A majority of students in Texas government schools continue to perform below grade level, according to the latest data released by the Texas Education Agency.

A new TEA report shows more than half of all students statewide fail to meet grade level standards on the state’s standardized academic achievement tests known as STAAR. One Central Texas mom called the data “disappointing and very concerning.”

Just 49 percent of Texas students met or exceeded grade level across all grades and all subjects during the 2022-23 school year.

The report’s academic performance ratings for Grade 4 show just 48 percent of students reading at grade level or above in 2023, a decline from last year’s 54 percent.

Texas mom Tara Petsch, who lives in Fredericksburg, said the new data is “disappointing and very concerning.”

“Only 53 percent of Texas students met grade level standards in reading and only 45 percent in math!” she said.

Petsch is a public school parent, homeschool parent, and the Texas Ambassador for Moms For Liberty.

She told Texas Scorecard parents have been sounding the alarm about “woke” agendas and curriculum being pushed on students in school, yet “districts are aggressively implementing mental health programs and health clinics instead of solely focusing on the academics of their students.”

In Fredericksburg Independent School District, only 38 percent of 3rd-8th graders met grade level standards in math and reading. This is a tragedy and makes me incredibly sad. How can our 8th graders enter high school and be successful being so far behind? Our school board and superintendent should be sounding the alarm and sharing with parents their plan to fix this.

“Last year’s STAAR scores serve as proof that parents have been right,” Petsch added. “The failing scores explain why some parents want school choice legislation. No matter how one feels about education savings accounts, Texas parents have real, legitimate concerns with the education their children are getting.”

The STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) test is “designed to measure the extent to which a student has learned and is able to apply the defined knowledge and skills in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) at each tested grade, subject, and course.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott proposed legislation to phase out the controversial STAAR test, but lawmakers failed to pass the education reform package because it included a limited education savings account program.

“We accept no more excuses from school boards and superintendents,” said Petsch. “Texas children deserve the right to learn how to read in public school. Public schools have one job: to educate our children in essential knowledge and skills.”

The new TEA report comes from the Texas Performance Reporting System (TPRS), which “integrates state and federal reporting requirements into a single reporting system that can be viewed at the campus, district, region, and state level.”

The agency says the TPRS is “the most comprehensive reporting system published by TEA” and “provides additional performance reports, results, and indicators for student groups not previously reported on state accountability data tables, the Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR), or the School Report Card.”

Petsch said she hopes the results are “a wake up call to school districts to get back to focusing on student academics and leave the rest to parents.”

Search here to see TPRS results from specific school districts, campuses, or regions.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.