March 10, 2020
By Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush
On Friday, March 6, I had the privilege of meeting with some incredibly bright and talented students at William Barrett Travis Elementary in Southeast Texas when I joined TXOGA president Todd Staples on the 2020 Statewide MOLU Tour. Community leaders and partners of the General Land Office’s response to Hurricane Harvey were also there, such as Jefferson County Judge Branick, Port Arthur ISD superintendent, and members of the school board, but this time we gathered in celebration. Bringing opportunities for hand-on, STEM learning about the energy industry is cause for applause.
As a former teacher, I understand the benefits that hands-on learning experiences provide, and you need only look to the eyes of these children for confirmation as they light up, fully engaged in an unforgettable, immersive experience.
The Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit does just that as it provides a tangible way to learn about the oil and natural gas business. The MOLU experience invites discussion surrounding the vast innovation and technology that’s utilized already, and the continued research and development that’s needed to keep this business going. Through learning experiences like these, children get to see early on in their educational career the opportunity that the energy industry provides and sits right in front of them – that they can achieve the American Dream.
The Texas Land Office made it a top priority in 2019 to travel the state to visit classrooms and engage discussions about just how influential the energy industry is to Texas, so it was an incredible opportunity to be able to continue on this mission last week with TXOGA. Both the energy industry and the Texas Land Office have been partners with education, whether by joining teachers, administrators, and education leaders to promote new, high-quality educational learning or together through the Texas Permanent School Fund.
Oil and natural gas continues to rank as one of the largest sources of revenue for public education. Few people know about the endowment we manage with the State Board of Education that’s value in excess of $30 billion, or the fact that our university systems are doing well because of the oil and natural gas industry. For the future of our state, and our county, we must continue to educate the next generation about oil and gas, and the opportunities the industry provides.