When it comes to the number of students who graduate from its public high schools, Texas is not accustomed to being called a success.
The last time the Texas Supreme Court ruled on the state’s school finance system, in 2005, it warned of a “severe dropout problem,” calling the lagging graduation rates of blacks and Hispanics in the state “especially troublesome.”
Yet even as the latest round of school finance litigation goes to trial this fall, it appears there is reason for optimism about the number of students leaving high school with a diploma. Many Texas school districts, including the state’s two largest, are reporting their third or fourth straight year of rising graduation rates — and the statewide average has climbed steadily since 2007, according to data kept by the Texas Education Agency.
One example: Dallas Independent School District, the state’s second largest, has seen its graduation rates increase 14 percentage points during that time, according to the latest numbers released by district officials.