Are Texas’ ‘Miracle’ High School Grad Rates Just a Magic Trick?

The Texas graduation rate is at an all-time high of 88 percent, and state officials are happy to take credit for their good work. But some policy-watchers doubt the numbers tell the whole truth, saying there’s no way nine out of 10 high schoolers are graduating on time. George W. Bush campaigned for president on the “Texas Miracle” of very high graduation rates, which were later shown to rely on accounting tricks and unsustainable pressure. As the Dallas Morning News reported in August, some are worried we’re in the midst of another artificial bubble.

State of Texas graphic concerning high school dropout and graduation rates in Texas.

Patrick Michels, a former Observer staff writer, is a reporter at the Center for Investigative Reporting.

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