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Posts under ‘School days’

HISD board fills Manuel Rodriguez’s seat

The HISD Board of Trustees is back to full strength. The Houston ISD Board of Education voted to appoint José Leal to fill the seat left vacant after the death of longtime District III Trustee Manuel Rodríguez Jr last month. Board members chose Leal unanimously during a special meeting Monday afternoon. Leal has more than […]

HISD and the TEA

Still catching up on things. Texas education officials are warning that Houston ISD could be placed under the jurisdiction of state-appointed managers as early as next year if 13 district schools don’t show improvement. The warning was issued during a meeting [last] Monday between Texas Education Agency officials and Houston’s legislative delegation. TEA officials told […]

RIP, Manuel Rodriguez

Sad news. Every Tuesday at 8 a.m., Houston ISD Trustee Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez, Jr., would roll his maroon mobility scooter up to his favorite table at the Tel-Wink Restaurant & Grill in Southeast Houston. Rodriguez always left the seat across from him empty. Constituents and complete strangers knew those were his office hours — the […]

No changes to HISD magnet programs

Not this year, anyway. Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza this week withdrew a plan to deeply cut funding for the district’s magnet programs over the next three years, shelving a proposal that had angered parents and some school board members who consider the specialized academic programs to be jewels in an oft-troubled school system. The […]

SBOE approves new evolution standard

Shockingly, it doesn’t suck. The Texas State Board of Education tentatively voted to remove language in high school biology standards that would have required students to challenge evolutionary science. Currently, the curriculum requires students to “evaluate” scientific explanations for the origins of DNA and the complexity of certain cells, which some have argued could open […]

Some things never evolve

The SBOE, for instance. The Texas State Board of Education on Wednesday voted preliminarily for science standards that would keep in language that some say opens the door to creationism. The votes came a day after the board heard from scientists begging them to remove the language. Board members are set to hold a second […]

A re-vote on recapture?

This is very interesting. After reconsideration of an 18-year-old law, state education officials are adjusting their school finance calculations in a way that could save several dozen school districts roughly $100 million — while costing the state the same amount in revenue. One of the apparent beneficiaries is Houston ISD, where the change means taxpayers […]

Lawsuit threatened over special education limits

The clock is ticking. Disability advocates on Monday threatened to sue the Texas Education Agency unless the state permanently ends its special education enrollment benchmark within the next month. The advocates said immediate action is necessary because of the “devastating harm” caused by the benchmark. The state already has suspended and pledged to eventually eliminate […]

The GLSEN 2015 National School Climate Survey

A lot of the stuff we talk about when we discuss Dan Patrick’s bathroom bill is business – the opposition from businesses, the political ramifications of a GOP/business schism, the economics of the bathroom bill, etc etc etc. But schools and students are a big piece of the picture here, as the lawsuit against the […]

Sung and Vilaseca sworn in at HISD

The HISD Board is back at full strength. As Anne Sung and Holly Flynn Vilaseca took their oaths of office and became Houston ISD’s newest Board of Education trustees on Thursday, their husbands swaddled their months-old babies in one hand and held holy books in the other. Sung’s 11-month-old daughter, Sarita, and Flynn Vilaseca’s 13-month-old, […]

HISD Board appoints Meyers replacement

Meet your new Trustee. Houston ISD’s Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to name former Teach for America staffer Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca as its new District VI trustee. Flynn Vilaseca, who will replace outgoing Trustee Greg Meyers, will be sworn in at the board’s Thursday regular board meeting along with Anne Sung, the […]

New school grading system looks pretty harsh

Brace yourselves. Schools in poor neighborhoods overwhelmingly received the worst grades under Texas’ new rating system — but even typically high-performing districts got C’s and D’s, according to scores that will be released Friday. The “what if” grades show how schools and districts could fare in the new A-F system, which won’t take effect until […]

“Denied”: HISD and special education

There are problems here as well. Superintendent Richard Carranza announced Thursday that the Houston Independent School District has decided to conduct a detailed review of the way that it serves students with disabilities. The effort will include asking “independent, third-party experts to conduct a deep-dive analysis of our special education operation,” Carranza said. The newly-hired […]

Here’s your chance to give feedback on special education

The feds are coming to Texas to hear what you have to say about it. The U.S. Department of Education is sending representatives to tour Texas and take comment from school community members on special education, continuing to look at whether the state is denying services to students with disabilities. Representatives from the Office of […]

TEA officially backs off special education limits

We’ll see about that. Facing increasing criticism over its special education enrollment benchmark, the Texas Education Agency this week told schools that they must provide services to all eligible students with disabilities and that they will no longer be penalized for serving too many children. In a five-page letter, Penny Schwinn, the agency’s deputy commissioner […]

SBOE rejects that lousy Mexican-American studies textbook

Nice. The State Board of Education voted 14-0 Wednesday to deny the adoption of a Mexican-American studies textbook decried by opponents as racist and inaccurate. The textbook, titled “Mexican American Heritage,” was the only submission the board received when it made a 2015 call for textbooks for high school social studies classes, including Mexican-American studies. […]

“Denied”, continued

Here’s Part 2 of the Chron’s reporting on special education limits. A few days before school began here in 2007, district administrators called an emergency staff meeting. The Texas Education Agency had determined that they had too many students in special education, the administrators announced, and they had come up with a plan: Remove as […]

TEA says no more special ed limits

We’ll see about that. The Texas Education Agency has agreed to stop auditing school districts that give specialized education to more than 8.5 percent of students, officials announced Wednesday, cheering experts, advocates and lawmakers outraged by the policy. In a letter to the U.S. Department of Education, which had ordered the state to eliminate the […]

Still talking about recapture

This Chron story from Monday adds a bit more to the recapture discussion. As one Houston school board member sees it, the district’s November ballot measure regarding the state-mandated forfeiture of local tax dollars offers no good choice for voters. “Do you want to be shot in the head or stabbed in the back? Both […]

HISD Trustee Mike Lunceford to resign

This came as a surprise. Mike Lunceford — who has represented Bellaire on the Houston ISD Board of Education for seven years — made a surprise announcement at Thursday night’s board meeting that he is resigning, effective immediately. He had just assumed blame for some trustees’ concerns over communication about a proposed $7.5 million gift […]

KHSPVA

That will be the new acronym for the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. After impassioned debate, the Houston school board voted 7-2 Thursday to accept a $7.5 million gift for the district’s renowned arts high school and to rename the campus after the donors in an unprecedented move. The Kinder Foundation, run […]

Feds intervene in Texas special education mess

Good. The federal government on Monday ordered Texas state officials to eliminate an 8.5 percent benchmark on special education enrollment enforced in the state’s 1,200 school districts unless they can show that it had not kept children with disabilities from receiving appropriate educational services. The U.S. Department of Education directed the state to report back […]

Superintendents begin speaking out against special education limits

Good for them. The leaders of two of the state’s biggest school districts are calling on the Texas Education Agency to stop penalizing districts for giving specialized education to more kids than the agency has deemed prudent. Superintendents Michael Hinojosa of Dallas and Pedro Martinez of San Antonio came out against the arbitrary enrollment target […]

School district to join lawsuit over STAAR test

Interesting. Ben Becker, the Houston father who helped organize a legal fight over last year’s STAAR exams, has repeatedly challenged superintendents over the last few months to join him in court to fight for their students. Becker describes his group as a handful of Texas parents up against the state of Texas, backed by a […]

TEA will review special ed limits

It’s a start. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said Wednesday that his office is reviewing a monitoring system that sets an 8.5 percent benchmark for special education enrollments and strictly audits school districts with enrollments that exceed that rate for students with disabilities. The Chronicle reported Sunday that TEA officials had arbitrarily selected the 8.5 […]

Some officials take note of special education funding restrictions

It’s a start. The vice chairman of the State Board of Education, a Houston school board member, a key state senator and scores of parents and disability advocates all expressed strong opposition on Monday to a Texas Education Agency performance-based monitoring system that has kept thousands of disabled children out of special education since 2004. […]

Publisher of crappy Mexican American Studies textbook defends said textbook

It’s not that crappy, she swears. The publisher of a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook that scholars, elected officials and Hispanic activists have decried as racist and inaccurate is defending the high school text ahead of a public hearing on the book Tuesday before the Texas State Board of Education. “There’s never been a book in […]

“Denied”

This is worth your time to read. During the first week of school at Shadow Forest Elementary, a frail kindergartner named Roanin Walker had a meltdown at recess. Overwhelmed by the shrieking and giggling, he hid by the swings and then tried to escape the playground, hitting a classmate and biting a teacher before being […]

The recapture blues

What are you gonna do? At least once a year, an official from a property-wealthy Texas school calls Christy Rome and tells her they’re just not going to do it. They don’t want to send a big chunk of their tax dollars to the state, even though they’re required to do so under a state […]

No injunction against HISD school name changes

The changes can remain, at least for now. A civil court judge has declined to stop the Houston school district from changing the names of eight campuses that were named after Confederate loyalists. Judge John Wooldridge this week denied a request by several taxpayers suing the district to temporarily halt the renaming of the schools […]

Superintendent Carranza on bathroom access

This is what I like to see and hear. The new HISD superintendent, Richard Carranza, did not discuss specifics but certainly signaled an open-minded approach to the issue of which restrooms students should be allowed to use. “I think, you know, kids are human beings, and I think that a human being should be treated […]

Strange HISD referendum to be on the ballot

This will be weird. Because of the state’s byzantine financing system, HISD will have to either send almost $162 million in local taxpayers’ money to the state or stand by to see some of the district’s most valuable properties assigned to other school districts by the Texas Education Agency. (Local businesses aren’t too wild about […]

School finance can always get worse

Now here’s a brilliant, why-didn’t-we-think-of-that-before idea: Give schools less money as incentive to do better. Depending on whose measure you’re using, Texas is somewhere between 38th and 49th in the nation when it comes to per-student funding. Instead of wallowing in our poor luck, or paying something closer to the national average, Senate Education Chairman […]

Meet the latest education scam

Free money! What could possibly go wrong? An ambitious new player has emerged in the controversial effort to use taxpayer dollars to help Texas parents send their kids to private or religious schools. Texans for Education Opportunity, which launched in May, supports all forms of “school choice,” including charters and traditional public schools, said Executive […]