Erin Davis Valdez is a policy analyst for Next Generation Texas, an initiative of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The relationship between a high school education and involvement in the criminal justice system is well-established. HB 572 specifically encompasses student populations, such as dropouts, that are likely to interact with the criminal justice system. According to recent data provided to TPPF by TDCJ, about 40% of those entering the criminal justice system had a verified high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate. This is in contrast with about 83% of all Texans over the age of 25 who have diplomas or HSEs.

The intent of this bill is very simple: provide a pilot program that gives at-risk students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma through a framework that supports them in their unique circumstances, while maintaining a rigorous framework of learning.

Testimony Before the Texas Senate Education Committee