and from in-person meetings during community events held around the state will help our Long-Range Plan for Public Education Steering Committee and the board craft long-term goals for our schools,” said SBOE Chair Donna Bahorich. “These goals will help the board focus on issues that are a priority to Texans.”
The board plans to set goals through the year 2030.
Survey results released Thursday show that when asked about equitable access, about 66 percent of the respondents think there is good or excellent access to advanced level coursework, such as dual credit or Advanced Placement courses. Seventy-four percent believe there is good to excellent access to extracurricular activities.
However, about 55 percent of the respondents rated equitable access to school funding as poor.
The Texas Legislature created the Texas Commission on Public School Funding to study the finance issue. The commission is to make recommendations to the legislature when it reconvenes in January.
When asked to rate the job Texas schools do for certain student groups, the survey found that 54 percent of the respondents felt schools do a good to excellent job for students who are gifted/talented. But only about 37 percent felt schools were doing a good to excellent job for students living in poverty.
Texans, in the survey responses or during community meetings suggested mentoring programs, pay and benefit enhancements, the creation of new career options for teachers who want to stay in the classroom, and staffing flexibility as methods for retaining teachers.
To increase student support and empowerment, survey respondents suggested creating career and postsecondary learning experiences and allowing students to be more responsible for their own learning.
To increase parental engagement with the schools, Texans suggested, providing classes about ways parents can help children at home; providing transportation and childcare when parent meetings are held at school; and increasing communications between parents and families through means such as social media and newsletters.
The survey results are available at https://bit.ly/2GW60UV.
A new Long-Range Plan for Public Education is expected to be approved by the board this fall.