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Bush Institute Releases State of Our Cities: Profiles of Education Performance around the Nation

September 20, 2016
Comparable data on 100+ cities previewed during Mayors Roundtable at Bush Center

DALLAS, Texas -- The Bush Institute at the George W. Bush Presidential Center today released State of Our Cities: Profiles of Education Performance around the Nation, a new online tool that provides comparable education data on more than 100 cities across the country.

The interactive resource, designed to help mayors better engage in their city’s education landscape, was previewed this morning at a Mayors Roundtable hosted by the Bush Institute, which welcomed mayors and superintendents from across Texas for a discussion on education and how their cities are performing. 

“Educators, parents, policymakers, and importantly, our mayors, need access to objective, comparable data so that they can make decisions to support the success of all students in their communities,” said Holly Kuzmich, Executive Director of the Bush Institute. “Mayors and state and local policymakers have an even greater role to play than ever before in improving the schools in their cities, and this tool is an especially valuable resource for them.” 

State of Our Cities is the updated and enhanced version of the Mayors’ Report Card on Education, which covered education metrics for 33 cities and was first released at the request of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings in January 2015 at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting.  While education data has been collected and aggregated at the state level, the Mayors’ Report Card was the first time that data was collected and aggregated at the city level.

The State of Our Cities tool includes data on 114 cities and allows users to make comparisons at the state, national, and even global level by including data from the Bush Institute’s Global Report Card, allowing city leaders, policymakers, parents, and educators to compare their community’s scores with global competitors. 

“Our education systems are key to the success of our cities,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “And as mayors armed with this tool, we will be able to better understand how well we’re doing at educating all of our students, as well as see what’s working in other cities that we can take and adapt in our own.”

The data outlines performance on indicators including: a high-quality education for every student; supported pathways to college and career; early childhood education that prepares students for the classroom; and effective educators and principals. Armed with these observations and data as a starting point, mayors can work with their communities to address important needs or accelerate change.

At this morning’s roundtable, Mayor Rawlings was joined by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, and Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams for the discussion, along with education leaders from across the state of Texas including: Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos, Arlington I.S.D.; Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, Dallas I.S.D.; Superintendent José Parra, Irving I.S.D.; Superintendent Kent Paredes Scribner, Fort Worth I.S.D.; Deputy Superintendent Dr. Emilio Castro, San Antonio I.S.D.; Ana Acevedo, Education Policy Administrator, City of San Antonio; Council Member Victoria Farrar-Myers, City of Arlington; Pete Geren, President, Sid W. Richardson Foundation; Lanet Greenhaw, Vice President of Education, Dallas Regional Chamber; Dr. Frank Hernandez, Associate Dean of SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development; Dr. Cynthia Miller, Vice President Workforce Development and Education, Fort Worth Chamber; Juliet Stipeche, Director of Education, City of Houston; Todd Williams, Executive Director, Commit! Partnership, Dallas; Ken Hersh, President and CEO of the Bush Center, and Holly Kuzmich, Executive Director of the Bush Institute.

The roundtable highlighted that State of Our Cities is a starting point for compiling available data from multiple sources and helping inform mayors and city leaders about what is needed to help prepare all students for success in college and the workforce. 

“I’d like to thank all of the mayors and superintendents who joined us this morning for an important conversation, and particularly Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings for asking that we take on this project,” said Kuzmich. “Our cities and school districts must ensure all students are receiving an education that prepares them for college and the workforce, and we agree that data is a first step in getting there.”

State of Our Cities includes cities from all states except Hawaii, which has a statewide school district. Featured cities were chosen based on the availability of comparable student achievement data and information of interest to mayors. All data in the tool is from publically available sources; the majority of the data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Office of Civil Rights’ (OCR) Civil Rights Data Collection, and Ed Facts.

The project, which will be routinely updated, is part of the Bush Institute’s Education Reform initiative to help ensure all students are on a path to success. To view the State of Our Cities and learn more about our work, visit: www.bushcenter.org/stateofourcities.