For Public Comments to the Commission, please click here
1 And you saw his numbers, we're not up in the top leaders
2 in the country right now.
3 So what we were faced with was a number that
4 was going to translate into something about 30 or 40
5 billion of dollars in lost income in the state of Texas
6 by 2030 if we don't do anything to change how things are
8 How does this change educationally? I stole
9 this line from Steve. You probably couldn't do the
10 presentation, but the data is on there because it
11 quantifies what the result of the trend is that we're
12 facing. We're going to have a less educated population
13 and we're going to have a whole lot more people as a
14 percentage of the population that don't even have high
15 school diplomas.
16 So it was very natural when we were looking
17 at the gaps, what kind of gaps were we looking at.
18 Well, we were not looking at just within the
19 state of Texas because we have big gaps among population
20 groups and among regions of the state, but also how did
21 Texas compare with the rest of the country and with
22 other states with whom we want to be compared.
23 Well, first of all, I would like to talk to
24 you a little bit about some good news. You know, this
25 is a bad news kind of presentation, but there is good
1 news. We have more than a million students enrolled in
2 higher education in the state of Texas for the first
3 time ever and in fact had the largest single enrollment
4 increase last fall when we got somewhere around 50,000
5 more students and we've also seen over the last ten
6 years enrollment increases in our largest two minority
7 groups. Anglos -- excuse me, African-Americans have
8 increased by 16 percent and Hispanic have grown about 33
10 In real numbers we got a whole lot more
11 Hispanics and African-Americans participating in the
12 higher education than we've ever had in our entire past.
13 But that good news is tempered by some really
14 troubling trends. As Steve described, the population of
15 our two what are now minority groups, the largest
16 minority groups, is growing quite a bit more rapidly
17 than the Anglo population is in the state. And so what
18 we're finding is that national participation, even
19 though the raw numbers of growing, the percent of this
20 group that is actually participating is growing at a
21 much slower rate.
22 We're going in the right direction for
23 Hispanics, but one percent increase in ten years is not
24 very good. And the decline in Anglos we think is just
25 going to continue simply because the way the
1 demographics play out. And unless something changes at
2 the trend line, you didn't have that slide where he says
3 at the rate we're going to get African-Americans and
4 Hispanic at parity with Anglos in the state would be
6 Is it still 2070? 2070.
7 So something has got to change. And because
8 of the growth what we're finding is that the groups that
9 historically have not participated in higher education,
10 which include the African-American and Hispanic
11 population, because they are growing in a much greater
12 rate the overall participation rate in Texas is going to
13 decline. Even if we have a whole lot more students
14 enrolled, the actual numbers, unless something changes,
15 the participation rate will actually decline.
16 And so when we look at other states, when we
17 compare Texas to other states, what we find is that we
18 lose an awful lot of students in the ninth grade. We
19 have an awful lot of students who just don't make it
20 through high school and then don't go to college four
21 years later. And we're behind a lot of states that we
22 would kind of like to compare ourselves favorably to.
23 And we also don't compare very favorably when you look
24 at the percent of total population that's participating.
25 Look at California at 6.1 percent and they
1 would probably argue that they're not -- they don't have
2 as much participation rate as they need. But the
3 problem is moving those numbers from 4.9 to 6 percent is
4 200 or 300,000 students, I think.
5 So what does that mean? Well, it means that
6 this is just going to get worse. Right now, as Steve
7 told you -- this is the same sort of slide -- we lag far
8 behind the ten most populous states and the country as a
9 whole in terms of household income. And I think we can
10 all understand your income is linked to the educational
11 level that you attain for the most part.
12 So to get back to what was in essence the
13 clarion call to our board with the numbers that said,
14 oh, my gosh, if we keep going the way we're going, we're
15 going to live in a state that nobody wants to live in,
16 and nobody wants this outcome to occur, so what really
17 must we do?
18 Well, we have a plan and what we say is we
19 really have to -- we really have to close the gaps in
20 participation, in success, in excellence and research.
21 Now, in the blue folders that have been put
22 at your places there is a little card and one of the
23 things that was very different about this plan was the
24 plan fits on a card and in essence what it says is here
25 are the goals that we want to reach and we want those
1 goals to be so compelling and so easy to understand even
2 though they may be complex to achieve that anyone can
3 embrace them and anyone can say yes, I think these are
4 the most critical goals in higher education to achieve
5 in the next 15 years because we believe they're going to
6 make the most difference and contribute the most to the
7 future success of Texas.
8 They're all crouched -- three of the goals
9 are crouched in terms of 50 percent increases, and we
10 figured that was something that people could get their
11 arms around and then we developed strategies in the plan
12 to help us accomplish those.
13 I've also included a copy of the plan itself.
14 A little light reading if you want to do so at some
15 point. But the balance of my presentation is going to
16 concentrate on those first two goals, participation and
17 success, because that's really what you folks are about,
18 and then I will dwell on what we believe is one of the
19 key strategies, which is the statewide awareness and
20 motivational campaign for higher education.
21 And what is really one of the most novel
22 aspects of this plan is that for us to achieve it for
23 higher education we have got to close the gaps for
24 public education. We can't do it alone and we cannot do
25 it without lending a hand down to our public education
1 system and turning this into a pre K through 16 effort.
2 It's not enough for higher education to sit
3 in its ivory tower and wait for those students to come
4 knocking on their doors. We have to go down and we have
5 to do something to change the outcome affirmatively.
6 So the two goals for participation and
7 success seem pretty straightforward, but there's some
8 really hidden difficulties.
9 When we talk about closing the gaps in
10 enrollment stats across the state to increase 500,000
11 more students, what we're really talking about is the
12 fact if we do nothing, we expect 200,000 students to
13 come anyway. That's what our rolls have been showing
14 for the last couple years.
15 If we don't change those trends, they will
16 not be there, and they're the ones who decided for
17 whatever reason that they're not going to be in higher
19 Now, maybe they're going to graduate from
20 high school and choose not to go. Maybe they're never
21 going to graduate from high school. Maybe they're
22 enrolled and dropped out, just haven't finished. Maybe
23 they're an older individual who says I really need more
24 education to get a job that I want. That 300,000 can be
25 working all sorts of different places, but we think a
1 lot of them are in that big pipeline that are starting
2 now in kindergarten and first grade and second grade and
3 somewhere along the line they decide either because it's
4 a choice they make or because someone tells them that
5 they shouldn't even consider going to college. So they
6 make some decisions along the way to not be ready to go
7 to college.
8 The success goal, which is to increase by 50
9 percent, translates into about 163,000 more degrees,
10 certificates from the whole range of opportunities out
11 there for success and college, and there are several
13 What was very interesting about this entire
14 process was that the board comes out with this plan and
15 they start selling the plan, if you will. They go and
16 talks to boards of regents. They talk to legislators.
17 What we have found is we're in the process of
18 changing the whole discussion in the state of Texas
19 about what needs to be done, and so the legislature
20 embraced Closing the Gaps and it was really sort of a
21 phenomenon to hear on the floor of the senate or the
22 floor of the house how this measure or that measure was
23 going to close the gaps in higher education.
24 Now we're working on having them actually
25 focus on the measures that really will close the gaps,
1 instead of using the rhetoric. So the legislative
2 actually offered us some support that I think that was
3 probably beyond our wildest dreams. They have said to
4 public education in this state that the college
5 preparatory curriculum beginning with the freshman class
6 of 2004 must be the default curriculum.
7 The students on that -- enrolled in that
8 college prep curriculum, unless the student and their
9 parents or guardians and the school counselor say, you
10 know, it's just not appropriate for them or there are
11 really compelling reasons why this student shouldn't be
12 enrolled in it, for the first time it's not going to be
13 a situation where a student has to sort of learn about
14 it and then take steps to enroll. They're just going to
15 start out enrolled.
16 And what was amazing to us, we keep waiting
17 for someone to say not going to work, just can't work,
18 and what was really remarkable is that that just didn't
20 Are there obstacles? You bet. We don't have
21 enough certified teachers in the state of Texas to teach
22 physics and chemistry and, you know, languages and all
23 the sorts of things that are required under the college
24 prep curriculum. We have to change that. We have to
25 help them get the instructors that they need to carry
1 this out. But no one said let's don't do it.
2 The chair of our house committee (inaudible,)
3 her point was, you know, we have an awful lot of
4 Hispanic students that right now get tracked away from
5 the college prep curriculum by people saying college
6 isn't for you. What this is going to say is college can
7 be for anybody who wants it to be and who wants to go.
8 For her it was an extremely compelling argument to say
9 it was very, very important.
10 Hand and hand in this is the Texas grant
11 program which requires you to have that college prep
12 curriculum and the state says we'll pay for your
13 tuition. They gave us 330 million, 288 million in which
14 we're going to spend on this.
15 What we hope is it's going to be up to half a
16 billion dollars by the time we get these students coming
17 out of high school, all of which have this college prep
18 curriculum, and we're going to say don't let the fact
19 that you think you can't afford it stop you from
20 thinking about going to college because we'll find a way
21 to get you to pay for that college. We're not going to
22 let you decide that financial need is the reason why you
23 don't go.
24 And then another idea that came out of our
25 senate education committee chairman's staff's brain, if
1 you will, was that why don't we have school district
2 partner with colleges and universities? If we have
3 school districts that traditionally have not sent many
4 children on to college, why don't we look at the ones at
5 the bottom ten percent of the state and direct them to
6 partner with their local college and university and come
7 up with a plan for how you can change that, how you can
8 work together to ensure that the students know and can
9 make decisions to go to college.
10 The strategies under the success goal deal
11 more with critical fields and how do we make sure we
12 have enough teachers and nurses and the like, but it's
13 just truly been amazing at the level at which the
14 policymakers in the state of Texas have embraced the
15 notion that we should close the gaps in Texas.
16 You know, I really think what Steve did was
17 scare the daylights out of them and we got very lucky
18 that when the Hobnell decision came down, which in
19 essence took affirmative action away under the
20 leadership of Governor Bush and the legislative, we
21 didn't allow it to become an excuse to exclude students.
22 Everyone said: You know what? We have to
23 find a way to educate. We got bad news coming down the
24 track, and if we don't change it, if we don't find a way
25 to make that future right for everyone in the state of
1 Texas, then we're going to be in a state that nobody
2 wants to live in including those people. So let's just
3 all work together.
4 And so it's been very gratifying to see, see
5 people like Steve and me and our commissioner and our
6 board chairman which have become evangelists for the
7 notion that we have got to change the future, that we
8 cannot allow what has been the past to dictate what
9 becomes the future.
10 So another key strategy -- and this is what I
11 will spend the balance of my time talking about.
12 Another key strategy that the legislative embraced was
13 the notion that: You know what? We have to make sure
14 that kids and their parents know about higher ed, they
15 know the benefits of higher ed, they know they can
16 afford to go to higher Ed and they should make choices
17 along the way to ensure that they can succeed in higher
19 No one has ever tried this before. I have
20 not been able to find anybody around the country that's
21 tried on a state level to change students' behaviors
22 over the entire course of their lifetime, to encourage
23 them to make wise choices as they go so when they
24 graduate from high school and they -- to encourage them
25 to graduate from high school, which is a hidden benefit,
1 but to also make sure when they graduate, they have a
2 range of choices.
3 If they want to go in the work force, hey,
4 that's fine. That businessman is going to appreciate
5 that better educated person who comes in their door. If
6 they decide they want to go to college right out of high
7 school, they're prepared to go. And if they decide to
8 go back to college after they get to be 26 or 27 because
9 they've decided they need that, then they're also ready
10 to go as well.
11 But you know what? When we talk about that
12 500,000 -- and that's really how we're looking at this
13 campaign -- it gets back to what I said before. If
14 current trends come true, we're going to have those
15 200,000 without even blinking an eye. It's those
16 300,000 that our numbers say are not going to be there.
17 We've taken to call them the missing 300,000.
18 Obviously they're not missing yet because we haven't
19 gotten to 2015, but we think they're going to be
20 missing, and the chart on the left-hand side of the
21 screen is what is very important to remember.
22 What we're having to do in this state is
23 change the rate at which students go to college. And
24 right now we're saying only 3.7 percent of Hispanics go
25 on to college and we're going to lift that up to 5.7.
Back | Transcripts Home | Continue