Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium

1010637_10200635128134008_461836491_n(Community Matters) Nearly 3 years ago, Janet Harman and Jennifer Esterline as the KDK-Harman Foundation (& quickly joined by Jason Sabo of Frontera Strategies) had the idea of organizing private family foundations to advocate for public education funding and policy. This has been realized as the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium. During the prior & last Texas legislation sessions, we’ve represented the largest consortium of private foundations advocating at the Capitol. We have made a difference and do take some credit for the restoration of public education funding and the promotion of favorable legislation.

At this morning’s Follow-Up Friday (just some of my short notes):

  • Speakers: Jennifer Esterline, Jason Sabo, Rep. Mark Strama, Dr Uri Treisman (UT Dana Center), Dr. Patricia Lopez (UT, Tx Center for Education Policy), Allen Weeks (Save Texas Schools), Larkin Tackett (IDEA Public Schools), Morgan Smith (Texas Tribune)
  • HB-5 morphed into an acceptable bill, though lifting of requirements for testing in 11th and 12th grade could signal end of accountable teaching in those grades at less mission-driven schools
  • NPEA study showing Texas educational achievement – African Americans’ 4th highest in country; Hispanics 6th highest; Anglos 8th – overall, Texas 30th. It’s in the demographics
  • The disagregation of accountability in performance reporting during the 90s has led to our dissatisfaction w/ performance – gives us important insight
  • Tx SAT scores have remained flat despite change in demographics in test takers – suggesting we’re doing better
  • HB 742 not funded but important – summer programs that extend the classroom, engage & reward the best teachers and apprentice new teachers
  • Children at Risks study of impact of 2011 cuts on 400 ISDs and 65% of all Texas student population (which launched and seed funded thru KDK) had a substantial impact on the dialogue this session – fact & research based
  • Education governance is increasingly removed from local communities
  • Lack of citizenship training in schools
  • Corporatazation of reform makes it all about money
  • “how do we ensure children are prepared to live in the worlds they inhabit” .  . . vocational, community, virtual
  • Opportunity & threat: redefinition of high school and college readiness
  • Military is increasingly a family business – more than 50% of military personnel are from military families. History suggest a military so segregated from civilians is not a good thing.

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