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Kyle, Texas
March 20, 2013     Hays Free Press
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March 20, 2013

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F March 20, 2013 GLYNDA'S HOPE Cancer not any easier second time around. - Page 1C Page 3B SUBMI'n'ED REPORT Although 80 percent of students graduating high school think they are ready for college once they have their diplomas, the reality does not reflect this confidence. If students base their vi- sions of college on the pop culture representation in movies like Van W'flder or Old School, they are in for a shock when their first week of class- es results in the expectation that they will complete two' personal essays, an analysis of the role abolitionists played in the Civil War and 140 pages of background reading over the weekend. Highly moti- vated individuals are able to navigate the initial adjustment to college by tweaking their study habits. But many are not up to this challenge. This is not solely an Ameri- can phenomenon, either; studies suggest that up to half of all college students drop out of college for various rea- sons before earning a degree. To put it in perspective, China has a 55.8 percent attainment rate, which measures the percentage of students who complete their degrees, com- pared to Japan's 53.7 percent; New Zealand's 47.3 percent; Ireland's 43.9 percent; and America's 40 percent. Of course, it's possible that .many of these students simply don't see the point of stay- ing in college. With a record 50 percent of young adults unemployed or underem- ployed - meaning they either have part-time jobs or jobs for which they are overquali- fied - more American college graduates are living at home with their parents after school than at any time since 1950. However, despite such discouraging job statistics, it would be unfair to blame the job market for the ill pre- paredness displayed by many high school graduates. Consider the following: At the time of gradua- tion, nine in ten American high school graduates cannot identify Afghanistan on a map of Asia Three in ten cannot find China- the biggest country in the world - on a globe Roughly half cannot find NewYork state on a U.S. map As a result of these and other findings, more than 2.2 million college freshman must take remedial courses that teach high school mate- rial d~ing their first year in college in order to catch up with their peers. Taxpayers shell out $5.6 billion for these remedial courses. To put that figure into perspective, if dif- ferently allocated, that money , could pay for 175,000 students to attend four years of college. Students who are currently struggling with school should know that there are many re- sources available, from reach- ing out to on-campus advi- sors, joining study groups and taking advantage of technol- ogy to help them study more efficiently through online classes. College is hard work, despite its sometimes-hazy portrayal in pop culture. But it doesn't have to be impossible, provided students prepare themselves socially and aca- demically for the challenge. 55.5% ~ JAPAM 53.7% ~USA 40% OF COLLEGE FRESHMAN ARE FOR COLLEGE COLLEGE FRESHMAN CANNOT u,s, See UNPREPARED FOR COLLEGE, pg. 4B Texas House passes budget; Senate expected to do the same BY KIM HILSENBECK in Schools (CIS). during the school year. TFA is a national teacher corps Former Texas Education Agen- of recent college graduates who cy Commissioner Robert Scott commit two years to teach in said the mentality that standard- Following a contentious legis- under-resourced urban and ru- ized testing is the"end-all, be-all" lative session in 2011, the Texas ral public schools. CIS provides is a"perversion" of what a quality House and Senate introduced counseling services in schools to education should be. lean budgets this go 'round. Back address the many needs to stu- But proponents say there must in January, the House proposed a dents that are not being met by be a way to measure the effective- $187.7billionbudgetcomparedto school cotmselors, who are often ness of student learning. Not to $186.8 from the Senate. Both bud- tasked with standardized tesdng mention that federal law still re- gets, however, proposed about the issues, quires standardized testing under same amount in general revenue Another $140 million would be No Child Left Behind. spending- roughly $89 billion, used to increase the state's contri- in theTexas House draftbudget, Though Democrats were quick bution to the Teacher Retirement state representatives zeroed out to criticize, Republicanlawmakers System pension trust fund. all funding for statewide standard- insisted the budgets were a jump- Meanwhile, the Texas Comp- ized testing. At the time, Speaker ing point for having the conversa- troller projected about $12 billion Joe Straus said, "The Texas House tion about spending, in the state's so-called Rainy Day has heard you." Last week, the House Appro- Fund. Many Democrats would However, the tactic may have priations Committee approved its like to see the state tap into that been more ceremonial than con- version ofthe state budget, House reserve to restore public educa- crete. Bill 1. tion funding to pre-2011 levels. The Dallas Morning News re- Prior to giving it the green light, But legislators are sizing up that ported earlier this spring that the committee voted to increase kitty for water development and the Senate's preliminary budget public education formula funding highway infrastructure projects, included about $94 million for $1.7 billion. This closely matches SB 1 is expected to go to a vote the State of Texas Assessments of the Senate version of the budget, in the full Senate this week. Academic Readiness (STAAR). So SB 1, which would increase public those two budgets would have to education spending by $1.5 bil- Texas l.egislature zeros out fund- bereconc'fled. lion. hag for standardized testing Rep. Jason Isaac of House Dis- Part ofthat increase in SB l will In an increasingiy bitter debate trict 45 said the move was part go toward formula funding byin- about standardized testing, edu- of zero-based budgetin~ where creasing the basic allotment. The cators, parents, the business com- agencies such as the Texas Educa- additional $125 million will be munity and lawmakers are in dis- tionAgencywouldhavetoexplain used to provide small increases to agreement about the best course the need for the fundingto the leg- the Student Success Initiative, full- of action to take. islature rather than automatically day kindergarten, as well as career Many critics of standardized grantingthesameleveloffunding and technical funding, testing claim the expense and el- as the previous biennium. HB 1 includes an additional fort are not creating students who Isaac recently filed legislation $200 million; about $50 million are more prepared to graduate, to allow school dislricts to create for programs such as Teach for Opponents also say testing takes their own assessment plans to America (TFA)and Communities up too much instruction t~ne measure studentsuccess. Last spring, Texas ninth How the test ratings work: graders took the STAAR end- Students rated"Unsatisfac- of-course exams for the first tory" are considered"inad- time. Because the data has not equately prepared for the yet been released by Pearson next grade or course." Education, these results do not Students rated "Satisfac- include summer end-of-course tory" are considered "suf- retakes, and only represent the ficiently prepared for the tests taken in the spring, next grade or course." Students rated 'gtdvanced" are considered "well pre- pared for the next grade or course." Note: Students considered "Advanced" are included in the total for Satisfactory. Austin ISD Dripping Hays San Marcos Springs ISD CISD ISD Algebra I Unsatisfactory 16.2 3.2 12.8 28.0 Satisfactory/Advanced 83.8 96.8 87.2 72.0 Geometry Unsatisfactory 1.2 0.0 3.5 7.3 Satisfactory~Advanced 96.8 100.0 96.5 92.7 Biology Unsatisfactory 15.8 1.4 8.7 21.3 Satisfactory/Advanced 84.2 98.6 91.3 78.7 English Reading I Unsatisfactory 31.1 11.7 28.7 36.4 Satisfactory/Advanced 68.9 88.3 71.3 63.6 English Writing I Unsatisfactory 46.1 20.4 46.8 56.8 Satisfactory/Advanced 53.9 79.6 53.2 43.2 World Geography Unsatisfactory 20.9 5.7 12.4 24.0 Satisfactory/Advanced 79.1 94.3 87.6 76.0 U.S. History Unsatisfactory 52.0 45.3 Satisfactory~Advanced 48.0 54.7 - score unavailable To schedule an appointment, call 512-694-1746 ............ ADWARE SPYWARE MALWARE VIRUSES On-Site Removal (requires broadband internet access) Norton Internet Security and Anti-Virus 2010 Mfr. Rebates Available to Previous Owners FARMERS Debbie Thames Insurance Agency AUTO HOME LIFE BOAT HEALTH 251 N. 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