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Ha. I heard a bumper sticker was spotted on a car in a UH parking lot last week that said

"University of Houston: Tier 4 for over 70 years."

I know some faculty and staff who are less than impressed with the new Prez. It would certainly be great for the city of some of her Tier 1 visions come true.

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It's not the Tier 4 degrees we should worry about. It's the highschool dropouts. But everyone is in denial.

And FWIW, that Tier 4 is USNWR criteria. I don't take a lot of stock in that rag and some of their forumulas are questionable.

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It's not the Tier 4 degrees we should worry about. It's the highschool dropouts. But everyone is in denial.

That denial begins at the state level. Way too much emphasis on TAKS and doctoring the dropout formulas to make the state look better than it really is. When the state (and hence, the individual districts) decides that actual education is more important than manipulated statistics, the educational climate will improve. It can be done. The state of North Carolina, through sheer force of will, decided to make education a priority. Now, instead of being known as the birthplace of NASCAR, it is known for its Research Triangle, and several of the nation's best public AND private universities. Texas apparently still prefers to be known for having the most pickups.

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I agree that it starts with the state...

The older I get the less Texas pride I have. And I'm a native Texan.

There is talk of a 10b surplus this years. Imagine if some of that went to the schools.

Instead, Slick Perry wants to give us tax rebate checks.

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I agree that it starts with the state...

The older I get the less Texas pride I have. And I'm a native Texan.

There is talk of a 10b surplus this years. Imagine if some of that went to the schools.

Instead, Slick Perry wants to give us tax rebate checks.

This is at the same time that they are reporting that the schools may be bankrupt within a few years as a result of Craddick's new school "funding" scheme.

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Interesting article published today:

http://www.bizjournals.com/specials/slideshow/45.html

The index is more than a little misleading...but what's new? These kinds of indices usually are.

For instance, with respect to population and job growth, they're looking at precentage gains. For large metros like Dallas and Houston, there is a teriffic amount of growth in just sheer numbers, but Austin is going to look better even though it has less than a third of what either of the larger Texas metros have. So where are more young people really going...Austin or Houston?

Another thing, the only reason D.C. seems to be on there is that its costs of living are so high that only high-earning well-educated young folks can really afford to live there and eke out a respectable lifestyle. For those that can pull it off, great...for those that can't, it's either going to be sucky (or they're masochists) or they'll move to Texas. But it most certainly does not follow that a young adult will better their lot in life by moving to a top-ranked city on this list. It depends on circumstances and individual preferences.

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I agree that it starts with the state...

In this case, I disagree. It should start with the Federal government. Texas is receiving a massive in-flux of migrants from other states, and it concerns me greatly that a significant number are from Louisiana, where the TEA has no jurisdiction.

The mobility of labor makes bad schools anywhere a liability that affects everywhere.

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This is at the same time that they are reporting that the schools may be bankrupt within a few years as a result of Craddick's new school "funding" scheme.

Saw that. And we also have the most Fortune 500s! Whoopi-de-doo, Basil!

Not that it's exactly related, but you get my drift. At what price is all this success coming?

I feel like we are being used and abused. Texas is still the Wild West, for sure, no matter how citified we get.

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That denial begins at the state level. Way too much emphasis on TAKS and doctoring the dropout formulas to make the state look better than it really is. When the state (and hence, the individual districts) decides that actual education is more important than manipulated statistics, the educational climate will improve. It can be done. The state of North Carolina, through sheer force of will, decided to make education a priority. Now, instead of being known as the birthplace of NASCAR, it is known for its Research Triangle, and several of the nation's best public AND private universities. Texas apparently still prefers to be known for having the most pickups.

And BBQ...there is nothing quite like Carolina BBQ. It's the best I've ever had. And yes, you put cole slaw on your BBQ sandwich in Carolina. So good...

I was born in Virginia, raised in Utah, lived in California, and moved to Houston a few years ago. I love Houston and I'm not leaving before I retire and then I will retire in Texas. But I'm not Texan, I'm Houstonian. There is a difference methinks. Houston is the bomb. And I am fortunate enough to been to most cities in America so I have quite a bit to compare it to.

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Saw that. And we also have the most Fortune 500s! Whoopi-de-doo, Basil!

Not that it's exactly related, but you get my drift. At what price is all this success coming?

I feel like we are being used and abused. Texas is still the Wild West, for sure, no matter how citified we get.

I can't speak for Red, but I don't get your drift. Part of the equation is funding, and there's no doubt about that. But throwing money at a problem doesn't necessarily result in a fix, either. We have demographics working against us.

Truthfully, the most cost-effective means of raising our average scores might be to make available some incentive for families with the worst performing children to move to another state (or country). Since special ed students get lumped in with all the rest for the statistical averages, that'd be top priority....and with respect to them, especially, talk about taking out two birds with one stone. Major cost savings and increased averages.

It doesn't fix the big picture problem and does nothing to improve the lot of students that actually have a chance to do well in life, but hey...it'll make Texas look like a better place on the next comparative index in some random publication. ...and that's what you want, after all, isn't it Coog? A better rank?

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When the state (and hence, the individual districts) decides that actual education is more important than manipulated statistics, the educational climate will improve. It can be done.

But don't you see the problem. We don't improve education because we have dumb politicians. We don't improve the politicians because we have dumb citizens. The dumber our politicians get the worse the schools and hence the dumber our citizens get. It's a vicious cycle.

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http://www.bizjournals.com/specials/pages/168.html

Houston has the second lowest percentage (17%) of 18-34 years old college graduates on the top 10 list, but it has the highest 18-34 age population at 1395769 (24.8% x 5,628,101 total pop), so we have 237280 grads in the 18-34 age range, more than any in the top 10 list, well beside Washington.

Not to say we shouldn't get more ppl educated, but another perspective.

Edited by webdude
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http://www.bizjournals.com/specials/pages/168.html

Houston has the second lowest percentage (17%) of 18-34 years old college graduates on the top 10 list, but it has the highest 18-34 age population at 1395769 (24.8% x 5,628,101 total pop), so we have 237280 grads in the 18-34 age range, more than any in the top 10 list, well beside Washington.

Not to say we shouldn't get more ppl educated, but another perspective.

Looking at it the same way, in reverse, we have that many more people who are falling behind.

When we end up #83 on The Education Index of 100 U.S. metros, it's damn embarrasssing.

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Actually, Coog, some people believe high school should not be for everyone. This essay posted on Richard Geib's website proposes an alternative: http://www.rjgeib.com/biography/inner-city...igh-school.html - Read this essay by Carol Jago, which proposes a work study program for people not interested in academics.

I am not worried about rankings.

I already said I am worried about high schoo dropouts.

College isn't for everyone, but High School sure should be.

But how much of this is in our control? We get many immigrants who dropped out of high school in their native countries or only have the equivalent of a high school education. Also how is the metropolitan area being defined?

Looking at it the same way, in reverse, we have that many more people who are falling behind.

When we end up #83 on The Education Index of 100 U.S. metros, it's damn embarrasssing.

Edited by VicMan
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I would not be opposed to an alternative to high school. I think vocational education is also a lost art we should bring back.

Absolutely. There is no shame in the trades, and you can make a damn comfortable living at them.

The idea that every child should go to college is why there is such a huge divide in the quality of higher ed in this country. Too many state school systems are clogged with people who are, sad to say, not 4 year degree material. We are not all unique and beautiful snowflakes. I can see a day where the 4 year degree goes away as a final degree, existing only as a stepping stone in post-graduate work, and 2-4 year vocational degrees pick up the slack.

Edited by crunchtastic
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I would not be opposed to an alternative to high school. I think vocational education is also a lost art we should bring back.

The illegal immigrant situation may be out of our control but we are going to still have to deal with it.

I agree that we need to establish more vocational schools. Houston ISD already has Barbara Jordan High School for Careers, and so perhaps it needs to establish more of those vocational schools - perhaps Jones High School could be converted into a partial vocational school and a partial military academy (in the vein of military public high schools in Chicago and Philadelphia). Also if HISD takes over NFISD, which has been reduced to a single HS, it would have a larger pool of people who would likely be interested in going to Barbara Jordan (as BJ is VERY close to NFISD).

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I would not be opposed to an alternative to high school. I think vocational education is also a lost art we should bring back.

I agree completely. We should also do something like this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Running_Start

In theory you could do this and be done with college before youre old enough to drink. Then you get to enter the "educated" workforce and pay taxes etc.

Edited by N Judah
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Absolutely. There is no shame in the trades, and you can make a damn comfortable living at them.

The idea that every child should go to college is why there is such a huge divide in the quality of higher ed in this country. Too many state school systems are clogged with people who are, sad to say, not 4 year degree material. We are not all unique and beautiful snowflakes. I can see a day where the 4 year degree goes away as a final degree, existing only as a stepping stone in post-graduate work, and 2-4 year vocational degrees pick up the slack.

I agree to a point. You're absolutely correct that the notion that maximizing the number of people that go to college erodes the very utility of college, the other side of the coin is that everybody (smart or dumb, educated or not) is allowed one vote. High school ought to be configured, in my opinion, so as that its foremost curriculum is centered on political philosophy, history, and economics. If, beyond that, students are divided between two tracks, one vocational, another for higher education, that'd be totally acceptable.

But it cannot be forgotten that public education is desirable not because I want my kid educated, per se, but because I'm fearful of the neighbor's uneducated kid.

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But it cannot be forgotten that public education is desirable not because I want my kid educated, per se, but because I'm fearful of the neighbor's uneducated kid.

This is absolutely on point. Unfortunately, our educational system has failed many of our tax paying ADULTS, who cannot seem to find the logic in this statement. A vocational education has many advantages. It provides a skilled workforce, which could help reenergize our flagging manufacturing sector. It provides a useable skill to those who recognize that they are not college material. It is often not clear to a teenager what value a generic high school diploma has, when it is only useful to enter 4 more years of college. If that same student recognizes that the high school vocational diploma might get him a $10 per hour starting salary as a mechanic, rather than the $6 per hour job at McDonalds, he may stay in school.

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A vocational education has many advantages. It provides a skilled workforce, which could help reenergize our flagging manufacturing sector. It provides a useable skill to those who recognize that they are not college material. It is often not clear to a teenager what value a generic high school diploma has, when it is only useful to enter 4 more years of college. If that same student recognizes that the high school vocational diploma might get him a $10 per hour starting salary as a mechanic, rather than the $6 per hour job at McDonalds, he may stay in school.

The Houston Press just ran a story on this very topic.

College Immaterial for High School Students in Vocational Training

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Vocational schools absolutely have their value, and in more ways than people might consider. It not only allows people who may not be of the mindset at a young age (or any age) to handle college an opportunity to learn a trade or a specialty that they can use towards a career, it can also give them a specialty of which they can make use to start a business. One thing that has always been a big part of Houston's growth and prosperity is the small business person. Part of the failure of public education to educate and graduate so many students is that those students don't see the long term realistic value and they start to check out psychologically from school all together. In their minds, they're asking, how is this "education" going to be applied? What can a high school diploma really do for them down the road beyond maybe getting them a $8/hr gig at Wal*Mart or Sears?

Kids can be rambunctious but they know more about life than some people give them credit.

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Vocational schools absolutely have their value, and in more ways than people might consider. It not only allows people who may not be of the mindset at a young age (or any age) to handle college an opportunity to learn a trade or a specialty that they can use towards a career, it can also give them a specialty of which they can make use to start a business. One thing that has always been a big part of Houston's growth and prosperity is the small business person. Part of the failure of public education to educate and graduate so many students is that those students don't see the long term realistic value and they start to check out psychologically from school all together. In their minds, they're asking, how is this "education" going to be applied? What can a high school diploma really do for them down the road beyond maybe getting them a $8/hr gig at Wal*Mart or Sears?

Kids can be rambunctious but they know more about life than some people give them credit.

The solution is for HISD to publicize Barbara Jordan and to turn Jones into a vocational school and military academy.

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High school ought to be configured, in my opinion, so as that its foremost curriculum is centered on political philosophy, history, and economics. If, beyond that, students are divided between two tracks, one vocational, another for higher education, that'd be totally acceptable.

Agree completely, but it assumes a perfect-world of primary and secondary education. Few students entering high school today have the reading comprehension and writing skills to undertake a higher level of study involving rhetoric or critical thinking. So they enter college and spend a couple of lackluster years in survey English, history and poly sci and don't get much out of it and don't much care, because they're trained to focus on a major and usually, a terminal degree. It simply doesn't leave much time to learn the basic humanities (and the rhetorical and critical skills that come with that study), plus another 2 years of focused study. And most, after 4 or 5 years of that, are tapped out financially, making the prospect of grad/professional school less likely.

I think the vocational/academic track needs to be firmly established in the high school curriculum. Like you and Red have alluded to, it could help end the endless loop of low-wage service sector jobs and set the stage for an economic future for kids without higher academic desires or talents.

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Most school districts have an entire school dedicated to a vocation. For example, in Katy ISD, we have the Miller Career Center (that is being expanded).

If I'm not mistaken, that's named for a teacher at Katy when I was there. If it's the guy I'm thinking of, he was an odd dude-- a vietnam vet, a devoted and generous teacher who started a horticulture program in the early 80s. I should dig out my yearbook and look it up.....

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Damn, I got one more year. I'm not even sure if I am college material from the stuff I am reading.

You can read which is a great start. Your first sentence might cause some issues with the English teachers.

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