The Greatest Pain-Points Facing Texas Public Schools Today

President of HEI

Dr. Mary Landon Darden is President of HEI, LLC. She served in education administration for 20 years and last served as a university center dean in San Antonio, TX. Darden is the author of a book co-published with the American Council on Education and Rowman and Littlefield titled Beyond 2020: Envisioning the Future of Universities in America.

It is clear that schools are experiencing increasing pain-points and are searching for ways to address these in an efficient and effective manner.  To increase awareness and insight into what various leaders in Texas public schools perceive as the greatest pain-points for their particular ISDs, I sent out a query to about a dozen contacts in various leadership positions

This was a very small preliminary query using a convenience sample.  There were five responses, which were listed below. This is not a large enough sample to be comprehensive or conclusive, but it is interesting starting point for the conversation about the pain-points in public ISDs today.

Greatest pain-points from a mid-sized Texas public school district superintendent:

1. Inadequate/inequitable state funding for public schools

2. Need fully funded all-day PreK for all qualifying students

3. State’s over-reliance on testing, testing, testing and all its rules and regulations that take up huge chunks of times.

Greatest pain-points from large urban Texas public school district assistant superintendent of HR:

1.  Fast growth

2.  Insufficient state funding

3.  Growth and support for charter schools, school vouchers, etc.

Greatest pain-points from small Texas public school district board member

1. Budget is tops for our small district.  Flat or very small enrollment increases with state formula doesn’t give much growth.  With pressure to keep taxes low, state isn’t providing the needed funding.

2. Constantly changing rules makes it very difficult to establish a strategy for improvement and to have time to execute it.

3. Lack of parent involvement with their kids, ensuring they are performing and providing guidance.

Greatest pain-points from a former public school district board chair

1. funding

2. staff language diversity level not matching student language diversity level

3. social media misuse by students and faculty that is outside of school, but impacts what happens inside

Greatest pain-points from a public school district teacher

1)  WAY too much testing!

2) Teachers not treated as the professionals that they are.

3)  Early, intensive intervention for students with learning difficulties not given the funding and manpower needed.

Incidentally, in the lack of funds is also the greatest threat to higher education. 

Most of the comments from this sample were related to funding – or lack thereof. This appears to be compounded for some by the increase in funding and support being channeled toward charter schools. Inequity in the funding process was mentioned by the superintendent who responded.

There are many issues to consider and discuss on this page.

Some questions to begin the discussions could be the following:

  1. How can we enhance the financial resources of public schools?  Can ideas be borrowed from business, industry, higher education?
  2. How can we make PreK-12 education more equitable, where all schools and all children have the best education wherever they are?
  3. How can we build diversity at all levels, teachers, staff, and students?
  4. How can we stabilize the constantly changing rules so that schools can, in turn, adapt and stabilize more?
  5. How can we involve parents more directly with the schools and their children’s school activities?
  6. How can we build public PreK programs for all ISDs?
  7. How can we build healthy parameters for social media usage?
  8. How can we reduce testing and find a better more effective way to assess teaching and learning in public schools?
  9. How can we treat and support teachers better?

Question: What pain-points are hurting your classroom (and your future) the most? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

President of HEI

Dr. Mary Landon Darden is President of HEI, LLC. She served in education administration for 20 years and last served as a university center dean in San Antonio, TX. Darden is the author of a book co-published with the American Council on Education and Rowman and Littlefield titled Beyond 2020: Envisioning the Future of Universities in America.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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