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State representative pushing to help Texas school dropouts

Good Morning El Paso: State rep...

State Rep. Cesar Blanco, from El Paso, is pushing to require school districts to do more for middle and high school dropouts.

Last week, Blanco's amendment passed in the House of Representatives as part of House Bill 22, a school accountability bill.

HB 22 is now headed to the Senate, where Blanco is hopeful it will pass because it is a bipartisan bill.

The dropout recovery amendment would require school districts to submit dropout recovery and action plans. Blanco said too many students are falling through the cracks because under the current law districts are only required to submit prevention plans.    

During the 2014-2015 school year, the Texas Education Agency reported that 33,437 students in the state dropped out.

In El Paso, 1,683 students dropped out in the same school year.

"I don't think that we should be giving up on the kids that already dropped out," Blanco said.

If passed, the amendment will also help with some funding for the dropout recovery programs, which Blanco said is a statewide problem.

The amendment could make a bigger impact in counties like El Paso because of the number of Latino students. Blanco said 13.5 percent of Hispanic students will drop out of school in Texas.

Blanco said he believes Hispanic kids are the future of Texas and its economy.

"I think that this amendment is going to help those Texas kids and overall help produce a more educated work force, but first and foremost, we need to recapture these kids," Blanco said.

If the Senate passed the bill, it would go into effect this fall.


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