March 1, 2011 - TAIB was recently contacted by a couple of concerned citizens from McAllen, Texas. After some poking around in McAllen's school results, TAIB has reached the conclusion that they have good cause for alarm and suspicion surrounding a tremendous waste of resources on IB in the district.
* International Baccalaureate (IB) Program 99.5% success rate is among the highest in the world * District-wide IB expansion underway to include elementary and middle school campuses
But according to a Letter to Parents on the district's website, we also learn that that due to State cuts, McAllen will be forced to operate on a budget of $14-25 Million LESS over the next two to four years. TAIB has a very simple solution to save $7,000,000+ a year from the McAllen budget - close the Lamar Academy and eliminate IB altogether.
TAIB is looking at McAllen from a purely budgetary perspective and academic standing of the district's schools in 2009 as reported by the Texas Report Card. What we are about to report is shocking, even to long-time IB skeptics.
McAllen has 22 elementary schools, 7 middle schools, three traditional high schools, the Lamar Academy (IB) and a 9th grade transitional school for Hispanic students. Of the 22 elementary schools, five are IB PYP and two of the seven middle schools are MYP. Lamar also offers the MYP in Grades 9 & 10. The cost for IB annual membership dues alone is $71,700 (minus a 10% discount off the "lowest two" programme fees).
TAIB has reviewed the cost per pupil, test scores, graduation rates, drop-out rates, ACT/SAT average scores and TAKS exam rates at the middle school level. TAIB would like to point out that ALL of McAllen's schools need to improve science instruction. Listed below is a break-out of McAllen's middle and high schools. IB schools are highlighted in yellow.
Brown MS Reading/ELA - 77% Math - 81% Writing - 87% Science - 49% Social Studies 84% Overall - 59%
William B Travis MS Reading/ELA - 76% Math - 72% Writing - 91% Science - 69% Social Studies 87% Overall - 60%
Lincoln MS Reading/ELA - 78% Math - 80% Writing - 90% Science - 58% Social Studies 87% Overall - 62%
DeLeon MS Reading/ELA - 82% Math - 79% Writing - 93% Science - 61% Social Studies 91% Overall - 66%
Morris MS Reading/ELA - 88% Math - 87% Writing - 95% Science - 71% Social Studies 91% Overall - 75%
Fossom MS ** Reading/ELA - 98% Math - 89% Writing - 99% Science - 68% Social Studies 99% Overall - 80%
Dr. Rodney D. Cathey MS Reading/ELA - 91% Math - 91% Writing - 98% Science - 78% Social Studies 94% Overall - 81%
** Please note that with the exception of 2% in math and 10% in science, Fossom outperformed Cathey in all other areas of assessment.
McAllen HS Enrollment - 2,255 students Per pupil spending - $7,573 4 yr. Graduation Rate - 76.6% Drop Out rate - 14.5% Average SAT - 948 Average ACT - 19
Memorial HS Enrollment - 2,090 students Per pupil spending - $8,926 4 yr. Graduation Rate - 71.1% Drop Out Rate - 18.8% Average SAT - 978 Average ACT - 19.5
Rowe HS Enrollment - 2,007 Per Pupil spending - $8,686 4 yr. Graduation Rate - 78.5% Drop Out Rate - 13.5% Average SAT - 902 Average ACT - 18.8
Lamar Academy Enrollment - 144 Per pupil spending - $41,355 4 yr. Graduation Rate - 82.4% Drop Out Rate - 12.9% Average SAT - N/A Average ACT - 17.4
And what of McAllen's claim of a "99.5% success rate for the IB Diploma Program, among the highest in the world"? Well you see, when only 19% of the students, or eight (8) in Lamar's case actually sit for all of the Diploma exams, it's very easy to have only your brightest and best students pass it. Especially to the tune of $41,355 per student!
Based on the outrageous disparity in spending on IB compared to McAllen's traditional high schools, TAIB estimated that McAllen could save well over $7,000,000 a year by closing down the Lamar Academy and eliminating IB from the district.