Updated January 2018
San Antonio has prioritized education and made significant investments in this area in recent years. When the SA2020 vision was created, education received more attention than any other Cause Area as a foundational area of concern and opportunity for improvement. The challenge with trending data year over year is that sources change. That is never more prevalent than in education data.
Kinder Readiness has been tracked since 2013 and shows progress. The interpretation of these data is limited by geography. Since the Early Development Instrument (EDI) has been implemented in additional school districts each year since 2012, it is difficult to trend the entirety of the population assessed since they are not consistent year-to-year. In order to trend these data, Community Information: Now has chosen to monitor the 245 census tracts (of the approximate 365 Bexar County tracts) that had students assessed in the baseline year. For these tracts, there has been progress made annually but not at the rate needed to meet the 2020 goal. Third grade literacy is not moving in the right direction. In October 2015, the Texas Education Agency announced changes to the structure of the multi-year STAAR assessment phase-in plan and that the more rigorous Phase-In 2 standard would be used for 2015-2016 across the state. These changes directly impact the ability to compare assessment pass rates year-to-year. The previous phase-in plan allowed for standards to remain unchanged for multiple years before progressing to the next phase and increasing substantially. In the new plan, the standard is increased annually at smaller increments. While this new plan should allow for a more gradual adjustment towards the final STAAR performance standards in 2021-2022, assessment pass rates will not be directly comparable year-to-year as the standards change. High school graduation rate surpassed the 2020 target in 2012 and has continued to increase.
Previously, college readiness was defined by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) through SAT, ACT and TAKS scores with a graduate having met or exceeded the college-ready criteria on these exams. In 2016, however, since TAKS has been phased out, TEA now uses SAT, ACT, and Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA). TSIA is designed to help a college or university determine if a student is ready for college-level course work in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics. An incoming college student in Texas is required to take the TSIA, unless exempt (due to ACT, SAT, or TAKS scores, or transfer, veteran, or enrollment status), to determine readiness for college-level work. Based on performance, students may either be enrolled in college-level course and/or placed in the appropriate developmental course or intervention to improve skills and prepare them for success in college-level courses. For more information, visit collegeforalltexans.com. The result is that the percent considered “college ready” drops by almost half because TAKS (the mastery of HS curriculum) and TSIA (college readiness) are measuring two very different things. Prior to the shift, this indicator showed that 53.9% of students were “college-ready,” which showed progress toward the SA2020 goal, but not at the rate needed to meet the target. Fewer students are enrolling in college according to data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which shows a downward trend, again, in 2016. In College Attainment, we are continuing to make progress towards the 2020 goal of having 50% of the 25+ population have an associate's degree or higher; however, the annual changes are not at a rate great enough to meet the target by 2020. Further, the margins of error associated with these estimates make it hard to interpret year-to-year changes with certainty.
Why is this important?
Education is the cornerstone to any great city’s success, providing the foundation for building a competitive workforce, attracting world-class companies and fueling economic growth. But great education is not just about great schools. Great education requires the support of strong and stable families, safe and connected neighborhoods, and a high degree of community involvement.
Education impacts individual earnings five times more than any other demographic factor (US Census Bureau, 2011). San Antonio industry needs continue to grow disproportionately to the skill attainment of our workforce, and research shows that 65% of all jobs will require something beyond high school by the year 2020. Nationally, college attainment rates sit at around 45%, while in Texas it’s closer to 42%. In San Antonio, we hover at around 33%. With approximately 275,000 adults 25 years old or older with some college and no degrees and 169,000 13-18 year olds in Bexar County, we have an opportunity to significantly impact generations to come.
Today, we ask very specific questions:
- What are we doing to cultivate talent in our community?
- What are we doing to foster talent in our community?
- What are we doing to support talent in our community?
The San Antonio Area Foundation understands impact. The community foundation helps people make meaningful gifts that will have a long-lasting impact on the quality of life in San Antonio. One key impact area is the education of today’s students. Donors at the San Antonio Area Foundation believe that the future success of our community rests in the hands of today’s students and that success is greatly enhanced by a quality education. That’s why donors have established more than 90 scholarship funds for graduating high school and current college students to ensure educational dreams and goals are not hindered nor altered due to financial concerns. In 2016 alone, 649 students received scholarships for a total of $3.3 million. In addition, the Area Foundation began the College Success Program in 2017 to help renewable scholarship recipients complete their education on time. The Area Foundation also focuses on high school completion, another key community initiative, to ensure students are equipped and empowered for graduation. The Area Foundation does this by awarding grants to nonprofit organizations that provide out-of-school programs to Bexar County students in third through ninth grade. By funding and supporting our local nonpro ts and students, the San Antonio Area Foundation is transforming both the lives of San Antonio’s young people and the future of our community.