U.S. Rep Joaquin Castro addresses the crowd before introducing his brother Julián. Photo by Scott Ball.
U.S. Rep Joaquín Castro addresses the crowd before introducing his brother. Photo by Scott Ball.

On March 9, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and his twin brother U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro will headline The Atlantic Magazine‘s forum on early education at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel.

“Early Education: The San Antonio Experience” will focus on the lessons and opportunities the city encountered as it made efforts toward universal pre-k. San Antonio has a unique voice in the national discussion when it comes to engaging immigrant and minority populations.

Click here to register for the event.

Other speakers will include:

  • Libby Doggett, U.S. Department of Education deputy assistant secretary for Policy and Early Learning

  • Dale Farran, senior associate director of the Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt University

  • State Rep. Dan Huberty (R-127)

  • Richard Perez, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce president and CEO

  • Councilman Ray Lopez (D6)

The various panels will discuss San Antonio’s Pre- K 4 SA program, the city’s broader educational record, and its implications for national policy. Experts and policy-makers will explore whether the city’s initiatives should be scaled to a national model, or whether these issues are best addressed at the local level.

San Antonio took a major step in national leadership on early education in 2012 when voters approved  a 1/8-cent sales tax increase to fund Pre-K 4 SA, the city’s early childhood program.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro speaks to the crowd. Photo by Scott Ball.
HUD Secretary Julián Castro speaks at a recent Bibliotech event. Photo by Scott Ball.

Pre-K 4 SA was a major initiative of then-Mayor Julián Castro. He appointed a blue-ribbon task force, The Brainpower Initiative, to determine the most effective ways to influence education outcomes and begin to close San Antonio’s yawning achievement gap. The Brianpower Initiative identified early childhood education as an actionable key component to improved outcomes throughout a child’s educational career.

While Pre-K 4 SA will not be the only topic of discussion, representatives will sit on various panels throughout the morning, and attendees can expect the former mayor to have plenty to say about the program in its third year.

Editors Ron Brownstein and Emily DeRuy from The Atlantic will lead a series of in-depth panel discussions. This is the second event in The Atlantic’s 2016 “Next America” project, a series of reports and live events exploring how changing demography is transforming America. The first event, covering workforce and skills training, will be held on March 8 in Austin.


*Top image: U.S. Rep Joaquín Castro addresses the crowd before introducing his brother at a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Bekah McNeel

Bekah McNeel is a native San Antonian. You can also find her at her blog, FreeBekah.com, on Twitter @BekahMcneel, and on Instagram @wanderbekah.