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Posts under ‘School days’

In which we find another way to suck at textbooks

Oh, good Lord. If the State Board of Education approves a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook this fall, Texas students could learn that the Aztecs waged war because of “bloodlust,” 19th-century Mexican industrial laborers often drank on the job and slavery was in swift decline just before the Civil War, scholars and activists said at a […]

Abbott pre-K plan falls short

Well, duh. In Texas, where pre-K is scorned by some conservative activists as “godless,” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s major education initiative is giving classrooms far less money than many once thought, causing even the district of the governor’s high school alma mater to now rebuff his plan. Texas handed out $116 million in pre-K grants […]

La Marque ISD lawsuit tossed

The end of the line for La Marque ISD. A Texas appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to halt the annexation of the La Marque school district by Texas City ISD. The 3rd Texas Court of Appeals on Friday dismissed the lawsuit, saying that it lacked jurisdiction and that the lower court erred in […]

TAB says it wants better pre-K in Texas

I have three things to say about this. The Texas Association of Business wants the state to offer a full school day of taxpayer-funded pre-K and plans to push lawmakers in that direction next year, the group announced this week. TAB board members voted unanimously in favor of expanding its policy platform to include full-day […]

STAAR screwups

From the Observer: Texas’ standardized testing program wasn’t exactly popular before the 2015-2016 school year, but this year’s State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) has been an especially frustrating experience for Texas students, parents and school officials. New testing contractor Educational Testing Service, in the first year of a four-year, $280 million contract […]

On big money high school stadiums

Texas Monthly is against ’em. As a part of a $220 million bond package, McKinney ISD is adding an opulent events center and 12,000-seat high school football stadium that will cost a total of $62.8 million. According to the Dallas Morning News, the stadium, set to open in 2017, will cost $50.3 million itself with […]

Lawsuit filed over STAAR exams

Interesting. A backlash against this year’s STAAR exams escalated Monday when a group of parents sued the state in an attempt to keep schools from using 2016 test scores to rate students — including deciding whether students should advance to the next grade or attend summer school. The lawsuit, filed against the Texas Education Agency […]

Paxton asks the feds if they’re sure about that bathroom thing

Just checking, I’m sure. Will public schools really lose federal education funding if they refuse to comply with a new Obama administration directive regarding transgender students? That’s the basic query posed by top lawyers from Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in a letter sent Tuesday to the U.S. Justice and Education departments seeking clarification on […]

TEA Commissioner has no opinion yet on federal transgender bathroom directive

Noted for the record. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath on Tuesday praised the state Supreme Court’s recent opinion upholding the state’s public school funding system and demurred on questions about bathroom use by transgender students. “Last time I checked, it was a free country,” Morath said in a wide-ranging interview with The Texas Tribune’s Evan […]

HISD finishes renaming schools

From last week: Eight names that have adorned Houston school buildings, uniforms and yearbooks for decades will vanish next year after trustees came together Thursday to approve new ones without Confederate ties. The renaming decisions followed months of controversy that had split the school board, heightened racial tensions, and fueled mixed reactions from parents, students […]

Federal action on schools accommodating transgender bathroom use

Glad to see this. The Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. A letter to school districts will go out Friday, adding to a highly charged debate over transgender rights in the […]

Dan Patrick is obsessed with children’s bathrooms

This guy, I swear. Transgender advocates derided Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday for what they described as his “fake outrage” over the Fort Worth school district’s new transgender bathroom guidelines, calling the Republican a shameless bully. “A bully like Dan Patrick can’t go unchallenged. He is wrong,” said Joel Burns, an openly gay former […]

First look at how HISD will balance its budget

Seems to be fairly well-received. The Houston school district’s interim superintendent on Thursday rescinded his proposal to reduce funding for gifted students amid concerns from parents and board members. At the same time, Ken Huewitt proposed bolstering the budgets of schools with significant concentrations of low-income students, using $21 million from federal funds. Schools with […]

Lawsuits filed over teacher evaluations

This ought to be interesting. A statewide teachers group filed a lawsuit Wednesday in an attempt to block the state from implementing a controversial system that for the first time ties assessments of educators to student performance on standardized tests. In a lawsuit filed against Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath in Travis County District Court, […]

Alma Allen for HISD Superintendent?

It could happen. State Rep. Alma Allen, a former school principal, has emerged as a high-profile contender for the HISD superintendent’s job during the early stages of the search. The Houston Democrat, who retired from the Houston Independent School District in 2000 and served on the State Board of Education for much of the 1990s, […]

On teaching kids who don’t speak English

From The Atlantic: Out of all the cities in Texas, this would seemingly have been the one where schools knew how to help Spanish-speaking students learn. El Paso is progressive and welcoming, and is more than 80 percent Latino. Its close ties with Ciudad Juarez, just across the border, means that the city embraces its […]

Irving ISD sues AG’s office over Ahmed Mohamed

Oh, brother. Ahmed Mohamed’s former school district has sued the Texas Attorney General — defying an order to reveal details of a federal investigation related to the Muslim teen’s arrest after bringing a homemade clock to school last year. Dozens of Democratic U.S. Congress members called for a civil rights investigation of Irving officials last September, after Ahmed was handcuffed […]

Grier departs HISD

We await his successor. Terry Grier steps aside as Houston’s school superintendent on Monday after a six-and-a-half year tenure marked by aggressive reform efforts, high staff turnover and mixed academic results. His replacement will inherit a stubborn racial achievement gap and lagging student test scores. Based on state ratings last year, 20 percent of the […]

HISD girds for budget cuts

Welcome to the job, Ken Huewitt. Isn’t this fun? Houston’s deputy superintendent on Thursday presented the school board with the deepest round of proposed budget cuts since 2011, leaving principals to decide between slashing staff, supplies, field trips or other activities. Ken Huewitt, who transitions to interim superintendent next week, called for teachers’ jobs to […]

HISD names an interim Superintendent

It’s who we expected. The Houston school board’s search for a new superintendent took a step back Wednesday as trustees severed ties with the firm they selected two months ago and agreed to start fresh with another. The district likely will be out some money, at least for expenses incurred by the Iowa-based consultants, but […]

Three more HISD schools to be renamed

I have three things to say about this. The new campuses to be renamed, joining four others approved on split votes in January, are Albert Sidney Johnston and Sidney Lanier middle schools and Jefferson Davis High School. Johnston was a high-ranking Confederate general, Lanier was a Confederate soldier and poet, and Davis was president of […]

What do you want in a new HISD Superintendent?

Take the survey and let them know. The Houston school board has started seeking community input on the desired traits for a new superintendent, with the goal of hiring a new leader by July. A survey posted on the district’s website lists 33 qualities and asks parents, students, teachers, staff and others to pick the […]

HISD board moves to change some school names

There may be more to come at a later date. The five-trustee majority also voted to rename Henry Grady, Richard Dowling and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson middle schools and Robert E. Lee High School. Now, a committee at each school, including a teacher, student, parent and alumnus, will be charged with proposing a new name to […]

New La Marque ISD trustees want to stop lawsuit against the TEA

Not sure about this. Last month, the La Marque Independent School District’s board of trustees voted to mount a legal challenge to the state’s decision to close the troubled Galveston County district after years of academic and financial problems. Now, a new controversy has added to tensions over the state’s plans to have the district […]

New school board for La Marque selected

Another step in the process. The Texas education commissioner on Friday announced the appointments of a new superintendent and a board of managers for the troubled La Marque school district, replacing a board that is legally challenging an order for the district to be annexed next year by the Texas City ISD. The appointments were […]

Two school finance stories

Tough times in the oil patch mean tough times for school districts in the oil patch. The U.S. shale boom flooded the state’s public schools with a gusher of cash, but that windfall is disappearing nearly as fast as it arrived, making some newly wealthy districts nervous about their financial outlook amid a crude slump […]

Let’s find a super Super

The search is on for a Terry Grier successor. The search for a new HISD superintendent should start in earnest this week. The school board plans to vote Thursday to authorize spending up to $70,000 on the search and to hire Iowa-based Ray and Associates to lead the process. The firm, based in Cedar Rapids, […]

La Marque ISD to fight closure

Good luck. The La Marque school board Monday voted to wage a legal battle to keep the state from dissolving the school district, the Texas Education Agency said. La Marque officials could not be reached for comment, but a spokeswoman for the Education Agency said that the board voted to hire an attorney to contest […]

State to close La Marque ISD

They don’t know what they’re going to do with it, and that’s a problem. Galveston County’s La Marque ISD will officially be no more as of July 1, 2016, state education officials confirmed. On Thursday, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams notified La Marque ISD officials of the decision to revoke their accreditation. “The district will […]

Do homeschoolers have to actually teach anything?

That’s a real question being asked of our State Supreme Court. In an empty office at the family’s El Paso motorcycle dealership, Laura McIntyre says her nine kids were learning. McIntyre’s brother-in-law says they were singing and playing instruments. Learning was unnecessary, one of the children allegedly said, because “they were going to be raptured.” […]

Our stupid social studies

Unbelievable, except that it totally is believable. The publisher of one of Texas’ controversial social studies textbooks has agreed to change a caption that describes African slaves as immigrant “workers” after a Houston-area mom’s social media complaints went viral over the weekend. On Wednesday, Roni Dean-Burren of Pearland posted a screen shot on Facebook of […]

No decision on interim Superintendent

The HISD Board of Trustees is still deciding how to proceed in the wake of Superintendent Terry Grier’s resignation. Trustee Anna Eastman said after [Tuesday’s board] meeting that she continues to have a lot of questions about how the job-order contracts have been administered. Among other things the audit showed that the district’s Construction and […]

HISD will begin process of renaming schools with Confederate ties

Good. [HISD] trustees plan to start the process with a vote to revise the district’s policy to state explicitly that names should be non-discriminatory. The revised policy also details how the board can initiate renaming schools. Board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones said this week that after the policy gains approval, she will propose renaming at least […]

What next for HISD?

The board ponders its options for Superintendent while they prepare to search for a successor to Dr. Terry Grier. The Houston Independent School District board is set to meet Tuesday morning to discuss the district’s next steps after Superintendent Terry Grier’s surprise announcement Thursday that he was stepping down effective March 1. Board president Rhonda […]