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Research

High School Attrition Rates Across Texas Education Service Center Regions

By Roy Johnson                                                                   Click here for PDF version.

This study examines regional trends in Texas on the number and percent of students lost from public high school enrollment prior to graduation with a high school diploma. A comparative analysis of 1985-86, 2005-06 and 2006-07 attrition rates in Texas’ 20 education service center* (ESC) regions shows that eight Texas regions have persistently higher rates of losing students from public school enrollment.

IDRA releases its annual attrition study in the October issue of its newsletter. Attrition rates are an indicator of a school’s holding power, or ability to keep students enrolled in school and learning until they graduate. IDRA has used the same methodology since its inaugural statewide study in 1986. IDRA conducted Texas’ first-ever comprehensive statewide study of high school dropouts using a high school attrition formula to estimate the number and percent of students who leave school prior to graduation. The study in 1986 was the state’s first major effort to assess the school holding power of Texas public schools. The annual attrition studies since then include county-level data by race and ethnicity. Trend graphs of high school attrition in each Texas county are available online.

In general, the rate of students lost from high school enrollment prior to graduation with a diploma has not improved significantly, and the number of students lost has increased. Eight education service center regions had higher attrition rates in 2006-07 than they did in 1985-86, and 15 had a higher number of students lost to attrition in 2006-07 than they did in 1985-86. Data in this study help to answer questions on regional trends on attrition rates and provides geographical comparisons among ESC regions (see Exhibit 1).

In its inaugural comprehensive study of school dropouts in Texas public schools completed in 1986, the Intercultural Development Research Association in its Texas School Dropout Survey Project found that attrition rates ranged from a low of 21 percent in ESC Region 5 (Beaumont) to a high of 43 percent in ESC Region 1 (Edinburg), compared to the state average of 33 percent (see Exhibit 2).

Exhibit 2: 1982-83 and 1985-86 Enrollment,
1985-86 Attrition in Texas Education Service Center Regions

ESC Region

1982-93
9th Grade
Enrollment

1985-86
12th Grade
Enrollment   

1982-83
9th Grade
Enrollment

1985-96
9-12th Grade
Enrollment

Students
Lost to 
Attrition

Attrition
Rate
(%)

Region 1 (
Edinburg )

15,251

9,891

45,208

51,619

7,523

43

Region 2 (Corpus)

7,893

5,708

28,302

28,680

2,291

29

Region 3 (Victoria

4,227

3,195

15,659

15,289

932

23

Region 4 (Houston)

52,203

34,461

168,587

176,898

20,315

37

Region 5 (Beaumont)

7,285

5,597

26,836

26,038

1,471

21

Region 6 (Huntsville)

8,104

5,651

27,026

28,372

2,857

34

Region 7 (Kilgore)

11,269

8,724

39,876

42,187

3,198

27

Region 8 (Mt. Pleasant)

3,970

3,035

14,687

14,830

974

24

Region 9 (Wichita Falls)

3,058

2,321

11,161

11,407

804

26

Region 10 (Richardson)

33,285

23,306

111,883

119,395

12,214

34

Region 11 (Fort Worth)

19,737

15,468

69,968

78,058

6,551

30

Region 12 (Waco)

7,158

5,632

26,443

28,026

1,955

26

Region 13 (Austin

12,967

9,697

43,381

49,662

5,147

35

Region 14 (Abilene)

3,621

2,674

12,580

12,921

1,045

28

Region 15 (San Angelo)

4,033

2,798

13,146

13,460

1,331

32

Region 16 (Amarillo)

5,590

4,323

20,155

20,704

1,419

25

Region 17 (Lubbock)

6,180

4,375

21,933

21,267

1,1617

27

Region 18 (Midland)

5,784

3,956

19,691

20,134

1,958

33

Region 19 (El Paso)

10,330

7,024

32,147

35,105

4,257

38

Region 20 (San Antonio)

21,174

14,451

69,373

74,209

8,199

36

State of Texas

243,119

172,287

818,042

868,263

86,276

33

Figures calculated by IDRA from the Texas Education Agency Fall Membership Survey data. IDRA’s 1985-86 attrition study involved the analysis of enrollment figures for public high school students in the ninth grade during 1982-83 school year and enrollment figures for 12th grade students in 1985-86. This period represents the time span when ninth grade students would be enrolled in school prior to graduation. The enrollment data for special school districts (military schools, state schools, and charter schools) were excluded from the analyses since they are likely to have unstable enrollments and/or lack a tax base to support school programs.

Source: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2008

In 2005-06, attrition rates ranged from a low of 18 percent in ESC Region 17 (Lubbock) to a high of 46 percent in ESC Region 1 ( Edinburg
), compared to the state average of 35 percent (see Exhibit 3).

Exhibit 3: 2002-03 and 2005-06 Enrollment,
2005-06 Attrition in Texas Education Service Center Regions

ESC Region

2002-03
9th Grade
Enrollment

2005-06
12th Grade
Enrollment

2002-03
9-12th Grade
Enrollment

2005-06
9-12th Grade
Enrollment

Students
Lost to
Attrition

Attrition
Rate
(%)

Region 1 ( Edinburg
)

28,266

17,239

81,111

91,334

14,634

46

Region 2 (
Corpus Christi )

9,407

6,373

30,480

30,078

2,936

31

Region 3 (
Victoria )

5,125

3,398

16,611

15,871

1,529

31

Region 4 (
Houston )

78,914

54,726

243,174

267,688

32,902

37

Region 5 (
Beaumont )

7,309

5,042

24,036

23,173

2,023

28

Region 6 (
Huntsville )

12,710

9,259

40,648

43,856

4,534

32

Region 7 (Kilgore)

13,919

10,114

45,888

46,819

4,289

29

Region 8 (Mt. Pleasant)

4,606

3,546

15,845

16,330

1,230

25

Region 9 (
Wichita Falls )

3,410

2,652

11,844

11,749

741

22

Region 10 (
Richardson )

54,288

36,901

166,440

180,475

22,694

37

Region 11 (
Fort Worth )

39,176

27,537

122,290

134,297

16,013

36

Region 12 (
Waco )

11,546

8,150

38,223

39,240

3,749

31

Region 13 (
Austin )

24,828

18,296

81,220

87,262

8,515

31

Region 14 (
Abilene )

3,895

2,749

13,563

12,843

959

25

Region 15 (
San Angelo )

4,242

3,124

14,753

14,457

1,041

25

Region 16 (
Amarillo )

6,360

4,675

21,955

21,912

1,728

26

Region 17 (
Lubbock )

6,109

4,785

22,517

21,603

1,104

18

Region 18 (
Midland )

6,436

4,463

22,331

21,510

1,790

28

Region 19 (
El Paso )

14,362

9,798

45,690

49,169

5,703

37

Region 20 (
San Antonio )

28,757

19,563

93,508

96,660

10,211

34

State of
Texas

363,665

252,390

1,152,127

1,226,326

137,162

35

Figures calculated by IDRA from the Texas Education Agency Fall Membership Survey data. IDRA’s 2005-06 attrition study involved the analysis of enrollment figures for public high school students in the ninth grade during 2002-03 school year and enrollment figures for 12th grade students in 2005-06. This period represents the time span when ninth grade students would be enrolled in school prior to graduation. The enrollment data for special school districts (military schools, state schools, and charter schools) were excluded from the analyses since they are likely to have unstable enrollments and/or lack a tax base to support school programs.

Source: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2008


In 2006-07, attrition rates ranged from a low of 20 percent in ESC Region 17 (Lubbock) to a high of 46 percent in ESC Region 1 (Edinburg), compared to the state average of 34 percent (see Exhibits 1 and 4).

Exhibit 4: 2003-04 and 2006-07 Enrollment,
2006-07 Attrition in Texas Education Service Center Regions

ESC Region

2003-04
9th Grade
Enrollment

2006-07
12th Grade
Enrollment

2003-04
9-12th Grade
Enrollment

2006-07
9-12th Grade
Enrollment

Students
Lost to
Attrition

Attrition
Rate
(%)

Region 1 ( Edinburg
)

29,196

18,015

84,077

95,262

15,098

46

Region 2 (
Corpus Christi )

9,243

6,387

30,255

29,965

2,796

30

Region 3 (
Victoria )

4,860

3,441

16,472

15,636

1,187

25

Region 4 (
Houston )

80,896

56,073

249,109

272,097

33,034

37

Region 5 (
Beaumont )

7,098

4,929

23,858

23,164

1,981

28

Region 6 (
Huntsville )

12,394

9,464

41,307

44,483

3,940

29

Region 7 (Kilgore)

13,703

9,973

45,981

46,363

3,916

28

Region 8 (Mt. Pleasant)

4,533

3,533

15,468

15,953

1,176

24

Region 9 (
Wichita Falls )

3,374

2,582

11,662

11,414

730

22

Region 10 (
Richardson )

53,933

37,579

170,747

182,781

20,695

35

Region 11 (
Fort Worth )

39,926

28,884

125,449

137,433

15,305

34

Region 12 (
Waco )

11,879

8,374

38,664

39,691

3,875

31

Region 13 (
Austin )

24,794

18,843

82,281

90,303

8,528

31

Region 14 (
Abilene )

3,901

2,829

13,255

12,975

1,006

26

Region 15 (
San Angelo )

4,251

3,213

14,731

14,443

967

23

Region 16 (
Amarillo )

6,454

4,883

21,765

22,100

1,712

25

Region 17 (
Lubbock )

6,004

4,754

21,879

21,530

1,176

20

Region 18 (
Midland )

6,467

4,587

22,156

21,378

1,699

26

Region 19 (
El Paso )

14,429

10,105

46,229

50,052

5,549

35

Region 20 (
San Antonio )

28,522

19,202

93,384

98,875

11,065

36

State of
Texas

365,857

257,650

1,168,729

1,245,898

134,676

34

Figures calculated by IDRA from the Texas Education Agency Fall Membership Survey data. IDRA’s 2006-07 attrition study involved the analysis of enrollment figures for public high school students in the ninth grade during 2003-04 school year and enrollment figures for 12th grade students in 2006-07. This period represents the time span when ninth grade students would be enrolled in school prior to graduation. The enrollment data for special school districts (military schools, state schools, and charter schools) were excluded from the analyses since they are likely to have unstable enrollments and/or lack a tax base to support school programs.

Source: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2008


Eight of the 20 education service center regions (40 percent) had lower attrition rates in 2006-07 than in 1985-86, eight (40 percent) had higher rates, and four (20 percent) had rates that remained unchanged (see Exhibit 5).

Exhibit 5: Attrition Rates in Texas Public Schools
By Education Service Center Region: 1985-86, 2005-06 and 2006-07

ESC Region

Attrition Rate (%)

Point
Change
85-86 to
06-07

Percent
Change
85-86 to
06-07

1985-86

2005-06

2006-07

Region 1 (Edinburg)

43

46

46

3

6.98%

Region 2 (Corpus Christi)

29

31

30

1

3.45%

Region 3 (Victoria)

23

31

25

2

8.70%

Region 4 (Houston)

37

37

37

0

0.00%

Region 5 (Beaumont)

21

28

28

7

33.33%

Region 6 (Huntsville)

34

32

29

-5

-14.71%

Region 7 (Kilgore)

27

29

28

1

3.70%

Region 8 (Mount Pleasant)

24

25

24

0

0.00%

Region 9 (wichita Falls)

26

22

22

-4

-15.38%

Region 10 (Richardson)

34

37

35

1

2.94%

Region 11 (Fort Worth)

30

36

34

4

13.33%

Region 12 (Waco)

26

31

31

5

19.23%

Region 13 (Austin)

35

31

31

-4

-11.43%

Region 14 (Abilene)

28

25

26

-2

-7.14%

Region 15 (San Angelo)

32

25

23

-9

-28.13%

Region 16 (Amarillo)

25

26

25

0

0.00%

Region 17 (Lubbock)

27

18

20

-7

-25.93%

Region 18 (Midland)

33

28

26

-7

-21.21%

Region 19 (El Paso)

38

37

35

-3

-7.89%

Region 20 (San Antonio)

36

34

36

0

0.00%

State of Texas

33

35

34

1

3.03%

Source: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2008

The total number of students lost from public high school public enrollment has increased from 86,272 in 1985-86 to 134,646 in 2006-07 (see Exhibit 6).
  • The total number of students lost from enrollment by education service center region in 1985-86 ranged from a low of 804 students in ESC Region 9 (Wichita Falls) to a high of 20,315 in ESC Region 4 (Houston).
  • In 2005-06, the total number of students lost from enrollment by education service center region ranged from a low of 741 students in ESC Region 9 (Wichita Falls) to a high of 32,902 in ESC Region 4 (Houston).
  • In 2006-07, the total number of students lost from enrollment by education service center region ranged from a low of 730 students in ESC Region 9 (Wichita Falls) to a high of 33,034 in ESC Region 4 (Houston).

Exhibit 6: Attrition in Texas Public Schools
By Education Service Center Region: 1985-86, 2005-06, & 2006-07

ESC Region

Attrition Number 

Number Change
85-86 to
06-07

Percent Change
85-86 to
06-07

1985-86

2005-06

2006-07

Region 1 (Edinburg)

7,523

14,634

15,098

7,575

100.69%

Region 2 (Corpus Christi)

2,291

2,936

2,796

505

22.04%

Region 3 (Victoria)

932

1,529

1,187

255

27.36%

Region 4 (Houston)

20,315

32,902

33,034

12,719

62.61%

Region 5 (Beaumont)

1,471

2,023

1,981

510

34.67%

Region 6 (Huntsville)

2,857

4,534

3,940

1,083

37.91%

Region 7 (Kilgore)

3,198

4,289

3,916

718

22.45%

Region 8 (Mount Pleasant)

974

1,230

1,176

202

20.74%

Region 9 (Wichita Falls)

804

741

730

-74

-9.20%

Region 10 (Richardson)

12,214

22,694

20,695

8,481

69.44%

Region 11 (Fort Worth)

6,551

16,013

15,305

8,754

133.63%

Region 12 (Waco)

1,955

3,749

3,875

1,920

98.21%

Region 13 (Austin)

5,147

8,515

8,528

3,381

65.69%

Region 14 (Abilene)

1,045

959

1,006

-39

-3.73%

Region 15 (San Angelo)

1,331

1,041

967

-364

-27.35%

Region 16 (Amarillo)

1,419

1,728

1,712

293

20.65%

Region 17 (Lubbock)

1,617

1,104

1,176

-441

-27.27%

Region 18 (Midland)

1,958

1,790

1,699

-259

-13.23%

Region 19 (El Paso)

4,257

5,703

5,549

1,292

30.35%

Region 20 (San Antonio)

8,199

10,211

11,065

2,866

34.96%

State of Texas

86,276

137,162

134,676

48,400

56.10%

Source: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2008

In 1985-86, attrition rates ranged from a low of 21 percent in Region 5 (Beaumont) to a high of 43 percent in Region 1 (Edinburg). Twelve of the education service center regions had rates lower than the state average of 33 percent, seven had rates higher than the state average, and one service center had a rate equal to the state average.

The education service center regions with attrition rates lower than the state average included: ESC Region 5 (21 percent), ESC Region 3 (23 percent), ESC Region 16 (25 percent), ESC Region 9 (26 percent), ESC Region 12 (26 percent), ESC Region 7 (27 percent), ESC Region 17 (27 percent), ESC Region 14 (28 percent), ESC Region 2 (29 percent), ESC Region 11 (30 percent), and ESC Region 15 (32 percent). Seven education service center regions had attrition rates higher than 33 percent including ESC Region 6 (34 percent), ESC Region 10 (34 percent), ESC Region 13 (35 percent), ESC Region 20 (36 percent), ESC Region 4 (37 percent), ESC Region 19 (38 percent), and ESC Region 1 (43 percent). The attrition rate for ESC Region 18 matched the state average.

In 2005-06, attrition rates ranged from a low of 18 percent in Region 17 (Lubbock) to a high of 46 percent in Region 1 (Edinburg). Fifteen of the education service center regions had rates lower than the state average of 35 percent and five had rates higher than the state average.

The education service center regions with attrition rates lower than the state average included: ESC Region 17 (18 percent), ESC Region 9 (22 percent), ESC Region 8 (25 percent), ESC Region 14 (25 percent), ESC Region 15 (25 percent), ESC Region 16 (26 percent), ESC Region 5 (28 percent), ESC Region 18 (28 percent), ESC Region 7 (29 percent), ESC Region 2 (31 percent), ESC Region 3 (31 percent), ESC Region 12 (31 percent), ESC Region 13 (31 percent), ESC Region 6 (32 percent), and ESC Region 20 (34 percent). Five education service center regions had attrition rates higher than 35 percent including ESC Region 11 (36 percent), ESC Region 4 (37 percent), ESC Region 10 (37 percent), ESC Region 19 (37 percent), and ESC Region 1 (46 percent).

In 2006-07, attrition rates ranged from a low of 20 percent in Region 17 (Lubbock) to a high of 46 percent in Region 1 (Edinburg). Fourteen of the education service center regions had rates lower than the state average of 34 percent, five had rates higher than the state average, and one region had a rate equal to the state average.

The education service center regions with attrition rates lower than the state average included: ESC Region 17 (20 percent), ESC Region 9 (22 percent), ESC Region 15 (23 percent), ESC Region 8 (24 percent), ESC Region 3 (25 percent), ESC Region 16 (25 percent), ESC Region 14 (26 percent), ESC Region 18 (26 percent), ESC Region 5 (28 percent), ESC Region 7 (28 percent), ESC Region 6 (29 percent), ESC Region 2 (30 percent), ESC Region 12 (31 percent), and ESC Region 13 (31 percent). Five education service center regions had attrition rates higher than 34 percent including ESC Region 10 (35 percent), ESC Region 19 (35 percent), ESC Region 20 (36 percent), ESC Region 4 (37 percent), and ESC Region 1 (46 percent). The attrition rate for ESC Region 11 matched the state average.

Statewide, the attrition rates of Hispanic students and Black students have either remained unchanged or have worsened since 1985-86 (see Exhibit 7). The gaps between the attrition rates of Whites students and Hispanic and Black students have increased.

  • The attrition rate for White students was 27 percent in 1985-86, 21 percent in 2005-06, and 20 percent in 2006-07.
  • The attrition rate for Hispanic students was 45 percent in 1985-86, 47 percent in 2005-06, and 45 percent in 2006-07.
  • The attrition rate for Black students was 34 percent in 1985-86, 40 percent in both 2005-06 and 2006-07.

Graphs of attrition by race and ethnicity for each service center region are available online at: www.idra.org.

Exhibit 8: Attrition Rates in Texas Public Schools
By Education Service Center Region and Race-Ethnicity, 2006-07

ESC Region

Attrition Rates 1

Number Lost 2

Black

White

Hispanic

Total

Black

White

Hispanic

Total

Region 1 (Edinburg)

44

23

46

46

34

226

14,805

15,098

Region 2 (Corpus Christi)

26

18

36

30

82

426

2,285

2,796

Region 3 (Victoria)

27

10

40

25

123

196

853

1,187

Region 4 (Houston)

42

20

50

37

8,720

5,526

18,239

33,034

Region 5 (Beaumont)

38

22

40

28

846

854

253

1,981

Region 6 (Huntsville)

33

23

45

29

559

1,972

1,336

3,940

Region 7 (Kilgore)

32

21

48

28

942

1,722

1,206

3,916

Region 8 (Mt. Pleasant)

27

20

45

24

318

570

277

1,176

Region 9 (Wichita Falls)

35

16

38

22

106

376

232

730

Region 10 (Richardson)

41

18

52

35

5,446

3,859

10,974

20,695

Region 11 (Fort Worth)

42

24

52

34

2,849

5,572

6,473

15,305

Region 12 (Waco)

41

22

43

31

1,205

1,326

1,275

3,875

Region 13 (Austin)

40

18

46

31

1,188

2,350

4,792

8,528

Region 14 (Abilene)

44

17

42

26

127

400

468

1,006

Region 15 (San Angelo)

35

11

32

23

55

203

692

967

Region 16 (Amarillo)

43

15

37

25

173

520

991

1,712

Region 17 (Lubbock)

19

8

30

20

90

179

903

1,176

Region 18 (Midland)

37

10

36

26

132

229

1,319

1,699

Region 19 (El Paso)

35

20

37

35

159

247

5,104

5,549

Region 20 (San Antonio)

37

22

42

36

799

1,665

8,516

11,065

Statewide

40

20

45

34

23,845

28,339

80,445

134,676

1Calculated by: (1) dividing the high school enrollment in the end year by the high school enrollment in the base year; (2) multiplying the results from Calculation 1 by the ninth grade enrollment in the base year; (3) subtracting the results from Calculation 2 from the 12th grade enrollment in the end year; and (4) dividing the results of Calculation 3 by the result of Calculation 2. The attrition rate results (percentages) were rounded to the nearest whole number.

2The aggregate sum of individual regions may not equal the statewide sum due to rounding.

Source: Intercultural Development Research Association, February 2008


Exhibit 9: Attrition Rates in Texas Public Schools
by Education Service Center Region, 2006-07
Rank Order and Rate for All Students 

Rank

ESC Region

Attrition Rate

1

Region 17 (Lubbock)

20

2

Region 9 (Wichita Falls)

22

3

Region 15 (San Angelo)

23

4

Region 8 (Mt. Pleasant)

24

5

Region 3 (Victoria)

25

5

Region 16 (Amarillo)

25

7

Region 14 (Abilene)

26

7

Region 18 (Midland)

26

9

Region 5 (Beaumont)

28

9

Region 7 (Kilgore)

28

11

Region 6 (Huntsville)

29

12

Region 2 (Corpus Christi)

30

13

Region 12 (Waco)

31

13

Region 13 (Austin)

31

15

Region 11 (Fort Worth)

34

16

Region 10 (Richardson)

35

16

Region 19 (El Paso)

35

18

Region 20 (San Antonio)

36

19

Region 4 (Houston)

37

20

Region 1 (Edinburg)

46

Source: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2008

 

In 2006-07, the attrition rates for Black students across the education service center regions ranged from a low of 19 percent in ESC Region 17 (Lubbock) to a high of 44 percent in ESC Region 14 (Abilene) and ESC Region 1 (Edinburg). Based on the number of Black students lost to attrition, the number ranged from a low of 34 in ESC Region 1 (Edinburg) to a high of 8,720 in ESC Region 4 (Houston).

Exhibit 10: Attrition Rates in Texas Public Schools
By Education Service Center Region, 2006-07
Rank Order and Rate for Black Students 

Rank

ESC Region

Attrition Rate

1

Region 17 (Lubbock)

19

2

Region 2 (Corpus Christi)

26

3

Region 8 (Mt. Pleasant)

27

3

Region 3 (Victoria)

27

5

Region 7 (Kilgore)

32

6

Region 6 (Huntsville)

33

7

Region 9 (Wichita Falls)

35

7

Region 15 (San Angelo)

35

7

Region 19 (El Paso)

35

10

Region 18 (Midland)

37

10

Region 20 (San Antonio)

37

12

Region 5 (Beaumont)

38

13

Region 13 (Austin)

40

14

Region 12 (Waco)

41

14

Region 10 (Richardson)

41

16

Region 11 (Fort Worth)

42

16

Region 4 (Houston)

42

18

Region 16 (Amarillo)

43

19

Region 14 (Abilene)

44

19

Region 1 (Edinburg)

44

Source: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2008

Attrition rates ranged for White students across education service center regions ranged from a low of 8 percent in ESC Region 17 (Lubbock) to a high of 24 percent in Region 11 (Fort Worth) in 2006-07.

Exhibit 11: Attrition Rates in Texas Public Schools
By Education Service Center Region, 2006-07
Rank Order and Rate for White Students 

Rank

ESC Region

Attrition Rate

1

Region 17 (Lubbock)

8

2

Region 3 (Victoria)

10

2

Region 18 (Midland>)

10

4

Region 15 (San Angelo)

11

5

Region 16 (Amarillo)

15

6

Region 9 (Wichita Falls)

16

7

Region 14 (Abilene)

17

8

Region 2 (Corpus Christi)

18

8

Region 13 (Austin)

18

8

Region 10 (Richardson)

18

11

Region 8 (Mt. Pleasant)

20

11

Region 19 (El Paso)

20

11

Region 4 (Houston)

20

14

Region 7 (Kilgore)

21

15

Region 20 (San Antonio)

22

15

Region 5 (Beaumont)

22

15

Region 12 (Waco)

22

18

Region 6 (Huntsville)

23

18

Region 1 (Edinburg)

23

20

Region 11 (Fort Worth)

24

Source: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2008

In 2006-07, attrition rates ranged for Hispanic students across education service center regions ranged from a low of 30 percent in ESC Region 17 (Lubbock) to a high of 52 percent in both ESC Region 10 (Richardson) and ESC Region 11 (Fort Worth).

Exhibit 12: Attrition Rates in Texas Public Schools
By Education Service Center Region, 2006-07
Rank Order and Rate for Hispanic Students 

Rank

ESC Region

Attrition Rate

1

Region 17 (Lubbock)

30

2

Region 15 (San Angelo)

32

3

Region 18 (Midland)

36

3

Region 2 (Corpus Christi)

36

5

Region 16 (Amarillo)

37

5

Region 19 (El Paso)

37

6

Region 9 (Wichita Falls)

38

7

Region 3 (Victoria)

40

7

Region 5 (Beaumont)

40

10

Region 14 (Abilene)

42

10

Region 20 (San Antonio)

42

12

Region 12 (Waco)

43

13

Region 8 (Mt. Pleasant)

45

13

Region 6 (Huntsville)

45

15

Region 13 (Austin)

46

15

Region 1 (Edinburg)

46

17

Region 7 (Kilgore)

48

18

Region 4 (Houston)

50

19

Region 10 (Richardson)

52

19

Region 11 (Fort Worth)

52

Source: Intercultural Development Research Association, 2008

Conclusions
The examination of historical trend data on the number and percent of students lost from public school enrollment prior to graduation from high school is becoming increasing important since distinct trends are emerging on a regional basis. Education service center regions with traditionally high attrition rates include: ESC Region 1 (Edinburg), ESC Region 4 (Houston), ESC Region 10 (Richardson), ESC Region 13 (Austin), ESC Region 19 (El Paso), and ESC Region 20 (San Antonio).

For the most part, the highest attrition rates are concentrated in regions with the largest student enrollment counts, particularly those in urban areas and those with the largest low-income and minority populations.

The state education agency, schools and communities must work collaboratively to strengthen public schools’ capacities to improve school holding power. Considering the persistently high attrition rates in some ESC regions, targeted resources and support services to schools and communities in these regions would be both feasible and appropriate.

For the period of 2006 to 2008 as part of high school improvement efforts to improve graduation and college readiness rates, 10 regional education service centers have been charged by the Texas Education Agency to provide assistance to school districts with the highest dropout rates. These 10 regional ESCs include: ESC Region 1 (Edinburg), ESC Region 4 (Houston), ESC Region 7 (Kilgore), ESC Region 10 (Richardson), ESC Region 11 (Fort Worth), ESC Region 13 (Austin), ESC Region 18 (Midland), ESC Region 19 (El Paso), and ESC Region 20 (San Antonio).

In order to guarantee that all students graduate from high school and be college-ready, schools and communities in Texas and around the country must work together to improve school holding power and student success.

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