AUSTIN ‚Äö√Ñ√Æ One out of three Texas students don’t graduate, and more students drop out than finish high school in the state’s largest cities, according to education experts. Statewide, more than 2.5 million students have dropped out of Texas high schools in the last 20 years, and each graduating class loses about 120,000 students from freshman year to senior year, according to the San Antonio-based Intercultural Development Research Association. The research group says more than half of students in Texas’ largest cities drop out. The dropout rate among blacks, Hispanics and low-income students is about 60 percent, according to the Center for Education at Rice University. The statewide dropout rate is about 33 percent ‚Äö√Ñ√Æ or 20 points higher than what the Texas Education Agency reports.
If this reality doesn’t depress the Hell out of you…well, I can’t imagine what will. One out of every three Texans won’t even finish high school. That means one out of every three will be limiting their earning potential, career possibilities, even their future health…and the remaining two of us will end up paying for that in some shape, manner, or form.
The sad thing about all of this is that all of us- every last resident of Texas- should be up in arms. We should be demanding that Governor Goodhair make this his NUMBER ONE priority. How can a state race headfirst into the 21st century with any hope of success when fully 1/3 of it’s children can’t even finish high school?
Experts warn that the high dropout rate will lead to economic and social problems…. Dropouts are more likely to live in poverty, have health problems and end up in jail.
Well, duh…. And guess who’ll be paying the freight? Lieutenant Governor Lightweight is already proposing building more prisons, but how many prison beds will be enough? How many people can we reasonably put in jail? And just how are we going to afford to incarcerate yet more of those without education, prospects, or hope?
If we do not demand that our state government address this problem by making it their number one priority, Texas will be condemned to a future in which ever-increasing shares of public money will of necessity be going to the Department of Corrections. Is this the future we want? Is this the society that we want to become? Are we willing to so easily give up on 1/3 of the future of this state?
I can’t begin to tell you that I know what the solution to this problem is. I feel confident in saying that if Governor Goodhair doesn’t use his bully pulpit to address this issue, the unofficial state motto (Texas: Thank GOD for Mississippi….) will become our future. We’re failing our children, we’re failing our future, and we’re failing ourselves. Can ANYTHING be a bigger issue for Texas? Should anything be a bigger issue?