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From the Dallas Business Journal:Chamber 'Blueprint' also includes education goalPremium content from Dallas Business Journal - by Candace Carlisle, Staff writer
Date: Friday, February 11, 2011, 5:00am CSTRelated
A handful of Dallas Regional Chamber
members will start a four-city study next week in Indianapolis. It’s a trip that could direct a “blueprint” for upping the Dallas ISD’s high school graduation rate from 67 percent to 80 percent by 2015.
The four-city tour is part of the chamber’s overall goal to drive economic development, said Patti Clapp
, the chamber’s vice president of
“Education is key to economic development,” Clapp said. “If we don’t have the workforce to meet our current business needs, we won’t be able to meet the needs of future businesses.”
Chamber members also will visit Denver, Los Angeles and Houston in March. The chamber will devote 25 percent of its resources to the education initiative, she said. It recently hired Richardson school board member Lanet Greenhaw
as the director of education.
Dallas Independent School District’s graduation rate is 67.6 percent. It has steadily increased in the past three years, officials said.
Some critics say the graduation rate isn’t growing fast enough.
Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa
says the chamber and Dallas community have been collaborating with the school district to increase the graduation rate, but some of those efforts need to be refined.
The chamber’s goal of helping to reach an 80 percent graduation rate is ambitious, but is something to which Dallas ISD aspires, he said. However, the estimated $160 million to $250 million impending budget shortfall for Dallas ISD could add new hurldes, he said.
“There’s an interesting dilemma we’ll face in the next few months,” Hinojosa said. “The expectations are increasing and the resources are
diminishing. We have to face the reality in the next decade. Education as we know it could completely change.”
Along with increasing Dallas ISD’s high school graduation rates, the chamber has a goal of increasing the percentage of Dallas-area residents who hold advanced degrees.
The four-city study will help develop the plans to reach those goals, Clapp said.