Making the Grade
More letters from readers about our December 2006 article “The Best Public Schools.”
I ALWAYS ENJOY your school ratings for public schools in the state, but what about private schools? It is very difficult for discerning parents in search of a private school to compare them—different tests, costs, benefits. I am the Home and School president for Angelo Catholic School, in San Angelo, and we would love to show off our test scores and benefits, as I m sure many other reputable schools would.
WEST UNIVERSITY ELEMENTARY, in Houston, was notably absent from your list of the best public schools. West University, based on the TEA (Texas Education Agency), has received exemplary status for three consecutive years and also been named a Texas Honor School by the TBEC (Texas Business and Education Coalition). I would hope that this was merely an accident on the part of Texas Monthly’s. I don’t know how you could have left out a school that accomplished this status in education excellence three years running.
ARE THERE REALLY no public high schools west of Austin? Since the data was “too complicated” for reproduction in print, the one paragraph explanation of your listing of the best schools could do better than to say, if your school isn’t listed, “Get back to work!”
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
HOW CAN A MAJOR Texas periodical that appeals to an educated Texas audience ignore the “best” public school in the state? The Burnham Wood Charter School, in El Paso, is a public school. Yes, this public school has consistently outperformed all the El Paso—area schools lauded by Texas Monthly. Year after year, with less funding, similar enrollment demographics, and similar accountability requirements, Burnham Wood has come out on top.
JUST LOOK AT our 2005—2006 report card for this year and take note of our “recognized” rating, our gold performance acknowledgements in attendance, and our exemplary science scores. Dig deeper and you will find that Burnham Wood Charter School always met AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) and was rated “exemplary” for 2003—2004 and 2004—2005 when no other school in the entire region 19 education service center, at any level, could claim this distinction. Prior to that, Burnham Wood enjoyed “recognized” status. For every year of Burnham Wood’s more than eight years in operation, it was awarded gold performance commendations by the Texas Education Agency.
IRIS B. BURNHAM
THE STUDY YOU used, NCEA, must have a big flaw, because Fort Settlement Middle School, in Fort Bend ISD, is located in a very wealthy area and the demographic makeup is small. Sugar Land Middle School, also located in Fort Bend ISD, is very low in scores and also having a lot of gang issues. I hope you as a magazine for Texas would have sent your reporters to the schools, walked around with the principals unannounced to the staff, and viewed the schools yourself before printing this article.