Many groups and individuals are supporting Proposition 4, which is the constitutional amendment to help create more Tier One universities in Texas. One local group in favor of Prop 4 is the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. I had a conversation last week with Chamber President Dr. Laura Murillo about Prop 4:
Also last week, the Legislative Study Group held a press conference urging the passage of Prop 4. Here’s their release from that conference:
At a press conference today at HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences, Legislative Study Group (LSG) Chair, State Representative Garnet F. Coleman (D-Houston) along with LSG board members Representatives Sylvester Turner (D-Houston), Scott Hochberg (D-Houston), and Hubert Vo (D-Houston) stood in support of Proposition 4, which will establish the national research university fund that will allow emerging research universities in the state to achieve national prominence as major research universities.
“As a representative with University of Houston and UH-Downtown in my district, it is high time that UH and other institutions around the state get the opportunity to compete for funds for national excellence. As a joint author and long time advocate of legislation that would establish more top tier research institutions, I am enthused that Proposition 4 will finally come before the voters.” said Representative Coleman.
LSG member Representative Ellen Cohen (D-Houston) added, “As a member of the House Higher Education committee, I was proud to coauthor and work on HB 51, the enabling legislation for Proposition 4. Increasing the number of Tier 1 research universities in Texas will benefit our state and our local communities while driving economic development.”
Texas currently has only three universities classified as tier one institutions even though it has the second highest population in the nation. New York has eight tier one universities and California ten.
“As an alumnus of the University of Houston and the chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, I’m proud to support this proposition. It marks a milestone for the future of education in Texas,” said Representative Turner.
Representative Vo added, “I am proud of the effect this proposition will have on Texas universities, particularly my alma mater, the University of Houston. It will go a long way towards bringing Texas up to scale nationally.”
Rep. Hochberg, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education added “This proposition is necessary to secure success for our state’s future students and to ensure that our state remains nationally and globally competitive.”
“Our students deserve more nationally respected options and a better higher education system in Texas, and it is important to remember that this begins with community colleges,” said Representative Coleman.
In addition, Rep. Coleman reiterated his call for greater investment and action from the state towards Texas’ higher education system. This includes lowering and freezing tuition rates, increasing scholarships for middle income families, preserving TEXAS Grants and the top ten percent, and properly funding community colleges in Texas.
For the best higher education system, it is imperative that the state recognize and support what is oftentimes the bridge to four year colleges and universities: community colleges. Increasing the role of early college high schools, and empowering these colleges ensures that a higher education is within reach of every Texas student that desires one.
State Representative Garnet F. Coleman (D-Houston) chairs the Committee on County Affairs, and serves on the Public Health and Calendars Committees. He also chairs the Legislative Study Group, a house caucus comprised of over 50 members that are committed to developing sound public policy for Texas families. Additionally, he serves on the Select Committee on Federal Economic Stabilization Funding.
Of all the ballot propositions, this is the one I feel the most strongly about. I’m voting for Prop 4, and I hope you will as well.