Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Starting a State-wide Conversation

Last week  I had the distinct honor to work with the Friends of Texas Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee to participate in bringing a defined direction for the group. The group is a 501 c(3) non-profit dedicated to Texas public education and combating the negative coverage.

The Co-Founders and Board of Friends of Texas Public Schools decided it was time to evaluate where the group is and where it is going for it to be effective. 
My interest in the group is two-fold: 
  1. I believe that a strong education system is the only way for a society to advance.

  2. I want to share my ideas for how to engage communities.

Below are the planning stages that were created:
(I've added a few of my additional thoughts in blue.)


  • Friends, family, faith and community are the support mechanisms that lead to human achievement.

  •  Access to knowledge and educational opportunity are fundamental rights.

  • The power of collaboration exceeds the capacity of an individual’s effort. 

  • All people have a personal responsibility to fulfill their individual worth.

  • All people have a responsibility to nurture and support children.

  • Compassion and giving to others are mutually beneficial.


The mission of Friends of Texas Public Schools, the leading voice of optimism and hope for our public school family, is to ensure positive conversation about public schools by educating Texans through honest communication, productive dialogue, and relentless encouragement.


  • Texas public school educators will be ambassadors for their profession.

  •  Texans will believe that being an educator is noble. This was my favorite.

  •  Texans will revere and respect their public schools.

  • Texans will recognize their role and become engaged in quality public education.


  • We will be a profound influence in the state-wide conversation about public education. I plan on plan on playing a major role with Friends to help with this strategy.

  •  We will identify resources necessary and raise funds to achieve the Friends’ mission.

  • We will organize strategically and build capacity.


  • We will communicate openly and honestly. We had a good balance of Communications/PR people to go along with educators and even a lawyer.

  •  We will treat all people with dignity and respect.

  • We will not allow obstacles to impede progress.

  • We will ensure fiscal responsibility.

  • We will not speak negatively about public education. This is so crucial for education. In education, particularly public education, we are our own worst enemy in speak down about the profession. We hope to change that for Texas.

Are these lofty goals? You bet. Are they worthy of trying to achieve? Absolutely. 
What do you think? What do you believe the role of education in Texas (or in our society in general) should be? How high do you hold education in the scheme of things? (If you are interested, Friends has some suggested reading on the subject.

Next steps are the action plans.

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