Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio, TX, who delivered a memorable keynote speech on education at last year’s Democratic National Convention, will address the general session of the International Reading Association’s 58th Annual Convention in San Antonio on Monday, April 22, 2013.
Mayor Castro reading to a child
Mayor Castro at a Boys & Girls
Club event Mayor Castro speaking at the
College Week Kick-Off
Mayor Castro’s landmark Pre-K 4 SA Initiative, which supports expanded preschool services in San Antonio by means of an increased sales tax, is generally considered one of the most progressive and forward looking educational measures of the last several years. At the DNC he caught the public’s eye in a big way, observing that the middle class is “the engine of our economic growth,” and that if we want to build opportunities for tomorrow, “it starts with education.”
Castro went on to point out that “you can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education.” Moreover, he decried the notion that pre-K and student loans are “charity,” arguing forcefully instead that these programs are a “smart investment in the workforce that can fill and create the jobs of tomorrow.”
The mayor’s convention address will open the final day of an intensive four-day program that draws teachers, literacy researchers, school administrators, and education policy analysts from across the country and around the world. The theme of this year’s conference is “Celebrating Teachers Making A Difference.”
“Mayor Castro is a passionate advocate for educational opportunity for all,” explained Carrice Cummins, president of the International Reading Association (IRA). “We are especially pleased and excited that he will be joining us at our upcoming conference.” Marcie Craig Post, IRA’s executive director, agrees. “I’m sure that all of the attending teachers will find in Mayor Castro a supportive and sympathetic champion of the hard work they do in classrooms day in and day out.”
Making Education the Centerpiece
In an article he wrote for the upcoming issue of Reading Today, the IRA membership magazine, Mayor Castro explains that education is “the centerpiece” of his mayoral administration. When he learned that the average student to counselor ratio in Texas public schools was over 400:1, his office created cafécollege, a one stop college counseling and test preparation center providing free services to students throughout the city. To date, more than 20,000 local students and their parents have taken advantage of this service.
Moreover, the voter-approved Pre-K 4 SA initiative is expected to serve more than 22,000 four-year-olds, giving them the early foundation that has been proven in other communities to positively influence them throughout their academic careers.
Teachers hold a special place in the mayor’s regard. “When I think about the challenges in front of San Antonio,” he writes, “I think about the importance of teachers who can inspire and the individual difference they can make in the classroom.” He wants all of the educators coming to the city for the IRA conference to know that they “are in a place that values teachers and education.”
Final Days of Registration for IRA San Antonio
The IRA Conference will take place in San Antonio on April 19-22, 2013. Program venues are the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and neighboring hotels. Visit www.iraconvention.org and the iPlanner Program Grid and Event Search for details.
To register for the IRA San Antonio Convention, complete the online registration process at www.iraconvention.org, or call 415-979-2278 or 888-294-9167.