San Antonio (October 4, 2006) – Texas schools are losing one student every four minutes. And the attrition rate gaps between White students and Black students and between White students and Hispanic students are actually growing. The Intercultural Development Research Association released detailed findings today from its latest study showing that the high school attrition rate is 35 percent. In Texas for 2005-06, 47 percent of Hispanic students, 40 percent of Black students, and 21 percent of White students were lost from public school enrollment.
Directed by Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, 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 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.
“This gives us a grim long-term picture of a consistent problem that has not been effectively addressed,” said Dr. Montecel. “In fact, attrition rates are higher than they were two decades ago.”
IDRA research shows that between 1985-86 and 2005-06, more than 2.5 million secondary students have been lost from public school enrollment in the state. “This is like losing Austin, Dallas and El Paso over the course of two decades,” said Dr. Montecel.
This loss has cost the state over $730 billion in foregone income, lost tax revenues, and increased job training, welfare, unemployment and criminal justice costs. “The cost in economic productivity is dwarfed by the cost in life choices for so many Texans,” Dr. Montecel added.
IDRA has repeatedly called for changes so that schools are held accountable based on the number of students they are graduating. IDRA also recently has launched a new initiative called Graduation Guaranteed/Graduación Garantizada to support community-school partnerships leadership that guarantee graduation and student success.
Key IDRA findings about dropouts in Texas show that the picture has not changed much in 20 years:
In 1985-86, Texas schools lost 33 percent of their students. In 2005-06, Texas schools lost 35 percent of their students.
In 1985-86, Texas schools lost 86,276 students. In 2005-06, Texas schools lost 137,162 students.
Since the first IDRA study…
- Attrition rates for White students have improved (22 percent decrease).
- Attrition rates for Asian/Pacific Islander students have improved (48 percent decrease).
- Attrition rates for Native American students have improved (13 percent decrease).
- Attrition rates for Hispanic students have worsened (4 percent increase).
- Attrition rates for African American students have worsened (18 percent increase).
- More than 2.5 million students have been lost from public schools.
- This loss has cost the state of Texas $730.1 billion in foregone income, lost tax revenues, and increased job training, welfare, unemployment and criminal justice costs.
The IDRA web site lists vital components for successful dropout prevention based on a review of research and IDRA’s 20 years of experience with its highly-successful dropout prevention program, the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program.
“Not too long ago, it seemed unreasonable to think that this country would have universal education through elementary school,” said Dr. Montecel. “It is now time that we make high school graduation the new minimum.”
Visit www.idra.org to view the report, attrition by county and background information.
Contact: Christie L. Goodman, APR, at IDRA, 210-444-1710; email@example.com