Education Principles

Few things shape our community more than the quality and location of our public schools. School decisions, whether made by school districts or by individual families, influence Austin’s development patterns, property values and our city’s physical layout. School taxes, along with periodic bond issues, represent our largest local investment and, arguably, our most important.

Liveable City believes schools that successfully prepare all students to engage in critical analysis, creative thinking and lifelong learning will determine our future economic, environmental and social success, both locally and globally.

We have developed the following set of principles to help evaluate education proposals and decisions within our community.

Education decisions should:

Ensure an equitable, enriched and challenging education for all Austin children.

  • All students have equal access to resources, learning opportunities, and high-quality teachers.
  • Varied instructional strategies foster students’ diverse interests and talents, promoting analytical thinking, creativity and a lifelong love of learning.
  • Students’ physical, social, emotional, language and intellectual development needs are met in a safe, healthy and well-maintained learning environment.
  • All students are prepared to become productive, engaged adults, who demonstrate compassion and respect for others, as well as mindfulness of our natural world.

Use resources wisely.

  • Compensation and working conditions are sufficient to attract and retain exceptional teachers, administrators and staff at all campuses.
  • Faculty, administrators and staff identify and share effective, innovative approaches to teaching and learning.
  • Industry performance standards for bond programs and other major expenditures are publicly available, ensuring effective use of tax dollars.
  • School districts work in partnership with the City of Austin, Travis County and other local governmental bodies, regularly sharing relevant information and coordinating capital planning efforts whenever possible.

Build trust through transparency.

  • Families are included and engaged in their children’s education and in a variety of school activities.
  • Important decisions affecting public schools, including leadership decisions, are made through an open, well-defined public process.
  • Information about campus and district trends is communicated regularly, including the standing of each campus in relation to criteria that might prompt boundary changes or school closures.
  • School ratings are expanded beyond the single measure of standardized test scores to provide a more complete portrait of each campus.
  • All communications are plainly written in the language understood by students’ families.
  • Inclusive decision-making is practiced at all levels.

Support community values.

  • School districts support neighborhood, city and regional planning efforts, recognizing that neighborhood schools should be closed only as a last resort.
  • Schools engage in productive partnerships with community organizations and institutions of higher education.
  • School district facilities are located, constructed and operated using environmentally sound practices and materials.
  • School districts support housing and transportation policies that reduce transience among students’ families and ensure educators can continue to live in the community in which they work.
  • Schools foster tolerance, respect, equity and inclusion in all aspects of academic and community life.

Approved by Liveable City Board November 21, 2009.