One in three students is lost. Texas first commissioned IDRA to study dropout rates and the causes of student attrition in 1986. IDRA’s most recent study for the 2006-07 school year again shows that Texas public schools are failing to graduate one out of every three students. The Texas Education Agency report released today confirms this finding. IDRA research shows specifically that Texas has a 34 percent rate of attrition – higher than the 33 percent rate that so alarmed Texans back in 1986.
Beyond Counting, Mere Recovery.
An equally critical issue is what schools are doing to hold on to students and ensure they graduate with an excellent education. School actions and programs must be based on research showing their effectiveness. For example, many campaigns aimed at recovering students who have dropped out soon fail because the students are brought back into the same system that disengaged and pushed them out in the first place. In taking action, we must adopt proven strategies to serve all children and get at the deeper causes of attrition.“The bottom line is: schools are responsible for the education of children – for all children, be they Black, Brown, White, poor, rich, female, male, disabled, non-disabled, English-speaking or not,” says IDRA president & CEO, Dr. María Robledo Montecel. “But according to last week’s court ruling
[G.I. Forum and Lulac v. State of Texas, et al], high schools and middle schools in Texas are losing English language learners at twice the rate of other students.”
"Make High School Graduation the New Minimum." 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 the following three goals: (1) strengthen relationships; (2) improve teaching and learning; (3) reallocate budget, staff and time to increase student achievement and graduation rates. At the campus, district and system levels
, actions should include: strengthening and supporting school-level change through local accountability teams; (2) funding district-wide efforts that focus on elementary-to-middle and middle-to-high school transition points; and (3) investing in and leveraging funds across federal programs (NCLB Titles) to pursue comprehensive, not piecemeal, approaches to raising graduation rates.
Quality public schools have strong “holding power,” meaning they hold on to and prepare all students for success. Quality schools, for example:
• Keep students in school with a determined faculty that provides the support and opportunities for students to experience academic success.
• Develop persistence and self efficacy in an environment that values all students’ strengths and assets.
• Provide an authentic and engaging curriculum that prepares students for college and the workplace.
• Provide students opportunities to experience support and engage themselves in academic and extracurricular activities sponsored by the school.
• Involve parents in a collective effort to support students both in school and at home.
In addition, this reconfiguration must be embedded into any existing or proposed school reform effort. IDRA has developed a Quality Schools Action Framework to guide such efforts among schools and their communities. We also have developed a set of principles for policymakers and school leaders. IDRA’s online portal helps community and school partners in Texas examine their school data and plan joint action to improve school holding power.
Look up attrition rates your county
Latest statewide and county level attrition study (in English)
Los Resultados del Estudio Anual 2007 de la Deserción Escolar, de IDRA ya están disponibles (in Spanish)
"Stunning Dropout Rate Should Concern Texans" (Editorial, San Antonio Express-News, 7/20/08).
"Texas School Holding Power (Past Present and Future)"
What is your state's graduation rate? For a quick overview, visit Education Week’s Diplomas Count 2008 initiative. Visit "Graduation in the United States" for an at-a-glance table of states and rates.
"Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement Strategies and the Reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act" - Testimony by Dr. María Robledo Montecel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor (April, 2007)
Quality Schools Action Framework
School Holding Power Policy Principles
Ideas and Strategies for Action
Graduation for All - Dropout Rates Still High, It's Time for Bold Action (English) Graduación para Todos: Las Tasas de Deserción Escolar Siguen Altas: Es Hora de Tomar Acción Definitiva (Spanish)
Classnotes Podcast: School Holding Power for Every Child
Classnotes Podcast: Dropout Prevention for Students with Special Needs
“I strive to continue to motivate, to inspire and to transform the lives of young people. I work from the mindset that young people are our greatest resources and their voice should not only be heard, but implemented into policies. They have real feelings, real goals, real desires, real lives that they want to see happen and it is my duty as a youth advocate to run that race with them to the best of my ability. Why? Well, the reason is simple: someone ran with me and that made the difference.” - Eric Polk, Inaugural Recipient, 2008, Ready by 21 Change Maker Award presented by the Forum for Youth Investment.
Tell a friend. Feel free to forward Grad4All to anyone who shares a passion for every student’s success.
The Intercultural Development Research Association is an independent, private non-profit organization whose mission is to create schools that work for all children.
Thanks for reading!
Graduation for All Coordinator
Intercultural Development Research Association
5835 Callaghan Road, Suite 350
San Antonio, Texas 78228