The story begins with: “Texas is one of several states that have set a low bar for determining whether their students are proficient in math and reading, according to a new study from the federal government’s National Center for Education Statistics.”

The Dallas Morning News version of the story points out that “Texas was one of 15 states with a proficiency standard on its eighth-grade reading test that was lower than the basic performance standard on the national exam.”

Based on 2007 scores, the study is important because the National Assessment of Educational Progress is the only test taken by all government school students in all states. Researchers found that “students of similar academic skills, but residing in different states, are being evaluated against different standards for proficiency in reading and mathematics.”

Public education is one of the most expensive endeavors upon which we embark as a society. We confiscate a portion of the labor of all residents to pay for schooling, not for the purpose of providing jobs to teacher and administrators but, to provide for an educated society so that economic progress can be made.

With so much of our treasure going to this effort, we would be irresponsible not to demand accurate measurement of results. And when our schools deem students proficient in reading, when those same students may not be able to pass the basic level for the same skill in other states, we are all being cheated – especially the students, and it’s something that will harm them, and us, for the rest of their lives.

Robert Pratt is host of the top rated Pratt on Texas radio program which can be heard at

Pratt on Texas

Robert Pratt has been active in Texas Republican politics since the Reagan re-elect in 1984. He has served as Lubbock County Republican chairman, and in 2006 founded the Pratt on Texas radio network, providing the news and commentary of Texas on both radio and podcast. Learn more at