K-12 Indicators:Student Body Characteristics Learning Benchmarks High School Attainment College Readiness
In the past, a high school education afforded people a middle class living. This is no longer the case. A college degree, or a technical certificate, has become a necessity for the 21st Century global economy. The academic, social and emotional growth that takes place in grades K-12 sets the stage for success in college, careers, and life. Whether students reach and excel at critical benchmarks between kindergarten and high school will determine their contribution to the workforce and the economy. When examining the performance of schools and students, demographics and poverty must also be considered. In the 2013-2014 school year, 59.8% of public school students were considered economically disadvantaged, 15% greater than in 2003-2004. Whether the region adequately addresses the educational disparities facing poor children will play a critical role in our future competitiveness and economic vitality.
The quality of public education dictates our future competitiveness with other regions and other nations. Compared to other industrialized nations, American students are lagging: eighth graders fall significantly behind their peers in ten other nations on advanced international tests in mathematics. Low-income and minority students trail their peers across educational outcomes, from third grade reading to high school graduation to post-secondary readiness.
In the Class of 2010 alone, greater Houston’s public schools failed to graduate over 23,800 students on time, with each high school dropout conservatively estimated to cost the state almost $5,000 each year in lost wages, sales tax revenue and welfare payments. The state and region must make investment in public education the top priority to preserve our competitiveness nationally and globally and to ensure that our workforce is second to none.