“One in three freshmen disappear by their senior year. At a time when education makes a world of difference, we simply cannot afford to leave our young people with so few options,” says IDRA president

San Antonio (October 27, 2009) – Texas schools are losing one-third of our high school students. The Intercultural Development Research Association released detailed findings today from its latest study. The high school attrition rate is 31 percent, down from last year’s rate of 33 percent. In Texas for 2008-09, 42 percent of Hispanic students, 35 percent of Black students, and 17 percent of White students were lost from public school enrollment. The gap between the attrition rates of White students and of Black and Hispanic students is higher than 24 years ago.

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 2042. At this pace, the state will lose an additional 2.3 million to 6 million students.

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 the 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 include county-level data by race and ethnicity. Trend graphs of high school attrition in each Texas county are available online.

IDRA research shows that over the past two dozen years, more than 2.9 million secondary students have been lost from public school enrollment in the state.

“At a time when education makes a world a difference, we simply cannot afford to leave our young people with so few options,” said Dr. Robledo Montecel. “The bottom line is: schools are responsible for the education of children – for all children.”

A school with a high dropout rate must make a concerted effort to reconfigure part or most of its structure and practices to ensure that it meets these three goals: (1) strengthen relationships among students, school staff and families; (2) improve teaching and learning in every classroom every day; and (3) if necessary, reallocate budget, staff and time to achieve goals one and two that lead to increased student achievement and graduation rates.

IDRA’s Quality School Action Framework shows how communities and schools can work together to identify weak areas and strengthen public schools’ capacities to improve the holding power of schools.

IDRA also has developed a set of principles for policymakers and school leaders. IDRA’s online School Holding Power web portal helps community and school partners examine their school data and plan joint action to improve school holding power.

The main IDRA web site also lists vital components for successful dropout prevention based on a review of research and IDRA’s 25 years of experience with its highly-successful dropout prevention program, the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program.


Latest statewide and county level attrition study
Forecast analysis
Look up attrition rates your county
Quality Schools Action Framework
School Holding Power Policy Principles
Ideas and Strategies for Action
Speech with recommendations, “Graduation for All – A Framework for Policy and Action”
School Holding Power portal (high school level information)
Classnotes Podcast: “Action for School Change”
Graduation for All E-letter (English/Spanish)
Frequently Asked Questions
See http://del.icio.us/IDRA for related articles and studies.

Contact: Christie L. Goodman, APR, at IDRA, 210-444-1710; christie.goodman@idra.org