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Learning a lesson in participatory government from our Student Congress

2015 March 26
by HISD Communications

HISD is in the middle of creating a profile highlighting the qualities and skills our graduates should possess to be competitively “global” – ready to function in this increasingly complex world. Among others, the characteristics we’ve identified are leadership, communications, and critical thinking skills.

Our HISD Student Congress — of students, by students, for students — has a jump on meeting that profile. The congress blossomed from senior Zaakir Tameez’s project last spring at Carnegie Vanguard HS, with an initial group of high school juniors and seniors from Bellaire, Carnegie, Lamar, and Yates high schools, to a districtwide group today representing more than 30 of our high schools.

These are bright, perceptive, committed young people who want a voice in their schools, their communities, and their world. Nine of them were excited to spend part of their spring break visiting lawmakers in Austin, learning about the legislative process, and lobbying for early childhood education. After meeting these go-getters, I was happy to support their trip, just as the HISD board had been in voting to sanction the organization.

The Student Congress has a lively Twitter account (@HISDStuCon), and a website ( We’re proud of their self-directed efforts to make a difference by grassroots commitment — and think all the grownups who sit on the sidelines in our participatory democracy could learn a thing or two from them.

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