Press Release

Texas eighth-grade students stand to lose $104 billion in future earnings

George W. Bush Institute and Texas 2036 release State of Readiness report, highlighting alarming Texas education trends

Dallas, Texas (March 21, 2023)— Today, the George W. Bush Institute and Texas 2036 released its new report spotlighting how eighth grade Texans are likely to lose out on $104 billion in future earnings—with low-income students bearing the bulk of that loss— due to their lack of readiness for the future. The report, “The State of Readiness: Are Texas Students prepare for life after high school?”, details how Texas students do not have the knowledge and skills to succeed as they move on to the next grade level, much less in the workforce.  

According to the study: 

  • 70% of jobs in Texas will require a post-secondary credential by 2036. 
  • Only 22% of Texas 8th graders earn a degree or credential within six years of high school graduation. 
  • 60% of Texas students do not do math on grade level, 48% of Texas students do not read on grade level. 
  • Only 26% of Texas voters with children under 18 said they think young people are ready to get a job and earn a self-sufficient wage immediately after high school. 
  • People moving to Texas hold two times as many bachelor’s degrees as Texas’s native workforce. 

“It’s clear the state needs to be doing more to equip our children for their futures,” said Margaret Spellings, President and CEO of Texas 2036 and former U.S. Secretary of Education. “We need to double down on data-driven reforms to invest in our students and their success.” 

Parents are concerned about their children’s future. Sixty-five percent of Texas parents said they are worried about whether their student is prepared for life after high school, with traditionally underserved demographics indicating much higher rates of concern, according to a Texas 2036 survey. 

“The data are clear, far too many young Texans will be left behind in our booming economy if we don’t act.” said Anne Wicks, Ann Kimball Johnson Director of Education and Opportunity at the George W. Bush Institute. “But we can change that if we prioritize both transparency about student progress and pathways to real opportunity for young people.” 

For young Texans to have an opportunity to share in the state’s future prosperity, the authors of the report detailed recommendations for state leaders: 

  • Strengthening measurement and accountability to continue providing transparency and help facilitate targeted interventions to improve student outcomes. 
  • Supporting the Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative by investing in data infrastructures and analysis that provide parents and policymakers with actionable information about employment opportunities.  
  • Creating more rigorous college and career readiness indicators that respond to the realities our students will be living in during the coming decades.  

To read the full report, please visit 


About the George W. Bush Institute 

The George W. Bush Institute is a solution-oriented nonpartisan policy organization focused on ensuring opportunity for all, strengthening democracy, and advancing free societies. Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Bush Institute is rooted in compassionate conservative values and committed to creating positive, meaningful, and lasting change at home and abroad. We utilize our unique platform and convening power to advance solutions to national and global issues of the day. Learn more at 

About Texas 2036 

Texas 2036 is a nonprofit organization building long-term, data-driven strategies to secure Texas’ prosperity through our state’s bicentennial and beyond. We offer nonpartisan ideas and modern solutions that are grounded in research and data on issues that matter most to all Texans. Visit to learn more.