Misconceptions: Public Schools Can’t Prep Brightest Students

    Public Schools in Texas Are Preparing Students For Higher Education

    This is the fourth and final installment in our story series, “Misconception Mondays,” in which we dispel a common misconception about Texas public schools. The first step to becoming an advocate for all Texas students is to know the truth about our schools.

    While Raise Your Hand Texas believes that every parent and student should make the best educational choice for their family, be it public, private, parochial or home school, the fact is that Texas public schools educate the vast majority – more than 90% – of our students, and those students represent the vast majority of Texas’ future workforce. That’s why there’s so much at stake for our public schools. And that’s why Raise Your Hand Texas is dedicated to advancing public school leadership, advocacy and innovation.

    Despite what often makes the headlines, our public schools provide amazing opportunities to prepare our 5+ million Texas students for college, career, and beyond. As a starting point, read our recent blog post about innovation in Texas public schools. Then check out this map, highlighting the 58 Texas Early College High Schools, a school reform model that targets students at risk of dropping out and blends high school and college work, enabling students to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree or 60 college credit hours toward a baccalaureate degree.

    But what about the highest achievers? Don’t most of the students who get into elite U.S. universities attend elite prep schools and boarding schools?

    Not necessarily, says the research.

    More than half of students accepted by Ivy League schools are from public schools. Princeton University admitted 58% of its students from public schools for its 2013 freshman class. In fact,Kwasi Enin, the first student in history to be accepted by all eight Ivy League schools, is a Long Island public school graduate!

    The highest achievers in Texas are no exception.

    Students from across the state are experiencing the best of what our public schools have to offer to achieve their academic dreams. Take Francisca Aparo, for example. She not only took top academic honors as the 2013 valedictorian of Harlingen High School, but she was on the varsity swim team and was a member of varsity choir. The well-roundedness of her public school experience undoubtedly contributed to her being admitted to Cornell University, where she just finished up her freshman year.

    The top 2014 Texas graduates are just as impressive. Check out list of Dallas County’s 2014 public school valedictorians and salutatorians and where they are headed to college.

    Texas schools need to be focused on continuous improvement in preparing every one of our 5 million+ students for college, career and beyond. But there is no doubt that our students – even the highest performing students – can receive the preparation they need in public schools to be successful in whatever they choose after graduation.