Emails (excerpted), Trey Newton, campaign manager, George P. Bush campaign, Aug. 14-15, 2013
Aug. 14, 2013
Here is some of the source documentation related to the tweet we discussed earlier.
Let me know if you need any additional information.
From: Selby, Gardner
Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 12:50 PM
To: Trey Newton
Subject: Following up
I see where the figures came from. I need to check original sources yet.
Also, I am curious why Bush said this, given that he’s not running for an education position, strictly speaking. Context?
Aug. 14, 2013
First, George P. is a former public school teacher, served as Co-Chairman of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Celebration of Reading, is Chairman of Tarrant County Uplift Education Charter Schools and is running for Texas Land Commissioner -- a position which manages the Permanent School Fund portfolio. That would be the context.
Second, the data was collected as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, run by the National Center for Educational Statistics as part of the US Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. As part of their survey design they made the distinction. There are differences in the overall design of these degree plans including the number of upper division mathematics courses taken and the level of advanced mathematics taken.
For example, a math education major may not be required to take courses on Abstract Algebra or Advanced Statistical Analysis because their focus is typically teaching 6th-12th grade math while these would be regular courses for a mathematics major.
Having educators with an understanding of advanced mathematics concepts beyond what is required is essential with the growth of STEM fields in Texas today. These educators have the background necessary for teaching advanced courses in schools and the understanding of advanced concepts that will allow them to make these relevant to students and increase student engagement with STEM.
From: Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin) [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 15, 2013 12:08 PM
To: Trey Newton
To rewind: On the 2011 math test, 81 percent of participating Texas 8th graders scored well enough to meet or exceed the “basic” threshold--counting 40 percent of students who were “proficient.”
On the 2009 test, 78 percent of Texas 8th graders scored well enough to clear the “basic” hurdle, 36 percent of them proving “proficient.” The state-level chart indicates that such results are far better than in the first year shown, 1990, when 45 percent of the tested Texas students achieved “basic” scores or better, including 13 percent rated as “proficient.”
Focusing on students considered proficient could be misleading, no? That is, 81 percent of the TX students scored well enough to be considered “basic” or better (this rolls in the proficient scores). Broadly, too, increasing shares of Texas students have cleared both test-score hurdles over time.
Aug. 15, 2013
In a statement put out by the National Science Foundation regarding NAEP scores they highlight that few students at grades 4,8, or 12 reached grade specific proficiency levels.
The STEM Education Coalition cites Change the Equation: STEM Vital Signs and their use of the NAEP data in this fashion.
If major education agencies are choosing to report it this way, choosing to report the proficient number rather than the basic, we are not being misleading by following suit. Using these standards the claim is completely accurate.