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Posts Tagged ‘Rob Eissler’

Endorsement watch: Pennington

The Chron endorses CM Oliver Pennington for a third term. For the past four years, District G has been ably represented by attorney Oliver Pennington. We recommend a vote for Pennington to continue his service at city hall. Pennington, a retired Fulbright & Jaworski partner and 40-year District G resident, brings decades of invaluable experience […]

The prospects for increasing charter schools

According to the Trib, it’s trickier than it might look. Senate Bill 2, the centerpiece of Patrick’s plans for the session, is the most ambitious attempt to expand the state’s charter school system since it was established in 1995. To succeed, it will have to pass a Legislature that defeated more modest proposals just two […]

HCDE hires Eversole to lobby for them

From the Things That Make Me Do A Facepalm department: The HCDE has hired Jerry Eversole as a lobbyist. Yeah, that Jerry Eversole. Eversole was taciturn in discussing his work Thursday, saying department of education officials approached him. His contract will pay $45,000, plus expenses, between Dec. 1, 2012, and Aug. 31, and calls for […]

TAB yields on testing

Retreat! Some of the strongest advocates for high-stakes testing, Texas business leaders now want to cut the number of exams students must pass to finish high school, the latest attempt to ease tougher graduation requirements that went into effect last year. The number of high-stakes tests would fall from 15 to as few as six […]

Cuts are not increases, no matter how you spin it

This is the Chron overview of HD134, which is once again the highest profile legislative race in the county, in part because it’s a referendum on the 2010 election and the cuts to public education funding that resulted from that election. In an area that takes great pride in its schools, [Rep. Sarah Davis] went […]

STAAR pushback

The House Public Ed committee gets an earful. Members of the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday questioned why the first batch of students who took the end-of-course exams scored so poorly. For example, 55 percent of ninth-graders met the minimum passing standard on the English writing test, and only 3 percent hit the college […]

Politicians come and go, but campaign cash is forever

It seems that way, anyway. With the defeat of several incumbents in last week’s primaries, there’s a lot more unneeded campaign war chests lying around. Millions in unspent contributions have long lurked in former state lawmakers’ campaign bank accounts, often sitting idle until the cash eventually works its way back into the political system. There […]

Shapiro backs STAAR delay

This was unexpected. Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, said Monday in a letter to [TEA Commissioner Robert] Scott that ninth-graders taking the exams this year should be given a reprieve from the 15 percent requirement during the phase-in of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. “We strongly support the transition to […]

More classrooms with more kids

We all knew this was coming, but the numbers are more than I expected. Thousands of Texas public schoolchildren are in more crowded classes this year as districts claim financial hardship following state budget cuts. The number of elementary school classrooms exceeding the state’s class size cap has more than doubled since last year. […] […]

Higher standards mean lower ratings

Schools across the state have seen their academic ratings drop as a result of changes made in how the Texas Education Agency computes them. The new accountability ratings released Friday for public school campuses in the state’s 1,228 districts and charter schools present a “far more accurate look” at academic performance, Texas Education Commissioner Robert […]

Eissler changes class size bill

Hair Balls was first with the news. Rep. Rob Eissler (R- The Woodlands) whose House Bill 18 wanted to move the state to a cap of 25 students in each classroom, [Friday] instead made a floor substitution which only mildly tweaked the present classroom size regulations calling for a cap of 22 students in grades […]

Republicans admit that the Rainy Day fund has been spent

I’m sure you’ve heard Rick Perry and other Republicans talk about how they’ve “balanced” the budget without tapping into the Rainy Day fund. I’m sure you’ll be surprised to hear that they’re lying. Republicans have given up any pretense that they’re saving the remaining $6.5 billion rainy day fund for some unknown rainier day. House […]

Back to school finance

The Lege has started the process of picking up where it left off on school finance. The Trib reminds us how we got here. [T]he earlier failure of SB 1581, which put a behind-closed-doors conference committee in charge of any decisions about how to distribute $4 billion in cuts in state funding across school districts, […]

House gavels in and out

That was quick. The House gaveled in shortly after 10 a.m. today and adjourned about 10 minutes later after Speaker Joe Straus announced that he’ll have a better idea about the special session’s schedule when the body reconvenes at 10 a.m. Wednesday. So far, only one bill has been filed in the House, and Straus […]

Davis filibusters SB1811, special session looms for tomorrow

Hoo boy. Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, filibustered for a little more than an hour Sunday night, probably killing a school finance and revenue bill critical to the budget (it’s still possible for a four-fifths supermajority of the Senate to pull it up for a vote today). And the House hit a midnight deadline without […]

Vote on school finance today

On Friday night, the Lege finally reached an agreement on school finance, which is to say on how to distribute the $4 billion in cuts to public education to the school districts. Today the Lege gets to vote on that deal. House leaders wanted a two-year plan cutting school funding across the board by about […]

Still no school finance plan

Tonight’s the night for something to happen if it’s going to, because legislatively speaking there is no tomorrow. The 2012-13 state budget agreed to by House and Senate negotiators provides school districts $4 billion less than what they are owed under current law. Three proposals for how to spread that pain among school districts were […]

Great moments in understatement

State Rep. Rob Eissler, the author of the repeatedly postponed HB400, the bill that distributes the $7.8 billion in public education cuts to individual school districts, says what may be my favorite thing this session: Lawmakers who philosophically endorse reduced spending can balk at what that means practically: teachers losing jobs, getting paid less and […]

House class size bill fails to pass

HB400, the House bill that would among other things allow for larger class sizes and furloughs and pay cuts for teachers, failed to pass before the midnight deadline last night. The bill from Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, would have lifted the state’s student-teacher class size ratio in lower grades, changed requirements for teacher contract […]

School finance issues holding up budget deal

News flash: School finance reform is hard. Especially when all it’s doing is taking money away from everyone. The clock is a-tickin’ for Texas lawmakers to cobble together a budget compromise that enacts deep cuts to public education. But with less than three weeks left in the legislative session, neither chamber has debated, much less […]

Another point of order delays Eissler’s school bill

HB400, the bill by Rep. Rob Eissler that among other things raises the 22:1 student:teacher limit in grades K-4, came up for debate last night after the “sanctuary cities” bill got sidetracked by a point of order. Here was the original AP story about this bill going into the debate. Districts could increase class sizes, […]

The budget work is far from done

The Senate may have passed its budget via some creative interpretation of its rules, but there’s more to what has to happen now than just the conference committee. As Abby Rapoport notes, they still have to rewrite the formula for school finance. You see, under current law, schools are entitled to a certain amount per […]

Lege loosens graduation requirements

A sign of the times. The Texas House tentatively approved legislation Wednesday to make it easier for high school students to pass end-of-course exams, a move critics called “a substantial retreat” from school accountability. “This bill creates a clear, understandable path to graduation,” House Public Education Chair Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, said of his bill, […]

School finance reform bills on tap

Whether you look at the House budget or the slightly less drastic Senate version, public schools will not get the funding they are due under the current defined formulas. That means that how the funds are distributed needs to be redone as well. The first bills to tackle this highly sensitive issue have been laid […]

School district reserves

Rick Perry sure does like the idea of spending other people’s money. Pressed on using the Rainy Day Fund to help close of the state’s massive budget shortfall and avoid dramatic cuts, particularly to school funding, Gov. Rick Perry earlier this month pointed to another source of money he believes should be tapped first: the […]

Adding charter schools

There are currently 210 active charter schools, and state law limits the total number to 215. (Note that this refers to charter school networks as well, so those 210 schools translates to about 520 campuses.) There are about 56,000 students on waiting lists for charter schools in Texas. The Lege is doing the math. House […]

Republican legislators want SBOE do over on social studies

Good for them. Texas House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie; Public Education Chairman Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands; and House Administration Chairman Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth; criticized the new [social studies] standards. Various civil rights and minority advocacy organizations have opposed the standards, and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative-leaning education think tank, gave the […]

Murdock on the cuts to public education

Not too surprisingly, former state demographer Steve Murdock thinks that the looming cuts to public education are a long-term disaster for the state. He singled out pre-K and TEXAS grants as the top two items of concern. “I am very concerned,” said Murdock, a sociology professor at Rice University and the former state demographer who […]

More charter school stuff

Now that you’ve listened to my interview with Chris Barbic, here are a couple more charter school-related articles of interest. First, from the Trib, a story about charter schools getting help for facilities from the Permanent School Fund. Fledgling charter schools, like any other start-up business, have difficulty establishing credit. Because the schools must renew […]

The Trib talks to Rob Eissler

Here are a few brief video clips from the Texas Tribune conversation with State Rep. Rob Eissler, who is the House Public Education Committee chair. The full audio is here. Eissler, who believes the Rainy Day Fund will at least be used to close the gap in the 2010-2011 budget, does his best to sound […]

Still more on class size limits

Real good article in the Press about class size limits and the possible effects of raising them, which I’ve written about before. A couple of points: A famous education study done in Tennessee in the 1980s shows class size matters. In the four-year Project STAR (Student-Teacher Achievement Ratio) study, kindergarten-through-third-grade classes with 13-17 students in […]

Teach For America grants

In other education and budget news, there’s this. Texas lawmakers have ordered a study of Teach for America to help determine if the Peace Corps-like program, which recruits top college graduates to work in needy schools, is worth the state’s $8 million investment. The evaluation, due to the Legislature by Jan. 31, could serve as […]

The coming fight over class sizes

We’ve discussed the looming cuts to public education, in which the focus of the battle will be class size limits, which are currently mandated at 22 students per classroom. That was part of the sweeping 1984 overhaul of the education code that was spurred by Ross Perot, which included the no-pass no-play law. Research since […]

Scrap it and start over

Good to hear. Texas needs to scrap its school funding system and start all over, Senate Education Chair Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, said Thursday, as other members of a special school finance committee agreed that the existing system is hopelessly broken. “We need to find a better system that works for all of us,” said Shapiro, […]