Houston Newsmakers May 27: Crisis in education: Impact on poor

60% of Texas children in public schools are low income


HOUSTON – Robert Sanborn, the president and CEO of Children at Risk, said legislators need a better understanding of how public schools work.

“Historically, in the United States, if a child moves from one class to a higher economic class, they’ve done it through quality public education,” he said. “When we stop paying attention to public education, we’ve stopped paying attention to the future of our citizenry.”  

Sanborn said parents need to be more active in advocating for their children, with the goal of forming partnerships, not adversarial relationships, with legislators.

Also on this week’s Houston Newsmakers, find out why the top districts in Texas are making progress, but not Houston Independent School District, and why the arrival of summer vacation means more attention is needed for students still affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Urban League 50th, Lorelle scholarships award millions to help hundreds

The Houston Area Urban League is celebrating its 50th anniversary on June 16.

President and CEO Judson Robinson III said great work has been done but much more needs to be accomplished. “Our median income is $38,000 a year for most African-American families,” he said. “The gap that we’re trying to close would move us to the $62,000-$63,000 range, which is what our white counterparts are experiencing. We’re not trying to hold anybody back, we’re just trying to raise everybody up.”

Linda Lorelle started the Linda Lorelle Scholarship Fund more than 26 years ago while using her position as an anchor to generate interest.

More than $4 million in scholarships has been awarded to more than 370 students. Now, the fund is teaming with the Greater Houston Partnership to potentially help even more students who need financial support.

"What students don’t know is that, in many cases, they can go to a two-year institution and then come out with very little debt, and if they get a scholarship from us, they’ll come out with no debt,” she said. “Then they can go into a job that can start at maybe $60,000 or $70,000 a year to begin.”

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