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2021 Philanthropy Advocates Policy Recommendations

Philanthropy Advocates: Restart and Reimagine Public Education

December 18, 2020
Philanthropy Advocates empowers Texas’ philanthropic community to invest and engage in public and higher education policy and advocacy. We work to protect, promote, and improve public and higher education so that all Texas students can achieve their educational goals from cradle to career.
 
Back in 2018, Philanthropy Advocates constructed, convened and mobilized a “big tent” of advocates and allies in support of school finance reform leading up to and during the 86th Texas Legislature. The effort united philanthropy, the business community, public education advocates and other partners, driving home the message, grounded in data and research, that money matters in public education.
 
The landmark reforms (House Bill 3) that passed the Texas Legislature in 2019 demonstrated the power of Philanthropy Advocates’ members and the larger advocacy community to generate broad-based, bipartisan support for consequential, critical, historic reforms of our state’s public education system.
 
Now, as the Texas Legislature returns to Austin this month, it’s not an understatement to call the 87th Regular Session, the COVID Session. The ongoing global pandemic will drive the budget and policies debates across all aspects of state government next year.
 
There are very clear and immediate funding and policy needs facing our state’s public schools in light of COVID-19. The pandemic is also shining a brighter light and attention on the persistent inequity that plagues our K-12 and higher education systems, as well as our health care system and larger economy.
 
That’s why, ensuring the integrity and continuity of landmark reforms and public education funding realized in House Bill 3 (2019) is even more critical today. We must also prioritize our state’s investment in high-quality, high-speed broadband connectivity across the state, an issue with greater urgency in light of the ongoing pandemic.
 
Our data, research and advocacy efforts are driven by three core policy work groups, each focused on essential elements of our state’s public education system. These priorities are even more important in light of the challenges COVID-19 has placed on our education system, our students and our teachers.
 
Early Grade Success 
Texas philanthropy knows the value of high-quality early childhood education as evidenced by decades of philanthropic investment in ages zero to eight. Overwhelming research indicates full-day, high-quality pre-K paves the way for student success by improving school readiness and early grade achievement. A focus on early grade success is even more critical in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts are predicting a significant “academic slide,” in particular for young English Learner (EL) and low-income students. English Learners have always made up a significant portion of the Texas public school population. Texas schools educate the greatest proportion of English Learners in the U.S., including 28 percent of the state’s pre-k through 3rd grade enrollment.
 
Effective Teaching 
Texas must recruit and train diverse and high-achieving teacher candidates into quality educator preparation programs to meet the growing needs of our student population. Teachers are uniquely qualified to understand and re-envision how schools can best serve children. Through research on teacher preparation and with an additional focus on the impacts of COVID-19, our effective teaching legislative agenda focuses on professional needs generally with an emphasis on the short-term and long-term impact of COVID-19 on effective teaching.
 
Pathways to College and Career
In Texas, just over 20 percent of 8th graders go on to complete a post-secondary credential within six years of high school graduation, leaving the Texas workforce in demand for high-skilled labor. Creating opportunities for multiple pathways to marketable skills, degrees and industry-recognized credentials supports students, while bolstering our state’s economy, competitiveness and workforce needs. We should continue to examine and address obstacles for students transferring from community college to a four-year institution, as well as examine the impact of COVID-19 on this student population. 
 
We must confront the immediate challenges facing our state’s public education and higher education systems in the age of COVID-19 and recommit to our state’s public education system for the long haul. The same broad-based, bipartisan spirit that led to school finance and education reforms just two years ago should be embraced during this most challenging legislative session.
 
It’s time to restart and reimagine education, and Texas philanthropy is ready to stand with state leaders to help make it happen.

Read our 2021 Philanthropy Advocates Policy Recommendations.

Philanthropy Advocates was formerly known as the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC) until August 2020. Previously-created resources, documents and blog posts mentioning TEGAC are still provided on this website for your reference.

November 16, 2015

Is Playing It Cool Holding Back Philanthropy?

Exponent Philanthropy


We have all heard the warning: In philanthropy, following the heart will lead you astray.

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July 25, 2015

Society pays price for lack of early childhood education

San Antonio Express-News


Early childhood education is highly correlated to success later in life for the students.

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May 14, 2015

Council for a Strong America: Pre-K is impediment to crime

Austin American Statesman


Report shows children who participate in high-quality preschool are far more likely to gain the math, literacy and social skills that support long-term academic success, meaning they’ll be far less likely to become involved in crime.

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May 7, 2015

Why after school programs are so critical for Texas

Austin American Statesman


Andy Roddick explains why after school programs are critical to Texas.

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April 30, 2015

Texas Kids Need More After School Options, Andy Roddick and Molly Clayton

TribTalk


This afternoon, while the Texas Legislature is busy debating important public policy, our students will leave school for the day. But where will they go?

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April 18, 2015

Investing in pre-K good for economy

Austin Statesman


A research report from the business leader group ReadyNation says that investing in quality pre-K programs yields as much as $26,000 in net long-term economic benefits for every child served.

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March 17, 2015

The Conservative Business Case for Early Education

Council For A Strong America


In an op­-ed in Roll Call, KPMG’s Randy Laszewski makes the business case for early childhood education and preschool.

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March 15, 2015

Good data will ensure quality pre-K

Houston Chronicle


All Texans should applaud the surging interest in pre-kindergarten in Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott followed through on his campaign promises and declared early childhood education an emergency priority.

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March 9, 2015

The Source: Overwhelmed And Outnumbered, School Counselors In Texas

Texas Public Radio


The State of Texas lacks public school counselors. According to a study by the Ray Marshall Center for the study of Human Resources, they were the first positions eliminated after the deep public school funding cuts of 2011.

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March 1, 2015

Let schools, not the Travel industry, set start dates

TribTalk


The Texas Legislature will delve into education this session, and there’s a lot of ground to cover. Issues like school finance, investment in pre-kindergarten and high school counseling are already grabbing headlines.

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October 15, 2014

Despite Financial Challenges, Pre-K Programs Expand in Texas

The Texas Tribune


Pre-K education opportunities have expanded nationwide in recent years, with Texas being no exception.

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September 29, 2014

Study Due Tomorrow Says It’s Time Lawmakers Restore Full-Day Pre-K Funding

KERA


Early education is a hot topic these days and it’s about to get hotter.

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