What’s in store for Texas in the coming year?

This is a preview of our Texas 2036 newsletter with a sneak peek at what’s in store in 2024 for Texas. To receive this weekly look at our work, sign up here.

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1. K-12 Readiness

Every year, more than 100,000 young Texans graduate not ready for college or career. A good first step toward lowering that number is to ensure that the materials in the classroom are preparing students to advance to the next grade and to eventually graduate adequately prepared for life after high school.

Texas 2036 supported efforts by lawmakers in 2023 to invest over $700 million in high-quality instructional materials, providing teachers with grade-level vetted resources aligned with state standards that can be adapted to fit students’ needs.

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Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick toward 2036, our bicentennial year. This year’s kindergarteners, who are the graduating class of 2036, are halfway through their first school year.

2. Classroom to Career Initiative

Although Texas reports a 90% high school graduation rate, only 65% of those graduates are deemed college, career or military ready with just 36% going on to complete a postsecondary education.

In recent years, Texas lawmakers fundamentally transformed how K-12 and community colleges are funded in our state. We now need to focus on aligning that funding to have the biggest return on investment for our students.

This signature undertaking would dramatically increase the number of high-wage, high-demand postsecondary credentials earned while students are still enrolled in high school.

what's in store for '24 classroom to career staircase
3. Finishing the job on community college reform

A $691 million investment in Texas’ community colleges has as its goal a more direct alignment of course offerings to what students need to earn a credential that has proven workforce value.

  • Why it matters: The state’s 50 public community college systems serve nearly 700,000 students across the state. We’ll be closely monitoring the work by Texas regulators to flesh out this shift in focus from enrollment to outcomes.
4. Texas’ prison system under Sunset review

For the first time in 12 years, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and other adult correctional agencies will undergo a Sunset review.

  • Why it matters: As the state with the largest prison population, this is a rare opportunity for Texas to refine educational, vocational and rehabilitative programming for justice-involved Texans. Reports point to such programs leading to decreased recidivism rates.
  • What’s in store for ’24: Texas 2036 will monitor and support efforts toward improving programs and conditions in prisons for inmates and staff alike.
5. A big opportunity for uninsured Texans

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A majority of the 5 million Texans who don’t have health insurance have an opportunity to purchase a no-cost or low-cost plan this year through existing programs like the ACA Marketplace, Medicaid or CHIP. That’s according to our recently released report on the makeup of Texas’ uninsured population.

  • Time to act: Those looking to take advantage of this opportunity need to move fast. Jan. 16 marks the close of the ACA Marketplace’s open enrollment period for 2024 plans.
6. Health care affordability

Access to quality health care is a staple of daily life but spiraling costs are putting this out of reach for too many Texans. In fact, 68% of Texans reported they or someone in their household skipped or postponed care due to costs in the past 12 months.

At Texas 2036, we are advocating for competitive, informed and engaged health care markets and we are committed to cultivating a healthy Texas where quality care is a reality for every resident.

7. Housing affordability

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The Legislature passed significant pro-housing legislation aimed at streamlining an onerous and inefficient municipal permitting and inspection system.

  • Did you know? The median home price in Texas increased 41% from February 2020 to July 2023 — to $345,000. The price of a home is now approaching 4x the median income, meaning more and more Texans will lose the ability to invest in their families and futures through homeownership.
  • What’s in store for ’24: Access to affordable housing remains a significant challenge in sustaining the Texas miracle through 2036 and beyond. We’ll continue to monitor developments at the state level to encourage more housing stock.
8. Texans made water investments

Texas 2036’s Legislative Blueprint for water identified $150 billion in needed investments over the next 50 years on water infrastructure. Voters in November approved $1 billion to fund improvements to our water supply and systems.

  • The bottom line: Texas voters provided an important down payment on the state’s water needs, but it is the proverbial drop in the bucket. We’ll need more.
9. The future of Texas energy

Want to know how changes in technology might impact Texas’ energy market? Later this year, we’ll be rolling out a dashboard to show how a modernized energy portfolio affects future job growth and the economy.

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10. Trends in extreme weather, drought

As previewed last month, our newly updated report pointed to a trend toward increasing extreme weather events, including droughts, heat waves and catastrophic floods. Later this year, we will be rolling out more Texas data to illustrate these trends.

BONUS: America continues to look more like Texas

One in 11 Americans call Texas home in 2024, and by 2036, one in 10 Americans will live here. Texas’ population growth continues to be driven by domestic migration, mainly by relocation from California, Florida, Louisiana, New York and Colorado.

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