An analysis performed by Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter, who is a professor at UTSA, shows that Texas is making strides in educating the rapidly growing population of Latino young people, but he warned that cuts in public education funding may be imperiling those gains, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Potter says using measures of increased Hispanic education attainment over the past decade and projecting them shows that the largest segment of the state's future work force is in fact improving educational attainment levels. But Potter pointed out that Latino children have a long was to go. While Anglos, African Americans, and members of other groups are all bunched closely together at between 90 and 95 percent high school graduation rates, Hispanics have gradually risen from less than 60% in 2001, to 65% today.
"Things are looking better it terms of the prospects of the educational attainment or our labor force," Potter said.
If current projection continues through 2030, Potter sees the number of Hispanic Texans who have a Bachelor's Degree up from 20.1% today to 22.1% in 16 years. Similarly, Potter says the percentage of Hispanics who drop out of high school will have fallen form 15% today to 11.4% in 2030.
But Potter warns that figures show a slight drop in improved graduation rates for Hispanics following the 2003 Legislature, where a tight budget led to cuts in education spending, and he says his figures do not include numbers following the 2011 session, when nearly $5 billion in cuts in education were made.
"Two biennia ago, there were significant cuts to education in Texas," Potter said. "Last biennium, there were some restoration of those cuts, but not complete."
He says when it comes to improving Latino graduation performance, there is a clear link between increased taxpayer investments in education and better performance.
He pointed out that Hispanic students are now an absolute majority in Texas schools for the first time, making up about 51% of all students. He says those numbers will continue to grow, with an aging Anglo population and a younger Hispanic population which is in peak childbearing years.
But Potter says the question is whether Texas' improved performance is too little too late.
"Is this good enough?" he asked. "Is this good enough to put Texas in a position where it has a labor force that is going to attract high tech industries."