AUSTIN, Texas, July 31 (UPI) -- Businesses throughout Texas should avoid hiring high school dropouts to help teens remain focused on education, the state's top education official says.
State Education Commissioner Robert Scott said if Texas businesses imposed an employment ban on high school dropouts, the dropout rate in Texas would likely decrease, The Dallas Morning News said Friday.
"It would send a powerful message to these kids to stay in school. It would be better for them, better for businesses and better for the state in the long run," Scott said.
The Texas Education Agency recently reported 88 percent of secondary school students in the class of 2008 graduated but civil rights groups and the Texas Association of Business dispute that figure, saying the dropout rate statewide likely exceeds 12 percent.
"Nobody believes the numbers the agency has calculated," association President Bill Hammond said.
Scott is reaching out to the business association to help in his effort to limit the number of high school dropouts statewide, the Morning News said.