2004 July 08 Thursday
Texas Has Lowest High School Graduation Rates

Texas is in last place for high school graduation rates.

For the second straight year, Texas has the lowest percentage of high school graduates in the nation, according to a U.S. Census Bureau study released Tuesday.

For Texans over age 25 the rate of having a high school diploma is white 91%, Asian, 89%, black, 83%, and Hispanic 51%. Note that the Houston Chronicle labels whites as "Anglos" even though I'm sure many of the whites in Texas are Saxons, Juts, and maybe even French!

While some of these Hispanics came to the US as adults without high school educations many more were either born here or went to school here after coming to the US legally or illegally.

"Nationally 85 percent of young people under 18 who are Hispanic are born in the U.S.," Montecel said. "The issue of dropouts is an issue of how well schools in the state are able to educate Latino students rather than a question of immigration. It is in our schools. That's where we need to focus."

Notice Montecel's spin: The question not whether Hispanics are willing or able to learn. It is whether the schools have the right abilities needed to teach them.

The article says California ranks 42nd in the nation in graduation rates. California is bifurcating into a high tech highly skilled upper class and a third world lower class. My guess is that this is not a sustainable condition. Higher taxes, crowding, and crime will continue to drive out the white middle class. The resulting loss of tax revenues will lower the quality of services while at the same time leading to higher taxes.

The 51% figure for Hispanics is in line with the 53% figure measured for national high Hispanic school graduation rates. Note that 53% figure is a measure of how many kids from grade school make it through to a high school diploma. So it can not be attributed to the immigration of adults who lack education (though of course if we had high minimal educational standards for immigrants their children would do better in school than the children of most of our current immigrants).

Unfortunately, as Samuel P. Huntington has noted, later generations of Hispanics do not improve their scholastic performance by much.

Update: When I see poor academic performance of some group I think of costs. Aside from higher taxes, crime, and crowding how does the demographic trend caused by immigration create costs? One of the biggest costs that does not get as much attention as it deserves is the rising costs of racial quotas for jobs, college slots, and other opportunities. There is the opportunity cost of jobs that more qualified people will be shut out of. But there is also the cost in inefficiency due to the inability of organizations to fire people in important positions. Plus there is the cost in the increasing divisiveness of American politics as the political parties split over race. That is going to approach levels that Americans today can scarcely imagine.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 July 08 02:48 PM  Immigration Societal Decay

John S Bolton said at July 8, 2004 10:34 PM:

This could be a vicious interaction of immigration policy and biligual education. The students don't bother with high school, and this is also because there are no spanish-speaking universities here to speak of, and they wouldn't give economic advancement to their students, if there were such a system. The average IQ of central-americans is only around 85; colleges for a population on that level are as meaningless as one might expect. The latinos can't even provide teachers for their children; they have to be imported from abroad.

John S Bolton said at July 9, 2004 12:05 AM:

Clearly, immigration is driving the quota system in recruitment on toward ever more destructive magnitudes. But is this cost like a total deadweight of an alternative welfare system? In the case where the quota placeholders are counted on, to advance an organization, the costs will be different in nature than if the quotas are just a tax on the majority, to support alternative-welfare cases. Searching 'griffe du lion', one finds 'affirmative action: the robin hood effect', which indicates that there is a tax of hundreds of billions a year, to increase the incomes of the disadvantaged minorities, including immigrants, through quotas. If diversity is said to be riches, how can it be so expensive? This would be a strong argument for restriction of immigration, even if the costs were exaggerated ten-fold, which is most unlikely. The advocates of such policies can't admit that there is any cost of this kind. Yet this entails a major contradiction, either the minorities are being put in place above their qualifications, or the minorities' environments are no more damaging than those of the majority. It can't be both at the same time.

John S Bolton said at July 9, 2004 3:03 AM:

Responding to the point that states such as California are 'bifurcating': In the 60's Calif. was in the top ten states, in terms of school performance. Now it has fallen all the way down to the bottom ten percent. Why should Calif. be much more a center for high technology in the future than Miss., Alabama, Arkansas, or Louisiana? Isn't a middling group, of above-average intelligence also necessary for this sort of economy? It must be malice against human success that could want to do this degree of damage.

Gene Berman said at July 9, 2004 8:14 AM:

I agree with the gloomy prognosis. I disagree with the political recommendations, which amount to not much more than keeping entry
of the least desirable to as low a level as possible. However, my disagreement is not with the idea of restricting entry but with the type
and direction of proposals to accomplish this end--most consisting of laws, better law enforcement, etc.

The situation faced--at least a very large part of it--is not the product of immigration or low-IQ immigrants, or even vast numbers of illegal immigrants. It is the simple, entirely predictable, nearly inevitable result of the creation of a welfare state. "Build it--and they will come."
Many may not leave if we tear it down--but they'd become at least somewhat different people.

The beliefs and preferences of the conservatives/classic liberals/libertarians--who, together, constitute a majority (of size unknown to me)
believing in limited government intrusion into either the economic or private affairs of citizens, property rights, sound money, and strong
defense capability are divided by their varying emphases on specific issues. Just as the attack from the left is in the Fabian tradition, the
move anti-leftward must be gradualistic. However, since this is the case (and, at another time, I'd be glad to provide supporting argument for the conclusion), the formation of a new party with clearly-stated goals is vital, as its support by the somewhat disparate elements that
currently attack one another to only slightly lesser extent than they do the radical egalitarians. The Republicans cannot possibly lead the
way--nor can the party be induced to any systematic representation of proper policies. I'm talking about the "whole thing"--the schools,
the borders, health care, retirement, religious freedom, taxation, regulation, law enforcement, national security. My prognosis for the
future (absent the reforms I'd propose) are an existence varying from just a bit better than barely tolerable downward--quite a way.

Randall Parker said at July 9, 2004 10:39 AM:


It is not possible to roll back the welfare state.

Even if it was possible to roll back the welfare state that would not eliminate many of the costs of low ability immigrants.

Why can't we roll back the welfare state? One reason is Robin Hood voters. They want stuff. They vote for it. Another reason is that a substantial portion of the population do not want to see people die or suffer great harm as a result of poverty. People do not want to see, for example, car accident victims turned away from emergency wards due to a lack of money.

Also, even if the welfare state could get rolled back that would not eliminate costs such as police, courts, and prisons to deal with populations that commit crimes at higher rates.

Libertarianism is not a solution to the problems that arise from low ability immigrants.

John S Bolton said at July 10, 2004 3:46 AM:

Libertarianism is indeed not a solution, but a cataclysmic intensification of such problems, if it means free immigration. Even if we could just leave people to bleed to death at the door of a hospital for lack of insurance, the costs of the basic police and justice functions is $500 a year per person. that would be $1,000 a year for each immigrant with one dependent. The military budget would have to increase for each additional resident as they used more imported resources, which would have to be fought (or bullied) for. It couldn't be less than the $1,000 a year per person that we pay now, if we had to get more and more oil by intimidation. At the same time, our economy would have to convert towards using labor wherever automation can be displaced. That would be a depression, as the industries which produce labor-saving machinery were progressively shut down. Yet it wouldn't get to that point anyway, since open borders would be open to armed invasion by military forces, who would then shut the borders behind them, as they took over. If for some reason there were no removal of the state which set up the policy, then the immigrants would cost several thousand dollars in net public subsidy, as their incomes would be too low to tax for even a small percentage of their cost in government services, even at the absolute minimum level.

John S Bolton said at July 12, 2004 2:38 AM:

The government has two policies regarding disadvantaged minority education which work in opposite directions. One of these is integration, such as may involve busing. The other one is a kind of segregation, involving bilingual education and other policies which tend to ghettoize, groups such as hispanic immigrants or their children. This shows that the officials are insincere; their actual purposes must be different from the stated reasons for these contradictory policies, which are in force at the same time. Notice what the contradictory patterns have in common; they both tend to increase racial and ethnic hostilities on an irreconcilable basis. Now it may be clear what is the actual intention of the officials, who have some idea what they are doing.

david said at July 12, 2004 5:05 PM:

Only one quibble, that is that California "is" bifurcating.

I would argue it already has bifurcated. Only 14% of Bay Area residents can afford a house; only 19% statewide.

It's already bifurcated, the question is how much worse can it become--probably much worse, but as I stated, it's already happened.

You have your nouveau-riche and "old-timers" (those who moved here back in the '70's or grew up here) who own a house, etc, and then you have your unskilled, unable to speak English immigrants. Anyone who holds a "middle class" job is leaving if he/she has half a brain. Who wants to rent a crappy 1 br apt (median price in Bay Area: $1200+/month) when one can buy a house just about anywhere else for that price? Meanwhile, the dot-commers, old-timers and biotechies can keep on trading overpriced stock and housing on up, and the Mexicans can do the gardening, laundry, etc.


Sebastian Triana said at April 12, 2005 9:42 AM:

I have moved to Houston Texas in the beginning of September from NY to finish my senior year in texas.I have enough credits to graduate and i passed all my test except for one. This test is BCIS1A (computer course) of the first semester. They are telling me that i wont graduate with the rest of my class because i dont have that one semester of BCIS1A. I am taking the other semester right now and passing it with flying colors. Now my counselor gave me Keyboarding instead of BCIS, but I didnt say anything because I thought that it would consider one credit since they are both computer classes. So because of on semester I wont graduate even though I have passed all my classes and have more than enough credits to graduate is it still possible for me to graduate in time with the rest of my class. I dont think its fair because I have done everything I could and I was going to graduate in NY so please, is there a possibility for me to graduate with the rest of my class? I really need your help. I need to know what is the policy for graduating high school.

Wayne Harrison said at June 1, 2005 10:00 AM:

It's been a well known fact that under the leadership of then Gov. Bush and now President Bush that Texas has had the highest high school drop out rate in the country, so why should we be surprised at these statistics? The "Education President" has bankrupted just about everything he has put his hand to (including our country) so why should it be a surprise that he and other politicians are bankrupting education, a much more valuable resource than currency. And the policy in Texas for reporting drop outs is underreported, because those who drop out during the summer months and do not return to school the next year are not counted as drop outs. Politicians have taken schools out of the hands of the locality, gotten schools to teach how to take one type of test (standardized tests), and thereby stopped teachers from teaching students how to learn. Politicians (mostly republican) have made education a political issue because they had no other platform at the time. Our youth and future leaders are the losers.

Bri B. said at September 4, 2008 2:08 PM:

In just my personal opionion I think that the fact that its Texas has nothing to do with why the rates are so low. I think a big thing is because the state of Texas recognizes younger people as adults and they can make decisions for themselves. I can almost guarantee that if the laws were the same in the other states then the drop out rates would be just as high, but since they're not and every other state government likes to control their people, more people are graduating, not because they want to, but because they have to. I do not condone dropping out in the least bit, but seriously people, stop being so damn narrow minded.

Randall Parker said at September 4, 2008 9:38 PM:

Bri B.,

So you dreamt up an alternative explanation for which you offered no evidence just so you could tell us we are narrow minded. How lame.

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