Houston, Have Your Say on education

I’ve had a lot to say about public education and related issues lately, from school finance to HISD and so forth. This coming Tuesday, Houston PBS station KUHT will have another episode of Houston Have Your Say to discuss the issue.

In the public school system of the Greater Houston region, the dropout rate is high, the graduation rate is low, and there are growing concerns about the quality of its teachers and the inequities in its funding structure. These are troubling issues for a metropolitan region seeking to distinguish itself as one of the best places to live and work in the 21st Century global community. HoustonPBS, in partnership with the Center for Houston’s Future, Houston Community Newspapers and KUHF Houston Public Radio, presents a rare opportunity for the public to have a voice in the discussion on the future of public education during the televised town hall forum Houston Have Your Say: Education Crisis.

Help shape the discussion. Do you have a question or comment about the state of education in the Houston region? Send an e-mail to [email protected]

As before, I’ll be there in the studio alongside Ree-C Murphy and Mike Reed of the Examiner newspapers to blog about it while it’s going on. Reed has a preview of the episode as well.

“Our public education system is at a crossroads of diversity, advances in technology and a global-based economy. We must act soon to make our public schools the example for others to follow in the future,” said [The Center for Houston’s Future] CEO and President, Catherine Mosbacher. “We hope to bring positive and measurable change in our region by keeping people engaged in this fundamental issue.”

One example of the topics to be explored: According to the Houston Area Survey, children of Latino immigrants, as well as U.S. born Latino and African American children in the Greater Houston region are attaining lower educational levels than their classmates, and yet the Latino population is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the population (Steve Klineberg, 2009). What can be done to address this achievement gap?

And via Mike Falick, here are some of the folks who will be in attendance to talk about it:

Some Confirmed Guests: Gayle Fallon, Houston Federation of Teachers, Former Education Secretary Rod Paige, Lori Vetters Greater Houston Partnership former Education Chair, Linda McNeil Rice University, Paula Harris, HISD Board, Mary Spangler HCC Chancellor, Tina Reyes University of Houston, State Reps. Rob Eissler and Scott Hochberg, Ann Stiles Project Grad, Michael Holthouse Prepared 4 Life, Carol Shattuck Collaborative for Children, Chris Barbic YES Prep., Richard Farias Tejano Center, Martha Salazar Zamora EdD HISD Asst. Superintendent, and many more.

It ought to be a lively and informative event. I’ve done several of these with Ree-C and Mike, and I’ve been impressed by the level of discourse each time. Tune in at 7 PM on Tuesday, April 20 to KUHT (Channel 8 on Comcast) and join in the discussion yourself.

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