Rick Perry's Cover-Up and Corruption: Texas' Dropout Crisis

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Ed. Note: This is the ninth part of a ten-part wrap-up of Rick Perry's history of cover-up and corruption that will run on Burnt Orange Report today.

Rick Perry has done his best to cover-up Texas’ dropout crisis, pushing false dropout numbers to hide the fact that at least 3 in 10 Texas high school students do not graduate from high school or get a GED in four years.Perry has spent months arguing about statistics instead of focusing on the true consequences of Texas’ dropout crisis, whatever the size.

  • Dropouts earn thousands of dollars less than high school graduates each year, and hundreds of thousands of dollars less over a lifetime.

  • Dropouts are more likely to be unemployed, pay less in taxes and be incarcerated — all factors that hurt the Texas economy to the tune of $5 billion to $9 billion annually.

As the Houston Chronicle reported in their story, “Poverty, dropout rates bode grim future for state“, the dropout crisis will have serious long-term damage to our state’s economy if Rick Perry continues to cover-up the problem:

If nothing changes, average Texas household incomes will be about $6,500 lower in 30 years than they were in 2000, according to Murdock's projections. That number is not adjusted for inflation, so it would be worse than it appears.

The Houston Chronicle also went on to tackle Perry's lies about the dropout crisis in a column, “Falkenberg: Whopper is too big to let pass

In the face of years of research showing the rate upwards of 30 percent, and as high as 50 percent in some large urban districts, Perry's camp insisted it was only about 10 percent.

“The percent of students who enter high school and eventually earn a diploma or equivalent, or who remain in pursuit of a diploma or equivalent, is 90 percent,” Perry spokesman Mark Miner told the Chronicle's Gary Scharrer.

The number prompted laughter from a few, including Republican state Rep. Rob Eissler, chair of the House public education committee.

“Yeah. That's not what I base my stuff on,” said The Woodlands lawmaker, who believes the figure is about 30 percent. “You've got to categorize that as a bit campaign rhetoric. If our dropout rate were just 10 percent, I'd be feeling a lot better.”

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About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

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