We believe public education is the greatest lever available for achieving an equitable and prosperous future for all Texans. Vibrant communities and a thriving Texas depend on strong public schools.
We also believe public schools must continuously improve and innovate to meet the needs of all students. Every child, in every community, deserves access to a high-quality public school so they can pursue and reach their full potential. This requires a strong principal at the helm of every school, an effective teacher in every classroom and empowered and engaged families and communities. This vision is only possible if we acknowledge and address the persistent inequities in our education system. That vision, these beliefs, and our passion for establishing a more equitable and prosperous future for all Texans are the guiding forces behind our statewide programmatic initiatives.
The primary goal of our statewide programs is to address persistent system-level challenges by piloting research-informed solutions that can be scaled and sustained beyond philanthropic investment. Our approach begins with a deep exploration of why these persistent problems exist. We gather and consider formal research and listen to those closest to the work to ensure we understand the problem and root causes from the outside-in and inside-out. We then design solutions targeting the source of these problems. We embrace that improvement is not a linear process, rather a learning journey requiring constant reflection and iteration.
Our work is guided by the axiom that every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets. Unfortunately, our current system is not designed to serve all students. We acknowledge our role and responsibility at the Charles Butt Foundation to help create a more equitable and prosperous future for all students, especially our students of color and those from low-income families. We are committed to intentionally designing our statewide programs to address historic inequities that exist in our education system.
School leaders represent the single most important factor to an effective school. Principals and campus teams have the potential to bring lasting social and economic improvements not only to their campuses and communities but to the entire state of Texas and beyond. That is why the Charles Butt Foundation invests in leadership development for school leaders. Through the Raising School Leaders program, we invest approximately $1 million annually in leadership development training to address student achievement and equity issues statewide.
Blended learning combines the best of in-person classroom teaching with online technology to personalize instruction. Addressing our state’s persistent opportunity gaps requires effective teachers skilled at personalizing learning to meet each and every student’s needs and to help students take more ownership and agency of their learning. Scaling and sustaining these practices requires active support from campus and district leaders who value student-centered learning. Raising Blended Learners is a four-year demonstration initiative showcasing strategies for using blended learning to improve student achievement across diverse student demographics and geographic regions of the state, particularly among schools and districts with persistent opportunity gaps.
The research is clear, teachers have the most direct and significant impact on student success. Therefore, the long-term success of our communities and our state is inextricably linked to the quality of our teacher workforce. It is our moral imperative to ensure every student has an effective teacher every year. Raising Texas Teachers is a 10-year, $50 million program designed to:
1. Enhance the recruitment of a talented and diverse teacher workforce through the Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers.
2. Raise the overall quality of teacher preparation in the state by promoting continuous improvement in the field through deep partnerships with university-based teacher preparation programs, and
3. Elevate the status of the teaching profession through a statewide marketing campaign.
Alumni engagement is a critical piece of scaling and sustaining the impact of our statewide programs. We have invested in over 1,400 school leaders through the Raising School Leaders program and over 300 current teacher leaders through the Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers. The purpose of the alumni network is to create a strong, well-connected community of educators across the state of Texas, who are united in their efforts to serve all students of Texas, learn and improve together, and collectively advance the perception of public schools.