community reports

HOUSTON’S LITERACY CRISIS: A BLUEPRINT FOR COMMUNITY ACTION

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation (BBHLF) and Deloitte Consulting, LLP, developed a comprehensive plan based on a significant body of research, local data and extensive community involvement to fully assess Houston’s literacy crisis and develop viable actions to reverse the disastrous impacts caused by low literacy in our society. The plan, titled Houston’s Literacy Crisis: A Blueprint for Community Action includes targeted strategies and recommended actions intended to mobilize the community toward increasing literacy rates of people of all ages across Houston. The Blueprint’s purpose is to increase awareness of Houston’s prevalent literacy crisis, elevate literacy as a top priority, and mobilize the community into action.

WHEN STUDENTS MISS SCHOOL: THE HIGH COST TO HOUSTON

A special report from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation: The interrelationship between school attendance and literacy may seem intuitive, but many people are simply not aware of how pervasive chronic absence is in Houston and the high price students pay when they miss school. Chronic absence is defined as missing 10 percent of school – that’s nearly a month – for any reason, and far too many children meet this criterion. We have issued a special report that provides an in-depth look at the problem of chronic absence in Houston. The report examines its impact and offers practical strategies for achieving a community solution.

Reframing Early Education: The Critical Case for Change

The scientific evidence is abundantly clear – an investment in our young children through engaged parenting and high quality early education programs makes a lifelong difference in school outcomes and workforce readiness. We need to put this knowledge to work, as we are at a critical time in our community’s evolution with many more jobs requiring post high school education. Only 1 of 5 children in our region are graduating from high school and completing some form of post high school credential. 

However, Houston’s rapidly growing employers in the petrochemical, medical and manufacturing fields desperately need employees with the post high school education. Early education receives limited public funding, and the state standards for quality early education programs are far too low. As a result, few families are able to access high quality early education. We must invest more heavily in the early stages of our children’s learning and development, a time in which we see the highest financial return on investment and the greatest impact on preparing children for a bright and successful future.

MEASURING EMERGENT LITERACY IN HOUSTON

In Houston’s Literacy Crisis: A Blueprint for Community Action we laid out our key six goals, one of which is to ensure that every child enters kindergarten ready to read. Developing a consistent measurement system to track the progress of young learners is critically important. The Capstone project report produced by the Bush School of Government and Service at Texas A & M, called Measuring Emergent Literacy in Houston,sheds further light on the importance of measuring and tracking literacy development skills of our youngest children. The report contains key data, recommendations, resources and insights into documenting child’s learning environment and literacy skills, both before and during their introduction into the formal education system.

ALIGNING EDUCATION TO MEET THE NEEDS OF TEXAS EMPLOYERS

The Texas Association of Workforce Boards (TAWB) has presented a report that lays out the actions of the community that will ensure a highly skilled, well-trained talent supply for Texas employers. “It is clear that a high school education alone will not be sufficient …and that we have too many residents who lack even a high school diploma or equivalency.” Read the full report to see how combating low literacy can help to create a future workforce that will not only be able to compete in the global economy, but also to help us grow and prosper as a state.

Clinton Health Matters Initiative: Houston and Harris County Blueprint for Action

In 2015 The Clinton Foundation, in partnership with GE, released a comprehensive plan aimed at increasing the quality of health of residents in Houston and Harris County. Through a collaborative process, 43 local priorities, known as bold action steps, were identified and will help to inform the work done in partnership with the community. Several priorities relate to education, income and employment, including the support for universal early education for all children who are 4 years old.

Improving the Quality of Life for Young Men of Color in Houston: Local Action Plan 2015

This special report issued by the My Brother’s Keeper Houston Movement, led by the City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services, is a plan of action aimed at improving quality of life outcomes for boys and young men of color. Part of a federal initiative, called My Brother’s Keeper, the My Brother’s Keeper Houston Movement is Houston’s response to the President’s call to action to ensure that boys and men of color reach several, critical milestones. These milestones include entering school ready to learn, reading at grade level by third grade and graduating from high school ready for college and career.