Thank you to those who attended the Community Scorecard Release at The Statler Hotel on March 1, 2018. We hope you left feeling inspired by Dr. Pedro Noguera and encouraged that together we can make an impact on behalf of the children of Dallas County.
Whether you made it out to The Statler or not, you can relive the event by checking out the podcast, viewing the event photos, or flipping through the presentation on our Dallas County Scorecard resources page.
Thank you to our sponsors who made this year's event possible: Communities Foundation of Texas, Dallas Regional Chamber, Educate Texas, Texas Instruments, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
Related Media Coverage:
- Dallas Morning News, Dallas County students are making steady gains on assessments but struggle in college attainment
- Dallas Morning News Editorial, Small gains are good, but Texas schools need more money for real transformation
- Dallas Business Journal, Dallas education pipeline continues to trail employers' needs, study says (subscription required or read content below)
- Dallas Business Journal, Scorecard: Here's where schools in Dallas County are passing, failing (subscription required or read content below)
Dallas Business Journal: “Dallas education pipeline continues to trail employers’ needs, study says”
A whopping 99 percent of new jobs in Dallas County since 2008 require postsecondary training and skills. Yet college completion rates in the county are low and declining.
Those were some of the findings of the Commit Partnership, which released its Community Scorecard for 2018 on Thursday at The Statler in downtown Dallas.
“The region is making steady progress, but it’s not nearly as fast as we want it to be,” Commit’s president Todd Williams told the Dallas Business Journal in an interview before the event. “We have some clear strategies that have just been implemented in the last 12 to 18 months that hold a lot of promise.”
Commit works with community partners to analyze data and then share it publicly to improve the education system for the betterment of the community. This annual effort began in 2012.
Despite making strides in the classroom, race, class, and ethnicity continue to be major factors in the educational divide in Dallas County, Commit’s latest installment says.
Of the 2,513,054 people living in Dallas County, 18.6 percent are living in poverty — an annual income below $25,000 for a family of four — and 28.3 percent of those are children.
A heavy emphasis this year was placed on the need to close gaps between the skills employers need and the education and training that workers have.
Some 37 percent of Dallas County adults have a two- or four-year postsecondary degree, but 65 percent of jobs countywide require such a degree.
Statistics like those raise critical questions that Dallas leaders need answers to, and fast, said Pedro Noguera, UCLA distinguished professor of education, who looked at Commit’s data and was keynote speaker at the event. Noguera is a sociologist who focuses on ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions as well as by demographic trends.
“The question, particularly for the business community, is, ‘Can this city continue on this path and stay viable as a major city?” Noguera said in an interview with the Business Journal. “You have so many people who are not able to participate fully in the economy, not able to contribute, not able to have access to the jobs that are available. The key to all of that is a better education system.”
Education systems and workforce skill sets play a huge role in a community’s ability to attract corporate relocations and expansions, such as the Amazon.com second headquarters search now under way, Williams said.
“Competing for Amazon headquarters II has been a big area of focus for the business leaders (in Dallas) because they know they are asking what our educational pipeline looks like, and it’s not our proudest moment,” he said. “We’ve got so many great things about relocating here, but our education pathways are not as strong as they need to be.”
“If we could actually lead with that instead of talking about all the things we’re going to do, and how we’re changing it, it’s a totally different conversation,” Williams said.
He pointed out that most of the major corporate relocations to North Texas are going to the suburbs where the public schools are better, rather than to Dallas County.
Dallas Business Journal: “Scorecard: Here's where schools in Dallas County are passing, failing”
The Commit Partnership’s “True North Goal” is for 60 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds in Dallas County to have a postsecondary credential by 2030.
Right now, for a wide variety of reasons, the education improvement group is not even close.
About 37 percent of Dallas County adults have a two- or four-year postsecondary degree. And 65 percent of jobs countywide require a two- or four-year degree.
“We are nowhere near where we need to be,” Commit’s president Todd Williams said. “We are making good progress, but far, far too many of our students still are not prepared.”
The Commit Partnership released its Community Scorecard 2018 on Thursday.
Dallas ISD and certain others in the region have added pre-kindergarten classes and improved teacher training, and Commit has set about identifying and implementing best practices in schools, but the improvements aren’t taking root fast enough, Williams said.
One key to improving education levels and ultimately the workforce is to start early. Education is a progression, and statistics show that when students get behind in school, it’s difficult to catch up.
The “Early Matters” pre-kindergarten enrollment campaign grew to 13 school districts in and around Dallas, resulting in more than 1,300 additional students enrolling last fall. Across Dallas County, students who attended Pre-K were twice as likely to be kindergarten ready than eligible students who did not attend Pre-K.
Students who are kindergarten ready are three times more likely to be reading on grade level four years later in third grade. One in six children who are not reading proficiently in third grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate of four-times greater than that for proficient readers.
Student performance in third grade reading is starkly impacted by poverty and by race, and districts across the country are struggling to close the gaps between white students and students of color. Since 2012 in Dallas County, there has been a 7 percent increase in third grade reading among Hispanic students and 5 percent increase among black students.
The state of Texas tracks eighth-graders and looks at whether they are making a livable wage or have achieved some sort of postsecondary degree six years after college graduation, Williams said.
Ninety percent of low-income students from Dallas County fall short of that mark, Williams said. That’s especially troubling since 75 percent of students in Dallas County are from low-income families, he said.
“Our success as a region, frankly, is going to live or die with our ability to adequately support our low-income kids,” Williams said.
Each year, about 18,000 students graduate from high school in Dallas County and do not have a living wage or credential six years later.
“That means each and every year, $18 billion of future lifetime earnings is not maximized for those students because we did not adequately support them,” Williams said. “That’s about one-seventh of our regional economy.”
Given Dallas County’s rapid job growth, the region has imported much of its talent over the last several years.
“It’s important that we allow all of our kids to participate in that economic growth,” Williams said.
“Not just the ones that we import into Dallas, Texas.”
The new Dallas County Promise program, a partnership with Dallas County Community College District, the University of North Texas Dallas and Southern Methodist University, offers hope to turn some of the negative statistics around, Williams said. The program offers tuition-free two-year or four-year degrees to all students from Dallas County who are willing to put in the work.
• 40% (24,298 students) of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in public Pre-K.
• 53% (13,188 students) of kindergarteners passed district assessments conducted within the first 60 days of the start of the school year.
• 40% (15,890 students) of 3rd grade students answered at least 76% of questions correct on STAAR.
• 86% (27,343 students) of 2012-13 9th grade cohort started and graduated high school within four years.
• 28% of 2011 high school graduates completed a two- or four-year degree within six years of high school graduation.
Dallas County at a glance
• 2,513,054 residents
• 676,745 residents under 18 years of age
• 28.3% of children (under 18) live in poverty
• 508,746 Pre-K students in Dallas County
• 72% of K-12 students in Dallas County qualify for free or reduced lunch.