Anne Wicks, Ann Kimball Johnson Director, Education and Opportunity, George W. Bush Institute, explains how economic success depends on home-grown workers.
“Texas leads the nation in job creation, drawing people from around the country and the world to the opportunities in our cities and towns. Many more people move to Texas than leave it, a decadeslong trend. And those who move to Texas hold nearly twice as many bachelor’s degrees than Texas’s native workforce. A strong state economy that creates jobs and attracts professionals is obviously good. But beneath this success lies a concerning question: Are we equipping Texas kids to compete in the Lone Star economy when they become adults?
“By 2036, 70% of all jobs will require a postsecondary credential of some kind. But only 22% of Texas eighth graders earn a degree or credential within six years of high school graduation. Only 40% of Texas students do math on grade level. Only 52% of Texas students read on grade level.
“Right now, each cohort of Texas eighth graders stands to lose $104 billion in future earnings because of this lack of readiness for their futures. Low-income students (nearly 61% of Texas’ student population) will bear $67 billion of that loss.”