Aldine’s superintendent spoke about how to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s Texas.

Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney (center) is joined by fellow panelists Margaret Spellings, Mike Morath, and Dr. Juliet V. García (r-l). Evan Smith (far left) moderated the discussion.

Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney was among the special guest panelists invited to The Texas Tribune 2019 Festival.

The Texas Tribune Festival is one of the nation’s largest, most buzzworthy political gatherings. The three-day festival brings Texans together to address the politics and policy that affect our communities, our schools, our work, and our daily lives. The event attracts Texas’ most prominent names, and the nation’s most influential public figures flock to Austin to discuss our future.

Joining Dr. Goffney on the Future of Education panel on Sept. 28 were Dr. Juliet V. García, former president of the University of Texas at Brownsville; Mike Morath, Texas Education Commissioner; and former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Ms. Spellings is currently president and CEO of Texas 2036, a non-profit organization working on long-term policy solutions to ensure Texas continues to be the best place to live and do business. CEO Evan Smith, journalist and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, moderated the discussion.

The panel discussion was presented by and programmed in partnership with Texas 2036. It was presented by Raise Your Hand Texas and supported by the Austin Community College District, The Commit Partnership and the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium.

Goffney, who spoke to a large crowd, emphasized the need to break the cycle of poverty through education. She centered her discussion on prekindergarten as well as attracting and retaining excellent teachers. Early education not only gives students a head start but studies show that early childhood education is effective in preventing the achievement gap, improving health outcomes, boosting earnings and providing a high rate of economic return.

“Prekindergarten is critical for kids in poverty,” Goffney said. “We also need money to pay teachers more to attract them away from richer suburbs that face fewer socioeconomic struggles.”

⁩Goffney highlighted the prekindergarten for three-year-olds program and Pathways in Technology Early College High (P-TECH) School as new options for families and students.

Spellings stressed the connection between education and the economy. She stated that to meet our workforce needs people with a variety of skills, often obtained at the high school and community college level.

“We need to make every high school a community college,” Spellings said. “The Texas legislature needs to do more to help high school students obtain college and technical credit.”

Commissioner of Education Mike Morath reiterated that it would take everyone — educators, legislators, and businesses — working together to ensure Texas is prepared to meet its known challenges.

“The changes we make today drive towards a better 2036 in Texas,” Morath said.