Texas eighth-grade students stand to lose $104B in future earnings

George W. Bush Institute and Texas 2036 release State of Readiness report, highlighting alarming Texas education trends and potential loss in future earnings

Today, the George W. Bush Institute and Texas 2036 released its new report spotlighting how eighth grade Texans are likely to lose out on $104 billion in future earnings—with low-income students bearing the bulk of that loss—due to their lack of readiness for the future. The report, “The State of Readiness: Are Texas students prepared for life after high school?”, details how Texas students do not have the knowledge and skills to succeed as they move on to the next grade level, much less in the workforce.

According to the study:

  • 70% of jobs in Texas will require a post-secondary credential by 2036.
  • Only 22% of Texas 8th graders earn a degree or credential within six years of high school graduation.
  • 60% of Texas students do not do math on grade level, 48% of Texas students do not read on grade level.
  • Only 26% of Texas voters with children under 18 said they think young people are ready to get a job and earn a self-sufficient wage immediately after high school.
  • People moving to Texas hold 2 times as many bachelor’s degrees as Texas’s native workforce

It’s clear the state needs to be doing more to equip our children for their futures,” said Margaret Spellings, President and CEO of Texas 2036 and former U.S. Secretary of Education. “We need to double down on data-driven reforms to invest in our students and their success.”

Parents are concerned about their children’s future. Sixty-five percent of Texas parents said they are worried about whether their student is prepared for life after high school, with traditionally underserved demographics indicating much higher rates of concern, according to a Texas 2036 survey

The data are clear, far too many young Texans will be left behind in our booming economy if we don’t act.” said Anne Wicks, Ann Kimball Johnson Director of Education and Opportunity at the George W. Bush Institute. “But we can change that if we prioritize both transparency about student progress and pathways to real opportunity for young people.”

For young Texans to have an opportunity to share in the state’s future prosperity, the authors of the report detailed recommendations for state leaders:

  • Strengthening measurement and accountability to continue providing transparency and help facilitate targeted interventions to improve student outcomes.
  • Supporting the Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative by investing in data infrastructures and analysis that provide parents and policymakers with actionable information about employment opportunities.
  • Creating more rigorous college and career readiness indicators that respond to the realities our students will be living in during the coming decades.

To read the full report, please visit texas2036.org/student-readiness.