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December 8, 2014

Dear SAISD Staff,

Last week, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held a news conference at Margil Elementary School to release the findings of a paper that details the impact of education on economic development in Texas. The paper was produced in collaboration with the Intercultural Development Research Association and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Those involved with the study shared with elected officials, city leaders, educators and the business community demographic information that highlighted the growing Latino population in Texas.

They outlined four areas of focus to improve the academic preparation of Latino students, promote workforce readiness and further the growth of the Texas economy:

  1. Hold high expectations for every student from day one and rigorously back them up at every opportunity.
  2. Assure that all children are proficient in reading by the end of the third grade.
  3. Assure that all high school graduates are college-ready.
  4. Increase college affordability and access.

We realize as educators that these four areas are nothing new. However, it further validates what school districts have been saying for many years. The paper provides an obvious awareness that, as public educators, we must continue to work closely with our business community, along with institutions of higher learning, and must not work in isolation or silos.

This study also is timely as the 84th legislative session begins in January and runs through June 2015. We are hopeful that the rhetoric and promises made will translate into a serious conversation about universal pre-kindergarten. Additionally, the state should:

  • Ensure additional funding for the growth in school-age children
  • Fully restore the original budget cuts made in 2011 and adjust for inflation
  • Increase state per-pupil funding by at least $1,000
  • Address the long-neglected cost of education index
  • Continue the focus on House Bill 5, which emphasizes career and technical education, certifications and licensures

It is common knowledge that Texas is experiencing an economic windfall. Now is the time to invest in the future of our children.

We applaud Ramiro Cavazos, the Hispanic Chamber’s president and CEO, and all of these entities, for this paper.

Sincerely,
Dr. Sylvester Perez
Superintendent

 

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