News

Community Schools on the Leg Radar

The Houston Chronicle (12-4-14) reviews key education issues in the 2015 session, with community schools high on the list. In response to efforts to focus on voucher and other “school choice” programs, the article states that: “Teacher groups plan to counter these efforts with a push to again make public schools the center of the local…

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SBOE Considering Graduation Rules Nov. 20

Weigh in now on proposed graduation rules. Email the State Board of Education or testify  Nov. 20th! After statewide public pressure, the Texas legislature last spring passed House Bill 5, an omnibus education package that reduced standardized testing for Texas high school students and revised graduation requirements for all students entering ninth grade in the 2014-15…

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Judge To Reopen School Finance Suit in January 2014

On January 21, 2014, State District Judge John Dietz will reopen the case challenging Texas school finance system in a new round of legal proceedings that could last up to four weeks. Dietz has already found the state’s school funding system unconstitutional, but wants to consider actions by the 2013 legislature before issuing his final ruling….

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Education Bills Down to the Wire

The major education bills, SB2 (charters) and HB 5 (testing) are still being negotiated as the clock on the current session ticks down. Both bills could be vehicles for other education bills that have died, including SB 1718, the Texas Achievement District bill that would allow state takeover of schools that fail to meet state standards…

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House and Senate Negotiate School Funding

House and Senate conferees on the state budget have begun negotiating to harmonize their differing proposals. The Center for Public Policy Priorities delivered an open letter to the negotiators today on the status of key portions of the budget, including some telling points on funding for public education. They wrote: “We support the higher level of…

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TEA Commissioner’s A-F Performance Rating Plan

(From the Dallas Morning News. Note: the new performance rating system, while a welcome change, still uses testing criteria as the only measure of the quality of a campus.) A new school performance rating system that will spotlight how well schools are doing to close long-standing achievement gaps between white and minority students was announced Tuesday…

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Bill proposes state takeover of campuses

Senate Bill 1718 (West) proposes that the state would take over campuses that are underperforming on state tests for 3 consecutive years. Using a poorly-fundtioning model pioneered in Louisiana, Texas would form the “Texas Achievement District,” which would take responsibility for the campuses away from local school districts. In many (if not most) cases, the schools…

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Voucher Bill Set for Hearing on Tuesday

The Senate Education Committee will hear testimony for Senate Bill 115. which proposes vouchers for students with disabilities. The bill is being proposed by Sen. Tommie Williams. The hearing will begin at 8:30 am on Tuesday, March 5 in hearing room E1.028. For more information about vouchers, click here.

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Senate Panel Votes to Add $1.5 Billion Back into School Budget

The Senate Finance Committee voted to include $1.5 billion in the budget for public education, over and above funding for student growth (which was not funded in 2009-2013). This is still far short of the $5.4 billion cuts from schools in the 2011 session. $40 million of the $200 million in state grants would be restored…

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Texas’ School Funding System Ruled Unconstitutional

On Feb. 4, Judge John Dietz declared that the way Texas funds schools is both inadequate and unfair. Responding to lawsuits brought by over 600 school districts, Dietz criticized the state legislature for raising standards while at the same time cutting resources to meet those standards. The ruling will now be appealed to the Texas Supreme…

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