Central Texas Community Ambassador Casie Wenmohs hosted Raise Your Hand Texas’ latest Leadership in Education event, a breakfast discussion focusing on how Central Texans can effectively advocate for the improvement of Texas public schools. Attendees included Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), legislative staffers, business officials, local school administrators and community leaders.
Principal Daniel Garcia of Connally High School, a Raise Your Hand Texas Leadership Program alumnus, kicked off the event by sharing personal experiences from his public education background. He also stressed the importance of principal leadership and teacher quality on student achievement.
Susan Dawson, President and Executive Director of Central Texas regional education collaborative, the E3 Alliance, followed with insightful statistics on the current state of public education in Central Texas. Key takeaways:
- Central Texas districts have seen dramatic growth in economically disadvantaged students;
- One out of three central Texas students are born to mothers who did not receive their high school diploma–which correlates strongly to the child’s educational attainment;
- While TAKS passing rates in Central Texas rose, little progress has been made in closing the achievement gap; and
- Only one in ten economically disadvantaged students graduating from high school is completing college within six years of graduation.
To see Susan’s PowerPoint presentation, click here.
Susan also served as moderator for our distinguished education panel, which included Raise Your Hand Texas CEO Dr. David Anthony, Leander ISD Superintendent Dr. Bret Champion, and Theresa Trevino, a Founding Member of Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment (TAMSA).
The panel covered numerous topics, including the impact of decisions made in the 83rd Texas Legislature, standardized testing, school finance and student engagement; however, the primary focus of the discussion was on community involvement.
The panel encouraged parents to take initiative in their child’s education. Whether that means contacting a local legislator, speaking with teachers and principals or participating in PTA events – the message was “make your voice be heard!” Speakers also cited the successful grassroots efforts to moderate standardized testing and shift the focus to relevant and rigorous graduation requirements, which manifested in the form of the incredibly impactful House Bill 5. If the passion is there, local communities can make a difference in shaping education laws.
Be sure to check out some of the live tweets and photos from the breakfast. Thank you to all of our speakers and attendees. Raise Your Hand Texas will host our final Leadership Luncheon in Pasadena, Texas, on October 30th. To receive more information about the event, please e-mail us. We hope to see you there!