- The need to mitigate growing inequalities based on access to quality higher education;
- The central importance of quality-of-life issues in attracting the talent that will grow the local economy;
- The challenge of building a truly successful, inclusive, equitable and united multiethnic society.
These are the key themes of a 30-year look at the evolution of Houston, a case study for major cities across the country. In “The Changing Face of Houston and America,” a fast-paced presentation packed with data, Stephen Klineberg of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University shared the findings of this study with members of the Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA) at its Annual Conference. In elaborating on the growing economic inequalities — and their distribution by race and ethnic group — Klineberg added to the above list an urgent need for strong, accessible early childhood education.
The session was an effective “mindset shifter,” nudging us to consider increased diversity not just in terms of strategic initiatives in school admission, hiring, and curriculum, but also as a demographic and sociological phenomenon. Klineberg’s film, Interesting Times, underscores this effect.
The crescendo of Klineberg’s ESHA presentation was the Q&A session including a visual tour of the city from the windows of our 11th-floor meeting space. We left inspired to think about our changing urban landscapes in new ways and with a fresh appreciation for Houston.
(Photos: Claudia Daggett)