FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Margaret Justus
STATEWIDE LEADERS POSE THE QUESTION:
Is Texas on the Path to Prosperity or Peril?
(SAN ANTONIO, TX) The Texas Lyceum, the premier statewide leadership group focused on public policy issues facing Texas and the U.S., will hold their second quarterly conference of 2012 in San Antonio April 27th to examine the ever-increasing problem of our state’s lack of home-grown, college-educated talent.
“This workforce challenge leads to billions of dollars in revenue loss every year and while Texas remains business friendly, companies looking to expand or relocate could pass us over in search of a greater pool of educated workers,” said Texas Lyceum Director and conference co-chair Wynn Rosser, who also serves as President and CEO of the Greater Texas Foundation.
“Our state’s workforce is our most valuable asset and if we don’t get it right on education we’re simply putting the future of Texas at risk,” said conference co-chair and Texas Lyceum Director Tracy LaQuey Parker. “In order to prosper, we need to focus our efforts on building an educated workforce in order to attract and keep competitive jobs.”
The statistics are not good news:
•Texas ranks 48th out of the 50 states for having the least educated adult population. 1
•Texas has more college dropouts than high school dropouts. 2
•In the five most populous regions of our state, between 20%-60% of students enrolling in higher education are not college-ready in one or more core subject areas (reading, writing, and/or mathematics). 3
•Only one out of seven (14%) Texas students who enter high school will go on to complete any type of postsecondary credential within six years of enrolling in higher education.4
•Of the students who do enroll in a postsecondary institution, three out of five do not complete a credential within six years.5
What does this mean for our state, our economy and our communities? Will we be able to continue attracting employers with high skill/high wage jobs? How does Texas remain on the path to prosperity? These are questions that conference goers will pose during this powerfully informing two-day conference.
Texas Lyceum Directors, alumni and other invited guests will hear from an extensive line-up of education experts who have devoted most of their life to solving the workforce challenge through creative ideas and practicality such as Dr. Byron McClenney, Director of Community College Student Success Initiatives at University of Texas Austin; his wife Dr. Kay McClenney, Director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement; Dee Chambliss, Educate Texas at Communities Foundation of Texas; Mike Feinberg, KIPP Co-Founder and Superintendent and Texas Lyceum Class of 2012; Dr. Mike Moses, Senior Education Advisor, Raise Your Hand Texas and Center for the Reform of School Systems; Dr. Reo Pruiett, Educate Texas Program Officer for T- STEM (Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Initiative); Dr. Joel Vargas, Vice President, High School Through College, Jobs for the Future; and Dr. Johnny Veselka, Executive Director, Texas Association of School Administrators.
The conference will culminate with a panel discussion with Dr. Mark Milliron, Chancellor, Western Governor’s University-Texas, a non-profit online University; Dr. Richard M. Rhodes, President/CEO, Austin Community College District; and Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, Chancellor, University of Texas System. Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith and Texas Lyceum Director, Class of 2011 will moderate the panel.
“Education is a critical public policy issue for Texas and while people may have different opinions about solutions, we can all agree that our Legislature must figure this out,” said Texas Lyceum 2012 President John Dickson of San Antonio. “Education is at the intersection of changing demographics, workforce readiness and the economic competitiveness of our state. We can’t kick this can down the road because that road goes over the edge of a cliff. We have to do something about education and our Texas Lyceum conference is calling attention to the fact that we have to do something now.”
1 US Census. 2000.
2 THECB 1998. THECB Regional High School to College Data, 7th Grade Cohort Data.
3 Ibid. 2
4 State of Texas’s Report of the Select Commission on Higher Education and Global Competitiveness. 2009. (Data from National Center for Educational Statistics and ACT.)
5 Ibid. 4