Oct 5, 2022 - News

Texas student dropout rate surges

Illustration of two masked students walking out of a laptop.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Nearly 50,000 Texas students from grades 7-12 dropped out in the 2020-2021 academic year — a 34% increase from the 2018-2019 school year.

Zoom in: In Houston, about 11,400 students dropped out — also a 34% increase from the 2018-2019 school year.

Why it matters: The data is another illustration of how the pandemic has disrupted kids' lives and academic achievement.

  • The increased dropout rates will likely have academic, financial and staffing repercussions for years to come, according to Education Week.

The big picture: Nationwide, the country's public school system lost more than 1.3 million students in the 2020-2021 academic year, according to Education Week's analysis.

  • The dropouts are linked with the pandemic and the glitchy transition from online to hybrid to in-person learning.

By the numbers: In addition to the students who dropped out, 79,000 students left the school system, largely to enroll in private school and homeschooling, according to Texas Education Agency data.

  • This number also includes students who died or left to return to their home country.

Between the lines: The dropout rate is highest among students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds or are Black, Indigenous, Hispanic or Pacific Islander, according to the TEA breakdown.

What they're saying: "Where there were inequities there continue to be inequities … We have to address those elephants if we want to tackle the problem of dropout rates because schools are pushing students out," Saroja Warner, director of educator development and diversity at the research nonprofit WestEd, told the Houston Chronicle.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Houston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Houston stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Houston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more