Last week, I noted that Mayoral candidates Peter Brown and Gene Locke expressed very different opinions at a candidate forum about the Mayor's role in public education, with Brown advocating an urban school district with Mayoral appointees for its board, and Locke disagreeing with that approach. Both campaigns followed up with post-event press releases touting their positions. I've now received a similar statement from Annise Parker, which I present beneath the fold. I really need to spend some more time thinking about this, which I hope to do shortly after sine die, when I'm not devoting 80+% of my bloggy brain resources to the Lege. For now, here's Parker's statement on education.
The Mayor of the City of Houston has to get involved with the education system. There are actually 23 school districts in and around Houston, but, generally, we are only referring to HISD when we talk about school reform (system).Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 22, 2009 to Election 2009
I have school age kids. I am very concerned about what happens to all children, not only in the classroom but between the hours of 3:30 when they get out of school and 5 or 5:30 when their parents get home.
Having the Mayor step in and run any of the school districts in the area would be a drastic measure that ultimately would not garner the level of leadership needed to fully educate our children. Instead, we must have effective after school programs in every elementary and middle school in the City of Houston. The City has a piece of that; the County has a piece of that; many of our non-profit organizations have a piece of that.
We need to collaborate and assist in after school programs, internships, and apprenticeship programs for kids coming out of our schools. We must listen to the community, collaborate on ideas and implement real solutions that will assist the districts in meeting their accountability goals.
Each resident has a part as well. There have been a series of public meetings going on in our neighborhoods. If you are in HISD, I urge you to attend those meetings and make your voice heard as to what the skill set should be for the new Superintendent.
As your Mayor I will appoint a Chief Education Officer, a cabinet level position to advise and meet regularly with all of the school Superintendents in the area, and advise me on issues as they arise.
In addition, the current Mayor and the next Mayor need to be intimately involved in working with the selection of the new Superintendent of HISD. It is too critical to our future not to have the elected leadership of the City of Houston engaged in education.