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Posts under ‘School days’

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 The Houston school district’s interim superintendent on Thursday rescinded his proposal to reduce funding for gifted students amid concerns from parents and board members.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 […]

Grier to step down as HISD Superintendent

This was sudden. Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier announced Thursday that he is stepping down effective on March 1. Grier became superintendent of Houston in 2009, leading the nation’s seventh largest school district to win the Broad Prize for Urban Education in 2013. “Time flies when you’re having fun. This is, like, year seven,” Grier […]

One more chance for LaMarque ISD

I hope they can take advantage of it. Headed into the new school year with La Marque Independent School District still facing an uncertain future, Superintendent Terri Watkins pledged to continue upward momentum in student achievement, keep a handle on the district’s finances and rebuild community trust. The district has introduced a new math curriculum […]

HISD bond concerns

It’s always something. A key Houston ISD school board member called Sunday for audits of the district’s 2012 bond program amid estimates of a $211 million shortfall and concerns about breaking promises to voters. Juliet Stipeche, chair of HISD’s audit committee, submitted her request for internal and external audits after a Davis High School teacher […]

Idiots protest at school

Jeez. The kindergarten and pre-K students experienced an early civics lesson Monday morning when they entered Houston Independent School District’s new Arabic Immersion Magnet School for the first day of class. At least a dozen protestors, some wearing red, white and blue, stood along the fenced perimeter of the campus, just north of the Heights […]

“Let’s just be real” about charter schools

Very interesting. “Let’s just be real,” Chris Barbic wrote last week when announcing his resignation as superintendent of Tennessee’s Achievement School District. Then Barbic admitted what skeptics of charter schools have preached for years — “achieving results in neighborhood schools is harder than in a choice environment.” Barbic, as founder of the highly acclaimed YES […]

The debate over changing Confederate-named schools in HISD

Predictably, not everybody likes the idea of rechristening HISD schools that were named for Confederate generals. Houston ISD board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones has said she wants her fellow trustees to consider renaming six campuses, following the June shooting deaths of nine black worshipers by an alleged white supremacist at a church in South Carolina. In […]

HISD Board President backs changing Confederate school names

Fine by me. Amid a growing move to shed symbols of the old, slave-owning South, the Houston school board president said Thursday that she supports renaming six campuses named after Confederate loyalists. Rhonda Skillern-Jones said she plans to discuss the issue with her fellow trustees at an upcoming meeting. Superintendent Terry Grier added that he […]

HISD’s test scores

Not so good. Needs to be better. Houston ISD high school students continue to struggle with reading and writing, passing state exams at significantly lower rates than the state average, new results show. The district’s scores in algebra, biology and U.S. history also dipped a couple of points from last year, at a slightly sharper […]

What now for Terry Grier?

The HISD Superintendent is in the last year of his contract, and it’s not clear whether it will get extended or not. Kashmere has made limited strides as one of the schools in Superintendent Terry Grier’s signature reform effort, called Apollo. Students passed their first AP exams and the graduation rate rose, yet the school […]

HISD mostly declines to rezone its schools

Lots of noise, not nearly as much action. A divided Houston school board on Thursday rejected most of the rezoning proposals designed to reduce class sizes after dozens of parents expressed concerns about families having to send their children to different campuses. Only two of the six proposals passed, with parents and board members in […]

Fort Bend ISD

A lot going on over there. With a fifth-grader in Palmer Elementary School in Missouri City, Steve Brown has begun to think about where his son should attend middle school. The campus is just a two-minute drive from the current one but the change has him concerned. According to the latest accountability rating, the middle […]

La Marque ISD gets a stay

Not so fast. Galveston County’s La Marque ISD received a lifeline Wednesday when state Education Commissioner Michael Williams agreed to put the district’s closure on hold. Williams said he would not shut down the district in July, as he had previously ordered, but would wait to make a final decision until the Texas Education Agency […]