Communities & Schools Must Work Together to Graduate All Students
Latest Texas Attrition Data Released;
Nov 4-5 Summit to Support Community-Based Leadership for Student Success

Quick links: School Holding Power web siteEvent advisoryStudy advisory

San Antonio (November 4, 2005) – Texas schools are failing to graduate two of every five students – meaning schools lose a student every four minutes. The Intercultural Development Research Association released detailed findings today from its latest study showing that the high school attrition rate is 36 percent. In Texas for 2004-05, almost half of Hispanic students, two out of five Black students, and one of five White students were lost from public school enrollment. County-level figures are available online at

As it releases its 20 th annual attrition study, IDRA is unveiling a “Quality Schools Action Framework” at a statewide invitational summit November 4-5 in San Antonio convened by IDRA and the League of United Latin American Citizens. At the summit, invited community members and educators from across Texas are coming together to catalyze immediate and long-term action to increase school holding power.

The framework, developed by IDRA executive director, Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, gives tools for communities and schools to work together to strengthen school holding power and ensure success for all students.

“It is high time that Texas take a new course. Our high schools lose more than one out of three of their students before graduation. This lack of school holding power affects every Texan,” said Dr. Montecel. “Most dropout prevention programs fail either because they are too narrow or because they blame students and parents for the problem. What we know, though, is that schools themselves must change to increase their ability to engage and educate students through to graduation. Parents and communities have played vital roles in every school reform effort – from fighting for fair funding to making sure that students are not ignored because of the language they speak. Communities and their neighborhood public schools can work together to guarantee that every child graduates from high school. “

“The dropout rate among Latino students is of crisis proportions. Among the various Hispanic ethnicities, Mexican Americans have the lowest level of educational attainment with barely half graduating from high school,” said Hector Flores, LULAC national president. “We must challenge the country to secure the future of our young people and of the United States. The goal of this summit is to gather a strong basis of best practices to increase the much-needed improvement for our Texas schools and spread the anticipated success of the summit to the rest of the nation.”

IDRA releases its annual attrition study in the October issue of its newsletter, which became available today online at 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, almost two decades later, attrition rates are higher than the original rate of 33 percent that alarmed many state and community leaders in 1986.”

IDRA research shows that between 1985-86 and 2004-05, 2.2 million secondary students have been lost from public school enrollment in the state, costing the state over $500 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.

The IDRA web site presents the “Quality Schools Action Framework,” provides data related to components of the framework, and lists vital components for successful dropout prevention based on a review of research and IDRA’s 21 years of experience with its highly-successful dropout prevention program, the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program.

Visit to view the report, attrition by county and background information.

Contacts: Christie L. Goodman, APR, at IDRA, 210-444-1710;
Brenda Alvarez, National LULAC, 1-877-LULAC-01;

The Intercultural Development Research Association is an independent, private non-profit organization, directed by María Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., dedicated to creating schools that work for all children. As a vanguard leadership development and research team for more than three decades, IDRA has worked with people to create self-renewing schools that value and empower all children, families and communities. IDRA conducts research and development activities, creates, implements and administers innovative education programs and provides teacher, administrator, and parent training and technical assistance.

The League of United Latin American Citizens ( is the oldest and largest Hispanic civil rights organization in the country. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health, and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide.