In 2011, Aledo ISD trustee Bobby J Rigues turned public education advocacy on end when he launched Make Education a Priority, a grassroots public education advocacy effort that sought to bring attention and focus to the importance of public education. Within a very short period of time, Bobby’s efforts were rewarded by adoption of a resolution in support of Make Education a Priority by more than 600 school districts across the State of Texas.
When Bobby undertook this effort and began talking with districts, it was clear that he had founded a new approach to public education advocacy whose purpose was to promote engagement on the part of the more than 7000 school district trustees in the state. At the time, I was serving as a trustee in Carroll ISD and was proud that we were one of those districts that quickly and unanimously adopted and endorsed a resolution in support of students across the state.
I was honored when Bobby asked me to join MEaP in 2014 as its president and was privileged to work with him as we moved toward non-profit status. As a board, we continued to build on the momentum created by Bobby and continued to be a visible force in public education advocacy. Among our accomplishments was the launch of School Priority Month last October, an effort designed to create a platform for advocacy not only with legislators but all elected officials serving a local school district. I’m especially proud of that effort and very appreciative of the support afforded MEaP by participating districts.
Over the past several months, the board of MEaP has had a number of discussions about how we could best serve the more than 5.3 million students as well as educators and administrators across the state. We have been very successful in building relationships and alliances with a number of advocacy groups and felt that we could have the greatest impact by consolidating our efforts and passion with Friends of Texas Public Schools. We are honored that they see value in what we can bring to this joint effort.
With this change, I want to personally thank Bobby J Rigues for crafting the vision that laid the groundwork for a successful advocacy effort. He is not only a close friend but is a close friend of all who impact, and are impacted by, public education. All of us who have had the privilege of working with him are stronger advocates for our students. He truly exemplifies a focus on making education a priority and I know that he will continue to be a strong friend of public education.