East Texas Schools Do Poorly on AEIS

The State of Texas released its report card for East Texas School Districts. For three of the biggest districts, the news is not good.

TISD'S Director of Assesment, Dr. Joe Garrison is concerned. "We've got work to do," said Garrison while looking at TISD's Academic Excellence Indicator System scores for 2002-2003. In six of the most important categories, TISD and other East Texas schools did not perform well.

On the TAKS test averaged across all grades, the State of Texas Average was 67.4% passing. Tyler scored a 66.2%. Longview ISD had a 64.1% and Jacksonville ISD a 60.6%. All three were below the rest of the state.

In the percentage of seniors who graduated, Texas averaged 82.8%. Jacksonville beat that with nearly 90% graduating. But both Tyler and Longview fell short with 80.9% and 82.2% respectively. "That's about 20 less than our goal," said Garrison. "We want to get 100 percent of our students to graduate. The populations that we are struggling with are both our minorities, Hispanic especially, and our African American population. We have to find programs to keep them engaged in school."

State wide, 19.4% of high school students take advanced courses. But in East Texas the number is lower. JISD posted a 19.3%, LISD was 17.4%, while Tyler fell well short with just 12.8%.

The percent of students taking Advanced Placement or International Baccalauriate classes in Texas is 15. 13.6% of Tyler studets did last year. Jacksonville barely topped 10 percent. LISD doubled that number with 21.6%.

Dr. Garrison says TISD wants all of it's seniors to take either the SAT or ACT tests. But last year only 52.1% did. Jacksonville had 54.2%. Longview topped the state average with 64.3%. The best news on the AEIS report is all three districts posted SAT scores above the state average.

But, Dr. Garrison says unless local schools improve in all of these areas, our children could have a harder time competing once they get out of high school. "It puts students at a disadvantage or we'll have a higher percentage of students at a disadvantage if they're not prepared."

Both Longview ISD and Jacksonville ISD were not available to talk about the AEIS scores.

If you would like to look at the complete scores for your school district, you can go to KLTV.com. There you will find a link to the "AEIS results".

Stephen Parr, reporting.