Friday, August 10, 2012

Don't Give up on the Future of Texas

The education system in Texas is in as much of a crisis as the state budget. The state’s priorities are all mixed up, and mistakes made today will effect generations of Texans. The disconcerting fact that we ranked second to last for having a population of 25 and older with a high school diploma should be a huge wake up call for all Texans. It is imperative that we completely revamp our thought processes on how we operate the education system in Texas. Our population is growing steadily, and we have the second youngest population in the nation to educate.

Education is like building a house and you need to start with a strong foundation. Parents should take their role as their child’s first educator seriously, but that is not the case for all. Programs like pre-k are suppose to pick up that slack, but funding is being slashed. We are forced to hold ourselves to a higher standard since integrating global markets are forcing the U.S. to compete on a global stage. In order to be competitive in this country and the world, we must support job growth and advances in technology. Texas leads the nation in low wage jobs, and that is not supporting the advancement of this state.

A one size fits all solution rarely works for anyone and especially in education. Higher education isn’t for everyone, but that is not the only way to earn a family sustainable wage. In the E.U. they integrate vocational education starting in middle school along with the regular curriculum. This helps students figure out their interests before they finish high school and gets them into the work force faster. For students who want to become doctors or in other high level professions, our education system should offer more specialty schools to prepare students more thoroughly.

I understand with our tight state budget those ideas I have listed could only be long term goals. An attainable solution that could increase our state revenue is to have a more skilled population. In the past there were apprenticeships and more on the job training opportunities which resulted in a economic growth. We need to get back to our roots and take care of our people. Educating our population and providing family sustainable wages reduces our burden for Health and Human Service costs and increases the revenue for the state. The building blocks for economic growth and the future of Texas lies in how we educate the people.

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