HOUSTON (Sept. 28, 2006) -- In major Texas cities, huge numbers of students never complete high school. The future of these students is bleak, and the impact of this crisis on the health of our community is very serious. Each year, we lose over 120,000 young people from Texas schools prior to their graduation. National researchers will be at Houston's Rice University Oct. 6 to address this crisis at "The Texas Dropout Crisis and our Children – A Conference on Graduation Rates, Causes, and Policy Solutions."
Co-sponsored by the Rice University Center for Education, Children at Risk, the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, the conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in McNair Hall, 6100 Main St. Register at http://centerforeducation.org. Research shows that individuals with a high school diploma live longer, have better indicators of general health, and are less likely to use publicly funded health insurance than high school dropouts. Over a lifetime, an individual who has not completed high school will earn about $260,000 less than a high school graduate. People who drop out of high school are more likely to commit crimes and end up in prison. Individuals who not only complete high school, but also college, are three times more likely to vote than those without a high school diploma.
The Editorial Projects in Education Research Center reported graduation rates for major cities in Texas that demonstrate that the impact of the dropout crisis falls most strongly on urban centers and on African-American and Latino students.
The conference will convene nationally recognized researchers to present studies that use different methodologies but come to the same conclusions: on average, only 60 percent of students in Texas graduate, and as low as 40 percent of students in the state's major cities graduate.
Researchers will also present findings about what causes students to drop out, with implications for how schools and school systems can address the problem. The conference will feature superintendents and community leaders who will talk about their understanding of the dropout problem and what kind of support is needed from the community to resolve it.
9 a.m. -- Welcome, Rice University Center for Education
Getting the Right Numbers and Getting the Numbers Right: How Research Converges on the Severity of the Problem
Gary Orfield, The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University and Harvard Graduate School of Education
Chris Swanson, Editorial Projects in Education Research Center
Stephen Klineberg, Rice University
Julian Vasquez Heilig, University of Texas in Austin
Magnus Lofstrom, University of Texas in Dallas
Understanding the Dropout Issue: Do our Current Education Policies Help Students Get through School?
Robert Balfanz, Johns Hopkins University
Linda McNeil, Rice University
Eileen Coppola, Rice University
Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University
Luncheon, Grand Hall
María (Cuca) Robledo Montecel, Intercultural Development Research Association
Panel of Superintendents:
Abelardo Saavedra, Houston ISD
Sandra Mossman, Clear Creek ISD
Duncan Klusman, Spring Branch ISD
What Causes Dropping Out? How Our Schools Approach Diverse Languages and Cultures
Judy Radigan, Rice University
Angela Valenzuela, University of Texas at Austin
Carol Camp Yeakey, Washington University in St. Louis
The Dropout Problem: What Can Policymakers and Community Leaders Do?
Daniel Losen, The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University
Responses from a Panel of Legislators and Community Leaders:
Representative Scott Hochberg
Representative Dora Olivo
Sylvia Brooks, Executive Director, Houston Area Urban League
Renato De Los Santos, Dallas Regional Office Director, LULAC National Educational Service Center
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