Make a statewide commitment to enlist community organizations, businesses, and religious congregations in providing volunteer classroom mentors for every child who fails the TAKS test in the third grade, with the goal of getting them back on track within a year. Studies show that third grade is critical; half the students who later drop out of high school had significant challenges by the ripe young age of eight. Actively engaging with vulnerable students at this pivotal point will help ensure that every child achieves his or her potential and Texas has the talent it needs to lead the future.

Hughes served as the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs from 2005 to 2007. She is now the global vice chair of the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. She lives in Austin.

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