In a recent Houston Chronicle section, school rankings for all Houston-area public school districts were released. The analysis was conducted by the “Children at Risk” non-profit organization. True to its mission, the ratings are primarily based on how well schools educate disadvantaged students. Schools are rated based on whether “students scored at the highest levels on state-mandated exams.” All of the schools were rated on a letter grade from A to F. I contend that, contrary to the newspaper narrative, Pearland ISD outperformed ALL other school districts in the entire area! Let me explain:

  • ALL of our Pearland ISD schools received A’s or B’s as their ranking. (15 of our schools received an A; 6 received a B.)
  • No district of 5A size in 2013 had all A’s and B’s like we did. All those districts had multiple schools with C’s and many with D’s and some F’s. The much smaller districts of Friendswood ISD (with 4 A’s and 2 B’s), along with Barber’s Hill and Waller ISD, came closest to us.
  • Even the most touted charter school enterprises (e.g., KIPP) had schools receiving C’s or lower. (I note such schools are exempt from many state regulations and have distinct advantages in terms of who chooses to enroll — and the extra time/effort which can be required of them.)
  • Only schools with high percentages of economically disadvantaged students — including magnet schools which can cherry pick their applicants — can realistically be at the top of the top of the list. For example, the DeBakey school in Houston ISD was decreed as the best of the best for two years running — but has highly selective admissions criteria and highly pre-motivated students/parents. It admits only 250 freshmen a year, though between 1,200 and 1,400 students typically apply and they must have high grades, conduct, and test scores.
  • The explanation of the rankings state that “Suburban schools with more affluent students or specialty schools that require students to apply continue to dominate the top of the rankings.” However, I would contend that Pearland ISD is the overall winner — and we did not have ANY specialized schools or selective admissions.

Congratulations to each of our schools, to our hard-working teachers and staff, and to our students who produced these test scores! This analysis is only one way to measure success. Our goal to become “world-class” requires success in many other areas as well. But we take a step forward when we outperform the entire Houston area on any student achievement measure!

Note:  Children at Risk revised their ratings on Sunday, May 18, 2014.  The above article now revises the stats – and continues to confirm the conclusions reached.


  1. 1 Georganne Hodges May 16, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I completely agree. I read the Chronicle section very closely and although not specifically stated was very happy to see Pearland recognized for it’s stellar school system. The Dawson High School story is a particularly impressive one Great job!

  1. 1 School Ratings – Tops in the Houston Area! | The Silvercreek Tribune Trackback on May 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm

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