Texas Public School Attrition Study, 2009-10, Released by IDRA

Go to traditional news release in English or in Spanish

News Facts

  • At 29 percent, the overall attrition rate was less than 30 percent for the first time in 25 years.
  •  About three of every 10 students from the freshman class of 2006-07 left school prior to graduating with a high school diploma – meaning,
    Texas public schools are failing to graduate one out of every three students.
  • Fourteen students per hour continue to leave before graduating high school.
  • The gaps between the attrition rates of White students and of Hispanic students and Black students are dramatically higher than 25 years ago. The gap between the attrition rates of White students and Black students has increased from 7 to 18 percentage points, and the gap between the rates of White students and Hispanic students has increased from 18 to 24 percentage points.
  • For the class of 2009-10, Black students and Hispanic students are about two times more likely to leave school without graduating with a diploma than White students.
  • Since 1986,
    Texas schools have lost a cumulative total of more than 3 million students.
  • A supplemental analysis indicates that, based on one statistical scenario of Texas
    attrition rate history, the state will not reach an attrition rate of zero until 2040.
  • At this pace, the state will lose an additional 1.9 million to 3.5 million students.
  • Former state demographer, Steve Murdock has stated that dropouts are 75 percent more likely to be unemployed and far more likely to be living in poverty than graduates. He estimated that if Texas
    does not address the dropout rate of Hispanic students, in particular, household incomes may drop by about $6,500. Costs to youth themselves, and their families and communities are immeasurable.
  • Texas
    economist Ray Perryman estimates that just a 10 percent reduction in dropouts would produce 175,000 new
    Texas jobs and $200 billion in economic output.


Attributed to Dr. María “Cuca" Robledo Montecel:

  • “The prospect of losing another 2 to 3 million students leaves no doubt that we must take immediate, comprehensive action,” says IDRA president
  • “Since 1986,
    Texas high schools have lost 3 million students. This is the equivalent of losing Houston and Austin over the course of two and half decades. And, at the current pace, we could be looking at losing as many as 3.5 million more students – or the entire populations of
    San Antonio
    El Paso
    and Lubbock
    over the next three decades.”
  • “Investment in change must clearly reflect our full commitment to quality public schools in all neighborhoods for children of all backgrounds.”

Contact Christie Goodman, APR, at IDRA to arrange an interview and/or for additional quotes.

Dr. María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel will be in Atlanta
on October 28-29 for IDRA’s Coca­Cola Valued Youth Program event. She will be available interviews onsite or by phone.


Download: Word document, traditional press release in English

Download: PDF file, traditional press release in English

Download: Word document, traditional press release in Spanish

Download: PDF file, traditional press release in Spanish

See bio and photo of Dr. María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel

Download jpg graphics from the study

Classnotes Podcast: “Counting Dropouts”

Download: IDRA logo

About IDRA

The Intercultural Development Research Association (www.idra.org) is an independent, private non-profit organization, directed by María Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., dedicated to creating schools that work for all children. We are deeply concerned with the education and well-being of all children and youth – particularly those who are poor, minority or limited-English-proficient.

We work hand-in-hand with schools, families, and communities to ensure that all students succeed in school and graduate. And IDRA conducts ground-breaking research to inform school improvement.

IDRA is the only organization that has examined Texas
attrition rates consistently, with the same methodology, for 25 years.

Contact Information

Christie L. Goodman , APR

Phone 210-444-1710, ext. 1705

Email christie.goodman@idra.org

Web site www.idra.org

Twitter: @IDRAedu


Delicious: www.delicious.com/IDRA

Related Links


IDRA releases its annual attrition study in the October issue of its newsletter, which became available today online at www.idra.org. Attrition rates are an indicator of a school’s holding power, or the ability to keep students enrolled in school and learning until they graduate.

IDRA was commissioned to conduct
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 and resulted in state-level policy reforms for the state education agency to count and report dropout data.

IDRA’s inaugural study in 1986 found that 33 percent of students had not graduated from Texas
public high schools, costing the state $17 billion in forgone income, lost tax revenues, and increased job training, welfare, unemployment and criminal justice costs.

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