The growing diversity of the student population across the nation is pressuring
schools to examine longstanding traditional approaches to meeting students'
educational needs, both effectively and economically. Over 40 percent of AISD
students have academic, attendance, or behavior problems that place them at
risk of dropping out of school. There are a variety of issues that contribute
to these problems and these issues are applicable on a regional basis. While
the initial focus was on the seven school districts in Travis County, the Education
Planning group felt the following urgent issues were applicable on a regional
basis since improved education, workforce development, and sustainability are
There is a shortage of qualified/certified teachers.
K-12 students are often unprepared to succeed in higher
education or the workforce.
Not enough students are encouraged to enroll in challenging
High expectations are not consistently communicated to all
Student learning often suffers due to family and community
issues (housing, basic needs, family violence, etc.) that are not effectively
Resources are fragmented and hard for families and educators
Too many students are not on track to attain their educational
goals or do not remain in school.
Strategies and suggestions to address some of these critical issues that threaten
students' academic success and preparation for the workforce include the need
for more collaboration and synergy between all levels of public education (secondary
and post-secondary), as well as business and community sectors. Numerous strategies
to increase linkages between education, business, and industry are emphasized
throughout the matrix. Developing a consensus on regional strategies and community
interconnectedness is another strategy. Longstanding disparities between districts
and barriers to the success of many students, especially those from traditionally
underserved and economically disadvantaged populations, continue to persist.
Since students move back and forth between different school districts, facilitating
a "best practices" exchange among districts would be very beneficial.
The planning group hopes that Region XIII will be instrumental in establishing
an ongoing forum for the sharing of "best practices" among school
districts. Building upon existing resources and infrastructures is an effective
and efficient method of leveraging resources and maximizing services.
In addition, the need to improve parental knowledge of educational systems
and personal involvement through increased resources is imperative. Other strategies
focus on the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers, student education
plans, and attitudes toward low achieving and special education students. "Higher
expectations" for all students - from the highly prepared to the underprepared
- should resonate throughout the schools, to include those of faculty, administrators,
THE EDUCATION PLANNING PROCESS
In response to the "call to action" to address urgent issues contained
in the CAN assessment work, the Education Planning Group - comprised of secondary
and post-secondary educational providers, members representing non-profit organizations,
City and County government, faith-based organizations, and planning organizations
- identified seven urgent issues deemed critical to the academic achievement
and workforce preparation of all students. The Austin/Travis County Community
Action Network Education Community Assessment report can be referred to for
a more comprehensive analysis of educational issues affecting the community.
THE EDUCATION PLANNING MATRIX
The attached matrix presents the most urgent educational issues, identifiable
solutions that can be undertaken to achieve desired results, and opportunities
for financial and human investment that could contribute to positive outcomes.
In summary, the matrix is intended to provide tools to school districts to address
family and community issues that negatively impact student learning and provide
students and families with all of the support they need. Existing programs and
resources currently available in the community to provide assistance in addressing
these problems are also listed.
The committee contact for the Education Planning issues is Sharon King, Austin
Community College, (512) 223-7695 or email her at email@example.com.
2001 Urgent Issues Action Plan Home Page