Voices from Emerge 2015: Education

Voices from Emerge 2015: Education



Guest Post from 2015 Emerge Graduate Billy Moyer.
Billy is a speaker, author and a co-founder of SOS Leadership.


This video on Education was prepared by a team who examined aspects of this issue in our community. Please take a minute to watch.

In the 2015 Leadership Austin Emerge class, I was a part of the team that facilitated a discussion on the issue of education.

All team members were passionate about education for different reasons. As I sat there during our first strategy session, I felt a little out of place. My reason for choosing education was simply that I value lifelong learning. I honestly didn’t know much about the issue.

This changed through our team discussions with our mentor, Khotan Shahbazi-Harmon from E3 Alliance. Khotan introduced our group to The Blueprint for Educational Change.

Our time with Khotan started my own education about the important issue of education. We cannot be a part of the solution to this problem if we do not understand the problem.

Here are the top three things I learned about Education in Central Texas:

  • Missing School Matters – This is something I knew, but through the project began to better understand. Absenteeism is a major issue for Central Texas schools. It costs them millions in funding. Sometimes as a community I believe we focus too much on what young people are or are not learning and not enough on them actually showing up. The most interesting aspect of this is that Valentine’s Day is the day with the least amount of absences. Think about what happens on this day? Why can’t we make every day Valentine’s Day for Central Texas students?
  • Pre-K makes a major difference – One of the goals of E3 Alliance as part of their Blueprint for Educational Change is to have all eligible children enrolled in a Pre-K program by 2020. Young people who attend a full-day, low ratio Pre-K are more school ready and perform better throughout their educational careers. Pre-K is the foundation and right now too many young people miss out on that foundation. What can you personally do to help E3 accomplish their Pre-K goal?
  • Educational change is our responsibility as a community – The last goal of E3 Alliance’s Blueprint is Community Accountability. The Missing School Matters campaign was driven by members of the community who got involved and used their own resources to make a difference. Since 2011, this campaign has returned $24.5 million dollars in savings based on improved attendance. The community also played a role in the largest in-school flu immunization in the State of Texas. How can you get involved as a member of this community to influence this issue?

Since Emerge, I have continued to learn about education. I attended an E3 Alliance event where they unveiled their latest report on The Blueprint for Educational Change. At that event, I learned about privilege in education. I have had a privileged upbringing where education from Pre-K through Graduate School was not just an option, it was an expectation. Many of you reading this can relate with me.

What about all those young people in our community who are not as privileged? Do they not deserve the same privilege to learn and grow?

I challenge you to reflect on this issue, the questions I asked above and educate yourself so that we may all be the change we must see in education in Central Texas.

NOTE: The opinions of Leadership Austin alumni, faculty members, and guest bloggers are their own, and do not represent an official position of the organization.

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