Yet less than 7% of economically disadvantaged kids are prepared for college, compared with 27% of children who are not economically disadvantaged.
Those who enroll in community college or university in either state can spend months taking remedial courses before their coursework counts towards a degree, says Jim Lanich of Educational Results Partnership, an Education is the biggest budget item in both states, costing $100bn per year in California and $50bn in Texas. “Education is the single largest enterprise in California. And it sucks,” exclaims David Crane of Govern for California, a political outfit.
Many teachers struggle to buy their own house, says Eric Heins, who runs the California Teachers Association, a union.
The Golden State also maintains a more generous system of benefits for pensioners.
The school district, with nearly 90% low-income students, has increased achievement across all grades and subjects by 13%.
Texas wants 60% of its high-school graduates to receive a certificate, two- or four-year degree by 2030, but currently less than half that number are achieving that aim.
It is one of four states to offer lifetime tenure to teachers after only two years.
In most states, including Texas, achieving tenure takes three or more years, and even after that it is easier to fire underperforming employees.
A high-ranking education official in Texas compares his state’s poor performance to “being the thinnest fat dude. In the fiscal year 2015-16 California spent ,420 per pupil, 22% more than Texas but 4% less than the national average, according to the National Centre for Education Statistics, which tracks spending.
It’s not adequate for our kids.” Why, then, is performance so disappointing? Around three-fifths of their students are economically disadvantaged and one-fifth are bilingual or still learning English, making their task especially challenging. Funding for education in California has risen by 60% since 2010 and is at a 30-year high, but given the needs and backgrounds of its students the state still underinvests.