HOUSTON

Citywide Education Progress Report

Key Takeaways: Student and School Outcomes

Houston’s graduation rate has improved over time to be about on par with the state’s. In other areas, our measures show strong outcomes overall, but some stagnation. Students have fairly equitable access to advanced coursework in high school, and low-income students perform slightly better in math and reading than their peers nationally. Proficiency rates in Houston were about on par with state averages in 2014-15, but the city made no gains over four years in math and fell behind in reading.

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Is the education system continuously improving?

► Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, the city’s graduation rate improved. In 2014-15, the city’s graduation rate was about on par with the state’s.

Data: Percent of first-time 9th grade students graduating in four years, citywide and statewide.
Source: EDFacts Initiative, U.S. Department of Education, Assessment and Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates Data, 2011-12 to 2014-15.


► Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, the city’s proficiency rate trends in math mirrored the state’s. In 2014-15 the city’s proficiency rate was 4 percentage points below the state average.

Data: The city’s estimated gains in proficiency rates across elementary and middle schools, standardized at the state level and controlling for student demographics.
Sources: Texas Education Agency, 2010-11 to 2014-15; National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2010-11 to 2014-15.


► Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, the reading proficiency rate gap between the city and state widened. In 2015, the city’s proficiency rate was 5 percentage points below the state average.

Data: The city’s estimated gains in proficiency rates across elementary and middle schools, standardized at the state level and controlling for student demographics.
Sources: Texas Education Agency, 2010-11 to 2014-15; National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2010-11 to 2014-15.


Do students have access to a high-quality education?

► The Education Equality Index (EEI) identifies how students from low-income families are performing in cities and schools across the country. See this interactive tool to explore individual school performance.

Data: The Education Equality Index (EEI) was supplied by Education Cities and GreatSchools. See their site for more detail.

Sources: Texas Education Agency, 2010-11 to 2014-15; National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2010-11 to 2014-15.

► Students from low-income families in Houston are performing somewhat better in math and reading than low-income students in the average city. EEI scores in Houston have decreased by 2% over time.

Data: The Education Equality Index (EEI) was supplied by Education Cities and GreatSchools. See their site for more detail.

Sources: Texas Education Agency, 2010-11 to 2014-15; National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2010-11 to 2014-15.

► In 2013-14, all student sub-groups in the city were enrolled in advanced math coursework at a similar rate as the high school population.

Data: Enrollment of students in math courses above Algebra II. Rates calculated by dividing the number of students enrolled in advanced math by the number of students in the school. Sub-group rates determined at the school level.
Source: U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection 2013-2014.


Data & Scoring

Where did we get this data?

► Publicly available state and federal data, making our results comparable and reproducible.

► The most up-to-date data available for all 18 cities at the time of our data collection. See Methodology & Resources for more information.

What makes the data citywide?

► We include all charter and district schools within the municipal boundary of a city.

► In Houston, Indianapolis, Memphis, New Orleans, and San Antonio we use school data from multiple districts within the municipal boundary.

Background

About Houston

Houston is a city with a large geographic footprint that includes 17 school districts—many of which serve students outside the city limits—and 156 charter schools within its municipal boundaries. Houston Independent School District (HISD), the seventh largest district in the country, serves families living in the center of the city.  Superintendent Richard Carranza stepped down in March 2018 to become chancellor of New York City Schools. Chief Academic Officer Grenita Lathan was unanimously voted in as interim superintendent and enjoys strong local support.

School Choice in the City

All families in Houston are assigned to a neighborhood school. HISD allows for out-of-district transfers and has a number of transfer options for its own schools, including magnet programs, public education grants, and space-available transfers. Most charter schools are open enrollment and do not have specific neighborhood zones. Texas law allows for inter-district choice, so students can apply for enrollment in other Houston-area districts.

Governance Model

HISD is the main district in the city, but there are 17 other districts in the greater metropolitan area. All districts are governed by a locally elected school board. Most charters in the city are authorized by the Texas Education Agency.

2015 District and Charter Student Body

Enrollment: 579,609 students
Race and ethnicity: 60% Hispanic, 24% black, 9% white, 7% other
Low-income: 73% free and reduced-price lunch

2017 School Composition 

Source: Enrollment data from EDFacts, 2014-15.
School data from researcher analysis of public records, 2016-17.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education is a research and policy analysis center at the University of Washington Bothell developing systemwide solutions for K–12 public education. Questions? Email crpe@uw.edu.