“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world,” Anne Frank.  These words rang true and served as the theme for last week’s Business/Education forum hosted by the Texas Association of Schools Boards, Go Public and the Chamber.

The half-day forum focused on successful partnerships between local Independent School Districts and businesses in the San Antonio area.  Welcoming the crowd were Chamber President & CEO Richard Perez and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. Both men emphasized the importance of continuing to seize the momentum of collaboration from House Bill 5.

“Business now has a definite seat at the table when it comes to curriculum, professional development and determining the relevancy of programs and how they connect to the current job needs of the local economy,” said Perez.  “All partners have to work together on one common goal which is to ensure that all students have the tools and information needed to successfully complete post-secondary education and enter the workforce.”

There were multiple panels throughout the day that focused on the creation and implementation of SA Works; Rackspace’s partnership with Roosevelt High School; Capital Group’s mentorship program with Sul Ross Middle School; the ACE program; and Go Public’s efforts to support public schools in San Antonio.

The highlight of the day was the keynote address by Texas House Representative Jimmie Don Aycock who has served as the House Public Education Committee Chair since 2013.  During his tenure he helped construct and pass House Bill 5 (2013) which created the new endorsement pathways for high school students.

Aycock’s remarks focused on the importance of increased partnerships among educators and business members to ensure students and families understand the career opportunities in existence in their community as well as how they can achieve those goals. “The face of Texas students is changing, and we need to evolve our way of teaching to meet their needs to prepare them for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Aycock.

Other issues discussed by the Chairman included the concept of privatization of public schools, potential new chairs for the House Public Education Committee and insight into the current school finance case still pending before the Texas Supreme Court.  On this last issue, Chairman Aycock was not shy about stating it was his belief that legislature has a duty to develop a solution.

For more information on how you can get engaged with the Chamber’s Education & Workforce Committee please email Priscilla Camacho.

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