Organization ranks Texas schools on risk: How does your child's - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Organization ranks Texas schools on risk: How does your child's school compare?

An children's advocacy organization that focuses on at-risk kids has published its 9th annual school rankings for Texas.

The group, Children at Risk, says its goal in publishing the list is to, "serve as an accessible guide for parents, educators, and community members on the performance of local schools and to spark important community dialogue on the quality of public education in Texas."

The following was provided by Children at Risk to understand what was considered when compiling the rankings:

Early Education

It is important that children receive high quality education during the early years of their lives, which are most crucial to development. Quality early education increases school readiness, contributes to better student academic outcomes, and increases high school graduation rates, especially in children of low socioeconomic status. For the money, there may be no better investment the state can make that will yield this type of return. Nonetheless, since the last legislative session in 2011, Texas pre-k programs have lost $223 million in discretionary grant cuts. This has resulted in many full-day pre-k programs being reduced to half-day programs or eliminated entirely. For more information on our current efforts around pre-k education in Texas, please visit our project page.

Graduation and Dropout Rates

The repercussions of high dropout rates include a variety of social and economic challenges. High school dropouts face limited earning potential, increased rates of unemployment, a higher likelihood of committing a crime, and even a shorter life span. Moreover, a single cohort of dropouts is estimated to cost the state billions in lost potential income.

CHILDREN AT RISK calculates its own unique graduation rate by tracking student movement through "leavers" - students not counted by the Texas Education Agency as dropouts but who leave the school for reasons beyond transferring to another public school. Most recently calculated at 71.6%, CHILDREN AT RISK's statewide graduation rate strives to account for students who fall through the cracks.

Quality Public Schools

The public school system in Texas needs reform in order to improve the educational achievement and attainment of its students. The data clearly indicate that students are both failing to master basic subjects and dropping out of high school at alarmingly high rates. Moreover, these deficiencies are even greater across low-income and minority populations, and this achievement gap is not insignificant in a state where 59% of students are economically disadvantaged and 69% are minority.

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