EDINBURG, RGV – Now it is No. 1 in Texas, Region One Education Service Center is looking beyond the state to see what best practices it can learn from more high-performing states.

So says Brownsville native Ruben Cortez, Jr, a Region One board member and representative for District 2 on the State Board of Education.

The Texas Education Agency recently announced that every school district and charter school in Region One achieved an “A” or “B” in the state accountability rankings. Those results have catapulted Region One to No. 1 in the state of Texas.

However, Texas only ranks as 38th in the nation for educational attainment. So, Region One leaders believe they must look beyond the Lone Star State for new ideas.

“We want to see if we can bring in any innovative ideas or best practices that are currently being done in some of the higher performing states, such as professional development or resources to our school districts,” Cortez told the Rio Grande Guardian.

“We are no longer trying to compete with 19 other service centers to see who is going to be the best in getting our kids academically ready, college and career ready, post-secondary ready. We want to make sure they can compete in the global economy.”

State Board of Education member for District 2 Ruben Cortez, Jr., is interviewed about the new state accountability ratings.

Region One held a public hearing on Thursday to discuss the new school accountability rankings. At the hearing, superintendents from numerous schools in the region were presented with plaques for their achievements.

Cortez kicked off the public hearing by saying: “This is an exciting day for Region One. This is an exciting day for South Texas.”

Traditionally, Region One includes school districts and charter schools in the counties of Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy, Starr, Zapata, Jim Hogg, and Webb. However, Brooks County ISD recently voted to move from Region Two to Region One. Dr. Maria Rodriguez Casas, superintendent of Brooks County ISD, was present at the public hearing.