Texas Education Chief: "Stop Hiring Dropouts." - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Texas Education Chief: "Stop Hiring Dropouts."

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No diploma, no job... The Texas Education Commissioner wants all business to stop hiring high school dropouts.

Just to give you an idea about how many high school drop outs are in our area... In Amarillo, 240 kids dropped out in 2008. Down the street in Canyon, four of them dropped out.

43,000 Texas teens dropped out of high school in 2008, and you're paying for it. It's estimated that dropouts cost Texans $377 million every year in lost benefits to society.

Education Commissioner Robert Scott is hoping that if businesses band together and pledge not to hire dropouts, that cost will come down. His thinking is that if dropouts can't find a job, they'll be forced to go back to school and get their diplomas.

The Texas Association of Businesses, however, says they're encouraging businesses not to follow the requested ban. TAB President Bill Hammon says, "It's misguided and unfortunate.

Our call to employers is to hire these young folks where appropriate and then encourage them to continue and complete their education at the same time."

The TAB claims enforcing a hiring ban will not drive drop-outs back into the classroom. "If someone is not able to complete their high school diploma, it's most likely that they will be a dreg on society for the rest of their lives and not contribute to the net economy in the State of Texas."

Canyon ISD is taking steps to make sure their students will be able to contribute. Christy Bertolino says, "We are providing every tool and every avenue for a child to graduate.

That is our main goal and we just want to make sure they are productive members of society when they finish." An alternative school aimed at helping kids graduate is opening in Canyon this fall.