Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
Statements Versus Facts:
by Jul Kamen and
02 December 2010
On November 12, 2010, PBS Channel 8, in Houston, hosted a panel discussion on Galveston's public housing. The participants were Mayor Joe Jaworski, GHA Chair Paula Neff, and GOGP president David Stanowski.
Many statements were made regarding various aspects of public housing: why we need it, who lives in it, who pays for it, and what type offers the best solution. Although this was not a debate, many of their remarks need clarification.
This is the third in a series of articles to examine these statements against the facts.
1) We will paraphrase the panelist's statement.
2) Give the exact location on the video where the entire statement can be found.
3) Provide the facts regarding that statement.
The reader can then judge for themselves the validity of the statement against the facts provided.
“First off, I believe that our public school system is going to set a National Standard”. For the entire quote, slide the cursor beneath the video to 7:50 minutes.
1.) The Galveston Independent School District (GISD) had a District Rating of four out of a possible ten, according to Great Schools Organization. Great Schools' ratings are based on each state's main standardized tests.
2.) In 2009-2010 GISD was rated "Academically Unacceptable" by the Texas Education Agency.
In 2008-2009, the district was rated "Academically Unacceptable".
3.) One factor in determining whether or not a school district can support additional public housing is its percentage of economically disadvantaged children.
6,358 GISD Total enrollment
4,392 GISD Total Economically Disadvantaged Students
69% of the GISD student population is Economically Disadvantaged, i.e. eligible for Free or Reduced Meals.
Source: Texas Education Agency, Economically Disadvantaged Status Reports
4.) TAKS Results Grade 3
GISD 85% - State average 92%
GISD 76% - State average 86%
TAKS Results Grade 5
GISD 82% - State average 85%
GISD 83% - State average 86%
5.) Ball High is the recent recipient of a Texas Title I Priority Grant. "The grant is given to the most struggling, lowest-
achieving schools in the state. Campuses are eligible if identified as 'persistently lowest-achieving'".
Grant aims to help Ball students succeed
6.) The Urban Land Institute, recommended that Galveston "not bother trying to attract families."
Source: (presentation September 16, 2009 Hotel Galvez)
"Given the perception that the public school system needs to be improved..the best near term targets for increasing middle income..are households without school-aged children." Additionally, "The relatively low home-ownership rate in Galveston is attributable to multiple factors, but the most significant are: consumer concerns with the quality and variety of public education".
Source: January 11, 2010 ULI Sustainable Neighborhoods report, pgs. 11-12
7.) In The Housing Market Survey, completed June 29, 2010, respondents identified "good public schools" as the most important factor for selecting a community, second only to safety. They also reported: "The biggest disadvantages (of choosing Galveston) were cost of housing, choice of housing, and quality of schools".
Source: City of Galveston Housing Market Study, pg. 4-5
The Galveston Independent School District has demonstrated improvement over the past few years, however, in light of the information provided above, and the prospect of being forced to educate hundreds of additional economically disadvantaged students, is it likely that GISD is on the verge of setting a "National Standard", as the mayor claims?
Readers are free to draw their own conclusions.
It should also be noted that Mayor Jaworski's children do not attend GISD schools.