If you were around in 2000, you surely remember George W. Bush’s boasts of a “Texas miracle.” I heard it often. Testing and accountability, applied every year to every child, had raised test scores and narrowed the gap between white and black students. Based on that Texas Brag, the nation got No Child Left Behind.

It wasn’t true then, and it’s not true now.

Consider this: Texas students just registered the lowest score on the SAT math in 22 years. The reading score was almost as bad.

Terrence Stutz of the Dallas Morning News writes:

“AUSTIN — Texas high school students slipped to their lowest SAT math scores in more than two decades this year, while reading scores on the college entrance exam were the second lowest during that period.

“Results being released Tuesday by the College Board, which administers the exam, showed that the average score on the math section of the SAT dropped four points from last year to 495. That was the lowest figure since 1992, when Texas students recorded an average score of 493. A perfect score is 800.

“In reading, the Class of 2014 in Texas scored an average 476. That was down slightly from last year but still two points better than their worst showing in the past two decades. That occurred in 2012.

“In writing, Texas students registered an average 461 for the third year in a row.

“Students across the U.S. saw their scores in math drop slightly. But the long-standing achievement gap between Texas and the nation grew significantly this year. In reading, the average score nationwide increased slightly and remained well above the average in Texas.

“State education officials have attributed the declining SAT scores in Texas to an increase in the number of minority students taking the exam. Minorities generally perform worse than white students on standardized achievement tests like the SAT and ACT, the nation’s two leading college entrance exams.

“However, California students outperformed Texans by big margins this year — 15 points in math and 22 points in reading.

“Demographics of the student populations in the two states are similar: California is 52.7 percent Hispanic and 25.5 percent white, while Texas is 51.3 percent Hispanic and 30 percent white.

“In addition, more than 60 percent of seniors in both states took the SAT. School districts have in recent years encouraged students to take either the SAT or ACT to get them thinking about what to do after high school.”

“The drop in SAT math scores is likely to rekindle debate over the state’s recent decision to no longer require that all high school students take Algebra II. Over the objections of business and minority-rights groups, the Legislature and State Board of Education dropped Algebra II as a requirement except for students in advanced graduation plans.

“Among those groups were the Texas Association of Business and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Bill Hammond, a former Texas House member who leads the influential business group, said at the time that the state’s retreat on Algebra II and other more challenging courses “dooms generations of students to a mediocre education and low-wage jobs.” Hammond also pointed out that research shows students who skip the course get lower scores in math on the SAT and ACT and are less prepared for college.”

Ah, yes, Bill Hammond, the man who raised no objection to multi-billion dollar budget cuts, the man who thinks that more tests cure all problems.

If Texas doesn’t restore all of the $5.3 billion cut from the public schools in 2011, why should it expect better results? Stop funding Pearson and start funding students.