The mission of Project GRAD Houston is to support a quality public education for all children in economically disadvantaged communities so that high school and college graduation rates increase.
Project GRAD Houston
3000 Richmond, Suite 400
Houston, Texas 77098
Ann B. Stiles, Ed. D.
Our nationâ€™s failure to educate adequately students born into low-income communities has produced a sizeable achievement gap and potential gap in workforce capacity for our nationâ€™s economy. Despite this reality, college access and graduation for Americaâ€™s youth, particularly low-income students, remain startlingly low.
According to The Bridgespan Group (2006), â€śOnly 60% of Americaâ€™s low-income youth (defined as students eligible for free or reduced cost meals) can expect to graduate from high school. One in three can expect to enroll in college. Only one in seven will earn a bachelorâ€™s degree.â€ť
Project GRAD serves students from communities that have poverty rates three times the national average and whose households are facing unemployment and/or incomes below the national average and lack health insurance.
Demographic data shows that the individuals responsible for the vitality and competitiveness of our future economy are now more likely than ever before to be Hispanic and African American. The Texas 18-24 population is becoming more diverse with projections estimating that Hispanics will make up 51% of the population by 2020 according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (2007).
Almost all the jobs that pay enough to support a family now require higher levels of literacy, language fluency, and technical training. Yet there is a growing unskilled, under-educated population that cannot meet the demands of a technology-based workplace. Additionally, the average household income in Texas is projected to decline by $5,000 in constant dollars by 2040. This figure translates to a total annual income drop of $63.5 billion.
To a greater extent than ever before, there is a direct relationship between an individualâ€™s educational success and their future social and economic opportunities.
While the problem is daunting, we see evidence every day that when students in low-income communities are given the educational opportunities they deserve, they excel. It is the clear potential of all students that makes the disparities in educational outcomes that fuels our sense of urgency and responsibility to do everything we can to ensure equal educational opportunity.
Project GRAD Houston believes that these are challenges we must embrace and attack as a community and as a nation to ensure educational opportunities and college access for all.