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Thursday, January 18, 2018

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What is the role of education in Texas?
Jacqueline Beretta

November, 2007

Everyone says our  students aren’t prepared here in Texas …for life or for work. Governors, legislators, business people, educators, and parents say that our children aren’t being educated properly here in Texas. Everyone points fingers, but no one seems to want to take any responsibility.

A couple of months ago I sat next to a man on the plane who flew to San Antonio thanks to a large corporation who was going to interview him for a position that would involve moving his entire family to SA from San Diego. Why so far? While he ws so honored to be considered for this position, i wondered why we had to go all the way to San Diego for employees for this great new company in San Antonio.

Poking around and asking lots of questions, I found out that the corporation reportedly had to interview 100 - 200 people to fill each position here in this city - and they still had a hard time finding eligible employees. So, they were importing them, from everywhere. They also designed a program at a local college to train future employees for them.

This company made a huge investment in our city and they had to figure out how to do business here.  I am sure they were shocked - but they figured it out by makiing a commitment to educate their future employees.

What does that say to future potential corporations that might opt to move to San Antonio?  And further.....

....... Who owns the challenge of keeping our children in school so that they can graduate and take their place in the community as a contributing member of society? And that means have a job, pay taxes, be a member of a successful community.

Yes - it's all about education, and every single one of us in every community is responsible for encouraging and loving our children enough to keep them in school.

So what is the role of education?  According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), “Education should be a means to empower children and adults alike to become active participants in the transformation of their societies. Learning should also focus on the values, attitudes and behaviors which enable individuals to learn to live together in a world characterized by diversity and pluralism.”  

Wouldn’t it be great to be privy to the finest ideas about how children learn, how effective school professionals can be trained, how schools and classrooms can be engineered to support learning, how social services can be integrated with academic instruction, how students of different cultures can enhance one another, and how motivation and sufficient resources can best support effective practice. I think we must know the answers to these thoughts…after all alot of studies have been published - we must know what works and what doesn’t - we just have to find the leaders who can efficiently apply good ideas and get the community to work together as a whole to support the changes.

Across Texas, there are public schools that are working because of their communities’ commitments to making public schools the best they can be. But the fact is, we want all students to receive a quality public education no matter where they live across the state.

“We were the first state that started holding schools accountable for the performance of African-American, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students,” said Dr. Mike Moses, former state education commissioner, and Superintendent of the 12th largest district in the U.S., the Dallas Independent School District from January 2000 to 2006.. “It’s a really powerful driver in Texas, and it’s done a lot to affect teacher and administrator behavior.”  By creating a comfortable atmosphere where change could be facilitated, past difficulties healed, positive steps were made toward creating community ownership in our public schools. 

The community has to buy into this entire lifestyle. Parents, grandparents, teachers, business, government representatives, leaders.....we all have to buy into the process.

We need more good local leaders and individuals to have a hand in making a difference in the public schools in their neighborhoods.  Public engagement community by community can make the difference in local public schools. We need to put our personal time and energy into setting the stage for the best possible future for our children. It’s the perfect moment in time to put our effort into change and virally start a movement of people to get something done. 

Less talk – more action at home.


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