Houston Chronicle

Senior tax break among new city spending
By Mike Morris
June 20, 2013

Houston City Council voted to provide property tax relief to seniors Wednesday, one of many votes at a marathon meeting at which council unanimously approved a $4.5 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The city's exemption for homeowners 65 and older will rise from $70,862 to $80,000 thanks to the 14-2 vote, a move that should be codified with a second approval next week, City Attorney David Feldman said.

The roller-coaster 10-hour meeting - all but 45 minutes of which focused on Mayor Annise Parker's budget and council members' 60 proposed amendments to it - will require Parker to shuffle about $3.9 million in the $2.2 billion general fund budget. The rest of the city's spending occurs in enterprise funds fed by fees and not taxes.




Beating Illiteracy
By Tiffany Williams
May 16, 2013

Readers might not think twice about opening a book or browsing the Internet. But for those battling illiteracy, understanding words on a page or computer screen is a challenge.

Houston's adult illiteracy problem is a troubling reality that can have substantial implications on the city's workforce, crime rate and poverty levels, as well as on the lives of families.

"When people think about literacy in Houston, they think about kids," said Sheri Suarez Foreman, president and CEO of Houston Center for Literacy (HCL). "Yes, they are the future of this city, but we forget about the parents. They're the No. 1 teachers in a student's life."


Houston Business Journal

Opinion: Letter to the Editor
Sunset Review key part of education reform
Sheri Suarez Foreman, President and CEO, Houston Center for Literacy
Week of February 15-21, 2013

I recently read James Jeffery's January 25th article "Will education reform provide skilled workers Houston needs?" and was surprised that an article focused on education reform for a skilled workforce would exclude one of the most relevant pieces of legislative reform on the topic: the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) Sunset Review.

This bi-partisan, bicameral commission found that adult education is not only misplaced at TEA, but it also lacks leadership and direction on adult education, therefore threatening the state's ability to meet future workforce demands. 


Austin American Statesman

Foreman: Educate the adult work force
Sheri Suarez Foreman, Houston Center for Literacy
September 24, 2012

Texas' low rank in providing a skilled workforce is not surprising ("Experts: Texas creating jobs, but faces challenges," Sept. 5). Not only was Texas' education ranked 30th in CNBC's report "America's Top States for Business 2010," but in a ranking of "America's Most Literate Cities 2010," no Texas city reached the top 10 list. In fact, of the 75 largest cities in America, five out of nine Texas cities were ranked in the bottom 50 (Austin was the highest ranking Texas city at No. 21, followed by Dallas at No. 44).

In order to remain competitive in national and global markets, Texas must adopt an education system that takes into account the current and future workforce. So often we read articles underscoring the importance of educating the next generation, but what about this generation of Texas workers? There is no doubt that the state of Texas is changing. A recent study out of Rice University showed Houston is the most diverse city in the nation, surpassing New York and Los Angeles. Austin is attracting more people, too, becoming the 13th largest city in America after the 2010 Census. These are good things. Texas has fought long and hard to attract more business to our great state, and with great success, but bragging rights bring responsibility.



Houston Chronicle

We must invest in pre-K
Houston Chronicle Editorial
September 4, 2012

Public education might well be Houston's greatest challenge in coming decades. Much of our highly touted growth comes from immigrants who were poorly educated in their home countries. Educating their children, and giving them the tools to become productive members of society, may be the only way Houston can avoid the blight of a permanent underclass.

Want proof? Sheri Foreman, president and CEO of the Houston Center for Literacy, writes that "nearly a quarter of Texas children live in homes where the head of the household is not a high school graduate," and "one in five Houston residents lacks basic literacy skills" ("Success in school depends to a large degree on parents," Page B7, Aug. 30). Foreman recommends that schools implement adult literacy programs so that parents can become better partners in their children's education.



Houston Chronicle

Parents are key to a student's success in school
By Sheri Foreman
August 29, 2012

Recently, the federal No Child Left Behind program released its annual progress report. It is not surprising that more Texas schools failed to pass than ever before, and nearly all of Houston's schools earned failing grades. Fingers are already pointing in every direction. Some people believe the standards are too high; others think schools are not doing an adequate job. But one important topic is missing from the conversation: parental involvement.

Does a child's success in school depend solely on his or her teachers' ability to present material in a relatable way? Or does the education level of the child's parent matter just as much?