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High School Graduation Rates, College and Career Readiness Remain at Record Levels in Greater Austin Region

Posted By Greater Austin Chamber | Apr 27, 2015
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10th Annual Education Progress Reports provide insight on key school district metrics

April 27, 2015, AUSTIN, TX – High school graduation and college-career readiness rates in the Austin region remain at all-time highs according to the latest education progress reports released today.  The annual reports, which provide insight on five key indicators, are developed by the Austin Chamber of Commerce in concert with 11 area school districts and 14 local chambers and economic development corporations.

The reports serve as tools for communities to track their school districts' performance trends and communicate strategies to reach those goals.  They also provide a platform for early dialogue on how budget priorities and tax rate elections might accomplish those plans.  In addition, the information is designed to help provide relevant information to parents as well as companies looking to locate or expand operations in the region.

“The latest education progress reports have some big wins for Central Texas,” said Gene Austin, Chairman of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and CEO of Bazaarvoice. "We are pleased to see that a record number of our local high school students are graduating and eligible to enroll in college.  However, there is more work to be done to reach direct-to-college enrollment rates which remain flat.  The premium today on college degree attainment has never been higher and our employers need more college-educated talent to power our company growth and success.”

Highlights of Central Texas region’s student performance:

  • For the second year in a row, the 4-year graduation rate was at a record high of
    91 percent.
  • The percent of students academically ready for college-level work was at 64 percent, for the second year in a row, which exceeded the rate of those who directly enroll in college.  This is up from 44 percent in 2007. 
  • For the sixth straight year, direct-to-college enrollment rates remained flat at
    61 percent.
  • The 11 participating school districts represent about 80 percent of the public school enrollment in Central Texas. 

To address the direct-to-college enrollment metric, the Austin Chamber today announced it is leading an effort with area school district superintendents and business leaders on a new regional strategy designed to move this crucial rate higher.

“Throughout the region, we all agree that the direct-to-college enrollment rate of 70 percent remains a critical metric.  As superintendents, we know our partner school districts face different challenges to reach this shared goal.  We are currently working with a broad set of leaders and district partners to formalize a new regional plan to reach the target.  If we do, 1,000 more graduating seniors in the Class of 2016 will directly enroll in a university or a community and technical college,” said Paul Cruz, Superintendent of Austin Independent School District. 

Human Capital Award Winner

The Austin Chamber today also recognized Richard Froeschle, a long-time public servant and nationally-recognized figure behind Labor Market Information at the Texas Workforce Commission, with its Austin Human Capital Award.  Froeschle received the honor for pioneering new ways to put career market information into the hands of students. 

The Chamber’s Human Capital Award is given to leaders who exemplify absolute dedication to ensuring that our education system enables and inspires young people for the challenges of the high-performance workplace.  Previous honorees include Charles Barnett, former CEO of Seton Family of Hospitals and founding Chair of Skillpoint Alliance and Austin Partners in Education, Lois Hollis, who created the state infrastructure for real-time data for college applications and FAFSA, and Rosemary Kelly, former head of counseling at Round Rock ISD.

About the Progress Reports

A team of almost 60 business volunteers from Central Texas chambers of commerce helped produce the Education Progress Reports for eleven area school districts: Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD, Elgin ISD, Hays CISD, Hutto ISD, Leander ISD, Liberty Hill ISD, Lockhart ISD, Manor ISD, Pflugerville ISD and Round Rock ISD.

All reports may be viewed online at austinchamber.com/edureports.

 

About the Austin Chamber

The mission of the Austin Chamber of Commerce is to provide leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for its more than 3,000 members. For more information about the Austin Chamber of Commerce visit AustinChamber.com.
 

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Media Inquiries:

TJ Filipowicz, VP of Communications, Austin Chamber of Commerce

O: 512.322.5692

tfilipowicz@austinchamber.com                  

Greater Austin Chamber

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce focuses on how the Austin Region works. We serve as the voice of business for 2,800 organizations representing a combined workforce of about 330,000 employees throughout Central Texas. Our mission is to provide leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for members.