Bertram Gives Keynote at PLTW Texas State Conference

Texas Gov.Greg Abbott opened, by video, the General Session of the Texas PLTW State Conference by setting the vison for education in Texas and thanking Project Lead The Way and the University of Texas at Tyler for the role they play in expanding access to high-quality educational opportunities.

Gov. Abbott said he believes Texas should be at the pinnacle of educating our children.

“The opportunity to succeed should not be confined to a certain side of town,” he said. “There are no second-class dreams. There should be no second-rate schools.”

Gov. Abbott thanked the educators for all they are doing to make sure that even the future is bigger in Texas and highlighted the importance of teachers in realizing this vision.

“The future workforce in Texas must be equipped with both the technical skills and the critical thinking skills needed to compete in our growing job market,” he said. “That means we must engage and excite our students early in their education, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math. We must prepare our students for the next generation of STEM-related jobs and for technology we haven’t even heard of yet. And we must give our k-12 teachers the tools they need to help our students succeed.”

Vince delivered the keynote address to the conference of over 600 educators and also pointed out the critical role teachers play.

“We should focus our attention on lifting up the 95% of teachers who are doing great work,” he said. “We need to restore confidence in American education by restoring confidence in our teachers.”

He spoke on the success already happening in classrooms across the state.

“There are tremendous opportunities, and I've visited with many students today,” he said. “When I asked about your careers, you're not only thinking about engineering but how you apply these skills to other careers. That's what we want from all kids.”

“We are excited about the work happening here,” he said. “This is where things really happen. Things happen big in Texas. But they don't happen by themselves. They happen when people collaborate, and when there is alignment – moving things in a common direction for a common purpose. You are making a difference. You are changing lives. You are inspiring the next generation.”

Students from a dozen schools presented their PLTW projects at the conference, and Vince had the opportunity to speak with many of them. Students from Foy H. Moody High School Innovation Academy from Corpus Christi, Texas, explained their projects in Hydrotech Robotics. Vince also met students from the Science Academy of South Texas who were eager to share their plans for the future, such as pursuing electrical engineering and chemical engineering.

After Texas, Vince travels home to Indianapolis to participate in the BioCrossroads Framewors- Our STEM Skills Crisis: How Can Business Thrive in Indiana - on March 4.

Stay current on Vince’s travels – and the latest in education and workforce development news – by following him on Twitter at @VinceBertram.