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Public Comment to TEA - Algebra 1 in 8th Grade

February 1, 2023

By 2030, 62% of all Texas jobs will require some kind of postsecondary credential,[1] but only 48% of adults in Texas have a postsecondary credential,[2] and currently only 23% of Texas students earn a postsecondary degree within 6 years of graduation.[3] Statewide, as of 2022, 43% of Texas 3rd graders meet grade level mathematics – up from 31% in 2021.[4]
Our students need access to high quality mathematics instructions early and often to ensure they have access to postsecondary options of their choice and ultimately, so they have access to any career of their choice.
In an effort to better assess if Texas public and higher education systems foster seamless student transitions into postsecondary and career options that lead to family sustaining wages, Philanthropy Advocates commissioned research by Texas Tech University’s Center for Innovative Research in Change, Leadership, and Education to analyze whether Texas high school graduation coursework requirements foster success after high school. Our commissioned research aims to consider different definitions of college readiness and their impact on students and institutions. Part of the research findings affirm what is widely known about the positive effects for student opportunities when exposed to Algebra 1 in 8th grade.
Philanthropy Advocates has provided public comment to the Texas Education Agency for consideration as the agency continues to reimagine the state’s public education accountability system. Our public comment aims to increase student access to Algebra 1 in 8th grade as we continue to pursue systems in Texas education that increase students’ opportunities in their academic and career pursuits.
See our public comment, submitted on February 1, 2023:
With Algebra 1 access in middle school as a known predictor of later academic outcomes, and reinforced in our commissioned research findings, Philanthropy Advocates respectfully asks that the Agency include a bonus point or transition table model for middle school students’ success in Algebra 1. We believe all high school students should have the preparation necessary to afford them access to selective four-year colleges should they want to pursue that option. Algebra 1 in 8th grade in middle is an effective strategy that would be further implemented if the state accountability system awarded some form of a bonus point to school districts for utilizing this positive strategy for students. 
Not including this in the A-F formula is a missed opportunity as we have heard from school district partners about the impact the current accountability system has on their district decisions regarding middle school advanced math coursework programs.

[1] Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements through 2020
[2] 60x30 progress report – July 2022
[3] 8th Grade Cohort Data
[4] TEA, 2022 Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR), 2021-2022


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