George P. Bush: Better education in Texas means flexibility and teaching critical thinking

January 20, 2020

It also means more school choice, vocational education and additional resources.

As our state begins a new year, we face a familiar challenge: How do we better prepare the next generation of Texas leaders?

As a former public school teacher, I think the answer to that question is found in our schools. The workers of tomorrow are being trained in the classrooms of today. So, are the leaders of tomorrow adequately prepared in our classrooms?

The Texas General Land Office is one of the largest financiers of public education in the state. As land commissioner and a former educator, I felt it was important to get an inside look at what our students are doing in the classroom, lend a helping hand, and speak with administrators and teachers. Too often, we strive to enhance education without understanding exactly where the need resides.

This past year, I decided to personally invest my time and energy in Texas students and schools. During the Texas General Land Office’s Year of Education, I visited with more than 80 administrators, 60 teachers and almost 4,000 students from across the state. I didn’t limit these visits to one region or one type of school. Rather, I visited educational environments of all types: public, private, charter, home-school, rural, urban and suburban.

For most of these lessons, I taught a class on Texas history featuring primary source material from the GLO archives, like a historic map of Texas. But what I found to be most rewarding were the moments not when I was talking, but when I was listening. And after hearing from so many administrators, teachers and students, some of the next steps our state needs to take in improving Texas education became clear.

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