The public education track at The 2013 Texas Tribune Festival featured panel discussions about early childhood education, charter schools, innovations in teaching and the future of public schools. If you prefer to listen on the go, you can also download this track in podcast format from iTunes, by clicking here.
The day's discussion kicked off with moderator Sherri Greenberg, director of the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, talking about "Early Childhood Education" with San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro; Libby Doggett, the deputy assistant secretary of policy and early learning at the U.S. Department of Education; and Carol Shattuck, president and CEO of Collaborative for Children. The panelists talked about mapping young brains, the benefits of pre-K for children from low-income families and San Antonio's initiative to raise sales tax money for pre-K services.
Moderator and Texas Tribune reporter Morgan Smith led a panel discussion on "The Fight Over Charter Schools," featuring Uplift Education CEO Yasmin Bhatia; KIPP Co-founder Mike Feinberg; College Board Regional Vice President Richard Middleton; and state Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, vice chairwoman of the House Higher Education Committee. The panel discussed charter school reforms in the recently passed Senate Bill 2, accountability for charters and whether charter and public schools should work together.
In the day's third panel, "Innovations in Teaching," Texas Tribune multimedia reporter Alana Rocha led a discussion with Frank Hernandez, dean of the University of Texas-Permian Basin College of Education; Rod Paige, the former U.S. secretary of education; and Pat Wasley, CEO of Teaching Channel. The group discussed thinking creatively to solve problems, whether teacher compensation should correlate with student test results and getting to teachers to work together to improve the quality of their teaching.
Smith moderated the final panel of the day, "Public Education Reform: What Now?" with state Reps. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, and Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, and Michael Williams, Texas Education Agency commissioner. The panel discussed whether recently passed reforms would improve the quality of education in Texas schools, the state's efforts to obtain a waiver for the federal No Child Left Behind standards and using standardized tests to measure student excellence.