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« October 2014 | WILLisms.com | May 2015 »

America Envies Texas' High School Graduation Rates

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 980 -- Texas Graduation Rates-

Over the past several years, it has become what feels like a tautological exercise to note that Texas leads the nation in economic growth, job growth, population growth, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Everyone knows those things now.

One thing that hasn't really sunk in really at all, though, is Texas' relative dominance on educational measures. National test scores and high school graduation/dropout rates, both.

The left-wing rebuttal to Texas' economic dominance usually has something to do with poor people being left out of the recovery (not even a bit true at all), a high number of uninsured (kind of true, but the reality is that foreign-born immigrants have uninsured rates three times higher than native-born citizens, and Texas has a high number of recent immigrants from foreign countries), high levels of obesity (pretty true, if 15th place is compelling enough for you; there's also a demographic component to the numbers), or that the state leads the nation in the percentage of residents without a high school diploma (technically true, but again, only due to high levels of foreign adults immigrating into the state).

When it comes to test scores, Texas is at or near the top in essentially every demographic category. And now, we have the latest round of data for graduation/dropout rates, and Texas again dominated across demographic categories [click here for larger version]:


Texas also has one of the smallest "achievement gaps" in the nation.

Texas' Hispanic/white graduation gap is more than 30% smaller than the nation's gap, while Texas' black/white graduation gap is 44% smaller than the nation's.

All this being said, merely being at/near the top in a nation that is increasingly middle-of-the-pack on these metrics is not good enough. Texas can still do better, and America can certainly do better.

The industrial-era educational model itself, little changed since the 19th century, is becoming more outmoded, obsolete, and counterproductive by the day. Our education system often serves primarily an adult jobs program fora bloated bureaucracy filled with non-teaching administrators. The system is both one-size-fits-all and highly inequitable-- based on a student's zip code-- all at once. In many schools in many districts, smart, creative, and exceptionally talented kids are viewed as a burden, while conformity and mediocrity are celebrated.

Technology and competition, of course, will change everything, as they have already changed (for the better) every other facet of society, if only we'll allow and encourage reforms that realign incentives for the better.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: The Midland, Texas Oil Boom.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 19 March 2015 03:32 PM · Comments (0)