HOUSTON (FOX 26) - On the campus of DeBakey High, tops in the Houston region for the 11th straight year, education advocate "Children at Risk" delivered its rankings of every public school in Texas and the collective news was positive.
"Across the state of Texas, our public schools indeed are getting better," said Dr. Bob Sanborn, President of Children at Risk.
Sanborn says the encouraging trend extended to many of the 2,400 campuses in the greater Houston area.
"This year, when we look across our region, 45 percent of our schools, almost half, got A or B grades. These are high performing schools and that is fantastic," said Sanborn.
But the news was not all good. Close to a third of Houston area campuses drew a grade of D or F. Sanborn underscored the key, ongoing challenge - 56 percent of students are economically disadvantaged with 20 percent learning English as a second language.
And yet emerging from that population are a growing number of so-called "high performing, high poverty" schools, several in Houston ISD.
"We have a lot of work that's still to do, but we are excited about the progress that we've made," said Dr. Grenita Lathan, acting superintendent of HISD.
Lathan believes substantial additional funding just approved by the Texas legislature will help accelerate improvement.
"I'm excited that we will be able to provide additional enrichment and intervention opportunity for our students, but I'm also excited that our personnel, especially our teachers, counselors and social workers will receive additional salary increases, that's very important," said Lathan.
With lawmakers now funding fill day Pre-K throughout Texas, Children at Risk says extending the school year from 180 to 210 days should be among our state's next major goals.
The grades for all Texas campuses can be found at https://texasschoolguide.org/school-rankings/.