Consider this: Most of Laredo's teachers are graduates of Texas A&M International University. This means that TAMIU is overwhemingly responsible for educating and preparing the teachers that hold a vast majority of the teaching positions in Laredo. So far, it's hard to argue otherwise.
Next: Out of 160 institutions in Texas that prepare future teachers, TAMIU is ranked in the bottom 3 and, as a result, has been warned that it might have it's accreditation pulled if it does not turn things around.
So, is it any wonder that Laredo schools are consistently among the lowest-performing in the state of Texas?
From Today's Laredo Morning Times
Texas A&M International University was one of only three programs the state warned this year for low passing rates on teacher certification exams.
With a 74-percent passing rate in 2011, TAMU failed to meet the State Board of Education Certification standard for educator preparation programs.
In failing to do so, it joined the company of Concordia University in Austin and Texas College in Tyler.
Accredited programs, totaling 160 throughout the state, include colleges and universities but also other entities offering alternative certification.
The university was one percentage point away from achieving accredited status although, in 2011-12, the bar will be raised to 80 percent.
The rating TAMIU received this year, officially accredited-warned, is the second-worst status a program can have before its accreditation is revoked.
If the university fails to meet the standards again next year, its status would be downgraded to accredited-probation, according to the Texas Administrative Code.
A third consecutive failure would draw the curtain on TAMIU’s education program.
But Keck, who has served as TAMIU’s president since 2001, said in his years as a university administrator, he has never seen a program actually lose accreditation.
Except for a stretch from 2003 to 2005 where they were in the 90s, passing rates have ranged from 75 to 87 since 2000.
In that time span, education graduates have passed the state certification exams at an average rate of 84.5 percent.
“I think we should have been (looking to improve results),” Keck said, in retrospect.
“Because it was a number that didn’t flag a warning, we didn’t, and I think that was a mistake.
I think students can certainly do better than that.”