Adult Basic Education in Texas: An Appeal

One fact that connects Texas with other states of the “solid South” is a relatively low rate of educational attainment. According to 2007 figures from the Census Bureau, Texas barely qualifies for a rate of 78 percent High School equivalence.

High School Equivalence
(Source: Cenus Bureau M150. Compare to Obama/McCain electoral map.)

The Texas Workforce Commission’s request for appropriations includes an appeal to support funding of Adult Basic Education (ABE) through the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Says the TWC:

More than one-fourth of the adults who are out of school in Texas have no high school diploma or equivalent; indeed, more than one-ninth of adults who are out of school–1.6 million Texans–completed less than nine years of school. We support ABE as a pathway to employment and as a critical component of the state’s workforce development strategy.

It is our understanding that the Texas Education Agency is submitting an Exceptional Item to significantly expand ABE in Texas, and while we do not know the details of the request, we strongly support enhancing ABE to meet the critical needs in Texas. Existing ABE literacy activities would benefit from complementary skills training services with industry relevance. (Source: TWC Appropriations Request 2010-2011 [pdf format].

Texas doesn’t do as poorly when it comes to college education rates. Another map by the Census Bureau shows that nearly 25 percent of Texas adults have completed a Bachelor’s degree or higher. It’s not the worst showing Still, in order to find higher rates of college completion you have to go North or to California (Source: Census Bureau M1502).

The highest percentage of college education (45.4 percent) resides in Washington, D.C. — gm

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