Bailey: Ninth Grade Initiative

Rep. Kevin Bailey reported today that efforts by Texas lawmakers’ to improve Texas’ public schools are producing positive results for Texas children, and reiterated his commitment to continue improving the quality of public schools.

A recent study by the Texas Center for Educational Research on the Texas Ninth Grade Success Initiative shows that 63% of the at-risk students targeted by the program successfully passed the ninth grade. Rep. Kevin Bailey explained that it is critical to support students in their first year of high school because more students repeat the ninth grade and more students drop out during during ninth grade than at any other time.

State Legislators developed the Ninth Grade Initiative in 1999 to increase academic performance and attendance rates and reduce the dropout rates. The initiative provides educators with the resources necessary to help struggling students achieve, said Rep. Kevin Bailey.

Students and teachers in more than 245 public school districts benefited from Ninth Grade Success Initiative grants. The grants enabled schools to provide at-risk students with increased individual attention and academic assistance through activities including tutoring and mentoring. School districts also utilized the grants to make improvements inside the classroom through the integration of technology and professional development for teachers.

Rep. Bailey said that too many young Texans are giving up on their dreams and futures by leaving school. He said that despite the largest decline in high school dropouts since 1994, Texas still ranks 3rd in the nation in dropouts because more than 23,000 students left high school in the 1999-2000 school year.

He went on to say that he supports building on programs that work, like the Ninth Grade Success Initiative, which keeps students in school and helps them prepare for the future.

A key component to the success of these students is more one-on-one time with educators, explained Rep. Bailey. He said that he will continue to fight for smaller class size and reducing the amount of time teachers spend on paperwork to increase individual student attention and prevent dropouts.