Woods' Weekly

Woods' Weekly

Woods' Weekly is written by Superintendent Brian T. Woods and is sent to Northside ISD staff every Monday to keep them updated on local and state education issues.

April 21, 2014  

Good morning!  I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend and enjoyed the time with family and friends.  Meredith, Aidan and I visited some of her family and then had Easter at home – it was a great weekend.

I’ve written often in this column about the changing demographics of Texas that are largely being ignored by state leadership. NISD was featured in a National Public Radio story on these changes. That story can be found at:
npr.org/as-state- diversifies-texas-educators-grab-the-bull-by-the-horns

More recently, the Houston Chronicle published an editorial predicting dire consequences if we fail to educate our young people in Texas who are more likely than ever to be economically disadvantaged when they start school. The Chronicle editorial can be found at: chron.com/Schar rer-Demographics-tell-tale-of-woe-for-Texas-5397794.php

The article points to the age-old question about governmental leadership – do we focus on the short- term issues that will help us get reelected or do we focus on long-term concerns that are vital to the future of the state. This is what I mean when I talk about the importance of infrastructure work in our state –infrastructure like water, roads AND education.  Imagine if all of the energy and media coverage devoted to CSCOPE in the last legislative session was dedicated to these more impactful needs. This is the difference between being a legislator and a statesman.  Statesmen keep the long-term interests of the state in mind when making decisions. This is a quality to look for when you vote later this spring in the primary runoffs.

One of my favorite quotes from the article is, “Although few realize it, we are in transition from the Old Texas to the New Texas.  If you want to see the New Texas, visit just about any public school

 in Texas.  If you want to see the Old Texas, come to the Texas Senate or House chamber.” The ironic thing about the shortsighted nature of looking at this issue is that it is an economic argument.  Even if you don’t feel a moral compulsion to educate those who live in poverty to give them a chance to break out of that cycle, there are real economic reasons to act in improving the educational outcomes of our children.

The article looks at a book written by former state demographer Steve Murdock and others and concludes, “Unless we turn serious about improving the educational achievement for our minority children, Texas' economic growth will suffer... They peg the total decline in aggregate Texas household income at between $586 billion per year at the low end and up to $1.6 trillion per year at the high end. Texas poverty rates will continue to climb, and the percentage of Texans with a college degree will decline... Texas will become less attractive to out-of-state corporations if we become a state with low education levels and high poverty...”

Clearly then, there is an obvious economic benefit to educating Texas children. Equally obvious are the economic consequences if we fail to do so.

The author concludes with the best message of the article and one that we all need to have in our arsenal when we talk to those who question the value of spending money on public education.  “The demographers are warning us about the not-so rosy future if we fail to act. Education is the answer.  Education is the best ticket out of poverty.  We simply need state leaders to understand a universal truth: it doesn’t cost to educate a child; it pays to educate a child.”

Finally, as we get close to the election for Bond 2014, if you hear questions that you don’t feel comfortable addressing, please refer people to the Bond 2014 website and the contact us link.  The link is found at http://nisd.net/bond/2014/bond-2014-contact. We want to answer questions quickly and accurately.

    Have a great week!