SXSWedu Recap 2: The Rather Prize

Hey Everyone!  SXSWedu started out for me bright and early Monday morning with the presentation of the Rather Prize given out by Dan Rather and his grandson Martin Rather.  Don’t know what this is?  Don’t worry I didn’t either, Mr Rather really doesn’t speak much about it on the national stage.  The Rather Prize is a Texas specific prize given out to fund a new program to help bolster the Texas education system.

Started two years ago the RP was designed to help Texas education at the local level by supporting great ideas to increase student achievement.  According to the Commonwealth Foundation’s 2014 report Texas ranked 39th in state report card, 42nd in matriculation rate, and 47th in SAT testing and according to Mr Rather: “God did not create Texas to be 47th in anything.”

The prize consists of a $10,000 grant and this year a team to help execute the winning plan.  Any Texas educator can  enter, their proposals are narrowed down to ten and the public votes on the winner.  The 2016 winner Dr Sanford Jeames was at SXSWedu this year to discuss the impact the grant and his program, The STEP Up Challenge had on the school community of Eastside Memorial High School.

The presentation of this year’s prize started with a a talk by Dr Jeames and also the students that were a part of the program.  It was a really great moment that served to remind all educators why we do what we do.  It’s not about the mountains of money, it’s not about the world wide fame that comes with the job of teacher, it’s about the students and the impact our work has on them and their futures.

The winners of the 2017 prize knew this when they designed their program at Lake Dallas Elementary School.  Katie Landaverde is creating “morning workshops for Lake Dallas Elementary students that are taught by Lake Dallas High School students, community members, and teachers,” says Landaverde. “Students will attend morning seminars on the topics of their choice.” (KXAN)

I really think it’s stories like these that deserve more publicity these days.  Dan Rather has become a beautiful voice of truth in today’s dark world of alternate facts (read: lies) and at SXSWedu this year I found out that he is contributing to our education system as well.

Check out the amazing work the Rather Prize is doing for Texas education at their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ratherprize/ or their website here: http://ratherprize.com/

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