The Texas legislature passed a bill in 1997. The bill requires every public college and university in Texas to admit automatically any student who has graduated in either of the two preceding years with the grade-point average(GPA) in the top 10% of the student's graduating class.
Each district has different economic circumstances, and therefore, various teachers with various programs. Some poor schools cannot even afford to employ the Advanced Placement(AP) classes let alone the International Baccalaureate(IB) program. The AP classes are supposedly "college-level" classes and are much harder than regular classes. From my experience, the classes in the IB program are even harder than the AP classes. Unfortunately, not many students in Texas have the opportunity to take challenging classes like the mentioned ones. Additionally, the quality of the teachers vary from region to region. Rich schools generally have better teachers who come from better educational backgrounds.
The overall intelligence of students in poor schools are limited by their lack of resources and quality education. In contrast, students who enroll in schools with quality teachers and programs are more likely to succeed in college. For this reason, a student who might barely make the top 15 percent in Westlake High School, ranked number five out of 1,721 public schools in the state, would probably be in the top 1 or 2 percent in schools in unfortunate economic circumstances.
I graduated in the top 5 percent of the graduating class; I had a 3.9 un-weighted GPA, 4.3 weighted GPA, and a Scholastic Assesment Test(SAT) score of a 2180. Out of the seven valedictorians I had met throughout my freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin, only one had a higher SAT score than mine, and only one finished his college freshman year with a higher GPA than mine. Two of the seven valedictorians finished with less than a 3.0 GPA. The unfair Texas law fails to allocate the students to universities based on their capacity and intelligence.
Texas should annul this unfair law and replace it with a state-wide test instead. All students should be graded with the same test and with the same difficulty. Although the SAT scores do not necessarily prove one's intelligence, It does a better job than the top 10 percent law. Because the existing system groups some intelligent students with the "not-so-smart students", the latter fails to make good grades when competing against the smart students. Most of the time, the GPA one makes is more important than the name of the college, especially when applying to a graduate school. It would be better for the "not-so-smart" students to go to a less competitive school, make better GPA, and become more stable and successful than to go to a more challenging school, make terrible GPA, and struggle to find jobs or colleges that will accept them. While it is one's responsibility to know his/her limits and choose the right college for himself/herself, when one is given a chance to enroll in a renown university, it is usually hard to resist the temptation and make logical decisions. Texas should provide the right guideline and limits so the students can go to a university of his/her level, and become more successful.