Some new statistics has Texas business leaders upset at the state’s public education system. And maybe the word ‘upset’ is an understatement.
The Houston Endowment tracked all 8th graders from 2001 until today. The number of kids that got their college degree in the state was just 19.4%. In Harris County it was just 18.1%. Fort Bend and Montgomery counties outperformed the state average at 28.3% and 22% respectively. George Grainger at the Houston Endowment explains why.
“If you have more economically disadvantaged eighth graders in your county you are probably going to underperform,” Grainger told KTRH.
And underperforming is exactly what Bill Hammond of the Texas Association of Business says our schools are doing.
“We need to hold schools accountable for the performance of all students, especially those born into poverty, in the early years and high school,” Hammond stated.
But the bottom line right now isn't very good.
“A larger percentage of our work force is eligible to work at McDonald’s and not a job that will pay them a decent wage so that they can have a family,” Hammond explained. “The fact of the matter is our schools are not getting the job done. There’s an enormous skills gap that’s growing rather than shrinking.”
Hammond says if we don’t reverse this trend, Texas will become less competitive down the road.
“That will not work for the future. We’re going to have to figure out how to get the kids to graduate from high school and get their degrees. It’s a difficult job. But it’s essential of Texas is going to continue to grow and be competitive in the future,” Hammond explained.