The National Governor's Association (NGA) today highlighted many of Texas' dropout prevention programs as best practices in the nation in its Achieving Graduation for All guide. The study identified Texas as one of only a few states to reengage dropouts and bring them back to the classroom, and specifically cited Gov. Rick Perry's leadership on this important issue.
"One student who drops out is one dropout too many," Gov. Perry said. "Working with legislators, educators and community leaders, Texas has taken deliberate steps to decrease the dropout rate to ensure students have a chance to succeed, and we will continue working together to apply innovative approaches to keep our students in the classroom and on the path to success."
The guide cited initiatives such as the Texas High School Project, a public-private partnership that helps at-risk students in high-need areas by creating model high schools such as the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (T-STEM) academies, which the governor recently proposed expanding; the Dropout Recovery Pilot Program, an effort to recruit dropouts and provide incentives to ensure students graduate; the district-based Reach Out to Dropouts program, which encourages district leaders to visit students who do not return to school; and the state's high performing charter schools, which provide rigorous curriculum to minority and disadvantaged students.
According to a July 2009 report published by the Texas Education Agency, high school dropout rates have declined in Texas for every student demographic between 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. Additionally, under Gov. Perry's leadership, Texas has created the largest teacher performance pay program in the nation.
"Texas believes that it's important to hold schools accountable for students who drop out and that accountability has produced gains in the fight for our children's future," Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott said.
The NGA report marks Texas' second national education recognition in the last few weeks. Education Week praised Texas in September for leading the nation in adopting college-ready curriculum standards and developing a system-wide effort to align high school and college curricula through state laws, standards, assessments and professional development. Additionally, two Texas teachers today were awarded the prestigious Milken National Educator Award, which provides public recognition and financial rewards to exemplary elementary and secondary education professionals.