In 2019, we look to 2030

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At Texas Aspires, we believe every child deserves every opportunity to reach their full potential: a high-quality education beginning in the early years, schools that meet students’ needs, well-supported and compensated teachers, and preparation for fulfilling careers.  These components are all directly impacted by statewide public policy that either limits or empowers educators and school leaders.

Unfortunately, Texas needs a sea change. By the year 2030, 60 percent of the state’s 25-34-year-olds will need to have some sort of postsecondary education to fill available jobs. Currently, only 22 percent of Texas eighth graders go on to obtain such education and training. Adding in newcomers to the Lone Star State, only 42.3 percent of today’s 25-34-year-olds have completed some form of postsecondary education.

The room for growth is enormous and we must act in the 86th Legislative Session to position Texas schools to realize our state’s potential. Making thoughtful policy decisions in 2019 will benefit our state as well as the individual students who call Texas home. If we get this right, we will be on a strong footing to provide millions of students with the vital skills they will need to thrive in tomorrow’s economy.

Our promise in the 86th? To keep our eyes on the prize: providing every student the education they deserve. Every Texas student deserves to:

Read by third grade

  • Expanding the number of high-quality pre-kindergarten seats will increase access, opportunity, and academic outcomes.
  • Kindergarten readiness should be a priority in early childhood education.
  • Districts should use strategic staffing programs to renew focus on grades K-2.

Have a high-quality teacher every year

  • Compensation structures should reward teachers’ effectiveness and incentivize strategic staffing.
  • Texas should increase data reporting on the distribution of effective teachers.
  • Increased diversity in the teaching workforce should be a state priority.

Choose a public school that fits their needs

  • Facilities funding for charter schools will decrease the financial disparities among public schools.
  • Partnerships between districts and charter schools or community partners create new and exciting opportunities for students.
  • Replication of proven turnaround and school improvement strategies improves school performance.
  • Expansion of P-TECH and early college high schools will provide new opportunities for students.

Graduate prepared for what’s next

  • Rigorous coursework prepares students to succeed in postsecondary studies without remediation.
  • Students should have access to CTE programs aligned with local and state industry needs.
  • Credits and credentials should be transferable between institutions, so they can be built upon.

If we get these pieces right, today’s students will have all the tools they need to be successful in tomorrow’s workplaces. Today’s three-year-olds will enter high schools equipped to prepare them for college or career. Today’s fifth-graders will have successfully complete college or career training. Today’s eight-graders will be adequately prepared to earn living wages in high-demand fields.

Over the next several weeks, our team will be releasing a series of “deep dives” into each of our priority policy areas. In addition, we will share our vision for how public policy can shift to create an environment full of opportunity for Texas students. Above and beyond our four major priorities for this legislative session, every decision we make will be laser-focused on two fundamental questions: are students getting what they deserve, and how will we know?

Putting students’ needs above all else has always been core to our mission and staying true to that commitment will ensure that Texas’ economy remains a global leader. We can make 2019 a banner year for Texas education, but it will take all of us demanding meaningful change from lawmakers.

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We believe every Texas child, regardless of race, ethnicity or zip code, deserves a quality education. You can help make that happen.