News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

High Schools In Dallas ISD Show Lowest Graduation Rates In County, Report Says

The Dallas school district is home to high schools with the lowest graduation rates in Dallas County, according to a report by the education nonprofit Children At Risk.

Across Texas, an average of 85 percent of high school kids graduate. But the graduation rate at Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas? 67 percent. Three other Dallas high schools — H. Grady Spruce, South Oak Cliff and Franklin D. Roosevelt — tied with rates of 68 percent, according to the report. 

CEO Bob Sanborn says he doesn't blame the schools as much as the overall educational system.

"Did those kids get full-day pre-K,” he asks? “Did they have high quality K-3? Were they reading at grade level in third grade? So it’s more than just a look at high schools.”

Sanborn says in Houston, the graduation rates are even worse — closer to 50 percent in some schools. He says low graduation rates persist across urban districts statewide.

"We’re looking at practically one in five children that should be graduating that are not graduating," Sanborn said. "It’s a travesty for those kids but certainly a travesty for us because these are kids that are going to grow into adults and are going to be underperformers."

He added that in every large city, there are high schools that beat these statistics — but it's rare.

Sanborn is urging state lawmakers to take action during the next legislative session, which begins in January. Low graduation rates mean students end up in low-paying jobs. And Sanborn says every part of Texas feels the impact.

10 schools in Dallas County with the 10 lowest graduation rates

Credit Children At Risk

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.