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Posts Tagged ‘schools’

Even the SBOE opposes vouchers and the bathroom bill

A rare bout of sanity. The Texas State Board of Education is known for its conservative ideals, but a majority of its Republican members said Tuesday they oppose GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s demand that lawmakers pass a school voucher program and a bathroom law in next month’s special session. Most of the education issues Abbott […]

Wisconsin case undermines even the scaled back bathroom bill

Special session or not, this could be a big deal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit likely just handed the Supreme Court a new case about a transgender student to consider. The Court’s opinion, issued Tuesday, eviscerates a Wisconsin school’s arguments for discriminating against one of its students. Ashton Whitaker (“Ash”), now […]

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 […]

School finance bill is dead

It started with this. State Rep. Dan Huberty said Wednesday that he would not accept the Senate’s changes to his school finance bill, launching a last-ditch effort to hammer out a compromise with less than a week left in the session. After a passionate speech railing on the Senate for gutting his bill, Huberty, a […]

How bad is the “Patrick Lite” bathroom bill?

For one view, there’s this, from Texas Competes: A review of press coverage shows that the Texas “bathroom bill” debate generated $216 million in publicity for the state of Texas in the period from January 10, 2016 through May 22, 2017. During the 85th Texas legislative session, 25,774 local, state, and national articles were written […]

MALDEF gets injunction in recapture lawsuit

From their website: Please attribute the following statement on a Texas court ruling ordering state education officials to cease bypassing existing school funding rules to Marisa Bono, Southwest regional counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund): “MALDEF is pleased that the District Court saw through efforts by the Texas Education Agency to […]

Senate wrecks school finance bill

It’s what they do. The Texas Senate has scrapped much of a proposal to revise how the state funds education in place of a plan to create a school voucher program for children with disabilities. The bill passed the Senate 21-10 at 12:50 a.m. Monday, marking the second time in two months the chamber has […]

One last look at the recapture re-vote

There’s a lot at stake here, and not a whole lot of people voting on it. For the second time in seven months, voters within the Houston Independent School District will determine how – and if – it should pay tens of millions to help subsidize districts that collect little in property taxes. The vote […]

Business groups endorse a Yes on recapture re-vote

It’s a very different campaign this time around. The Greater Houston Partnership and other local organizations whose members own some of the city’s priciest commercial real estate have come out in support of a ballot measure over whether the Houston Independent School District should pay its share of property taxes to the state as part […]

Investigation requested into voucher astroturfing

From the Quorum Report: Following a criminal complaint by a GOP former lawmaker, an Austin representative has asked the Travis County District Attorney’s Office to look a letter-writing campaign that has deeply troubled rural Republicans in the Texas House who are opposed to school vouchers. In a letter obtained by Quorum Report this evening, Rep. […]

Making vaccination information public

I support this. While most parents in Texas vaccinate their children, the number of parents opting out of immunizations for non-medical reasons is on the rise. Since Texas changed its laws to allow parents to opt out citing a conscientious objection, the number of unvaccinated children has shot up more than 1,700 percent in 13 […]

One more thing about vouchers

I’m going to enjoy this just a little bit more. The Texas House of Representatives all but killed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s prized school choice bill Thursday, dealing the powerful Republican a major loss as he struggles to push his agenda through this year’s legislative session. House members considering the state’s budget plan for the […]

What HISD is saying about recapture

Here’s their official webpage. I think you’ll be able to discern their position. HISD voters will be asked on May 6 how the district should pay its Recapture obligation to the state of Texas: by Purchasing Attendance Credits or through Detachment of Commercial Property. Here’s the language that will appear on the ballot: “Authorizing the […]

MALDEF files suit over change to recapture

This is a twist. Texas education officials illegally changed how property taxes are calculated in wealthy school districts, with the effect of substantially reducing the funds available for schools in poorer districts, a lawsuit filed Thursday charged. The change would cost the state’s poorer schools districts and their students approximately $440 million per year or […]

Reintroducing recapture

The tune has changed, and it’s time we make sure everyone knows it. It felt like déjà vu to many of the 150 people who packed into Tinsley Elementary School’s auditorium Wednesday evening. Facing another controversial Houston ISD school finance referendum, speakers debated two unfavorable options, both of which will cost the school district millions […]

Vouchers get their Senate hearing

Here we go again with this nonsense. Senate Bill 3, authored by Republican Sen. Larry Taylor of Friendswood, would establish educational savings accounts and tax credit scholarships to fund various costs associated with parents moving their children from traditional public schools to private, parochial, or charter schools. In an online payment process, parents could use […]

Mike Floyd for Pearland ISD

What were you doing when you were 18 years old? Probably not running for school board. Michael Floyd isn’t your typical high school senior. The Dawson High School student says he’s been involved in politics since he was in fourth grade. “I was the one kid who had a Barack Obama bumper sticker on my […]

It’s HCDE hunting season again

Every two years, like clockwork. A Houston-area legislator has filed two bills targeting the Harris County Department of Education, renewing his assault on the agency that provides special education therapy services to hundreds of students. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Republican whose district covers much of northwest Harris County, said he was upset that the […]

House releases school finance fix bill

A step in the right direction. The top public education policymaker in the Texas House unveiled a $1.6 billion plan on Monday that he described as a first step to overhauling the state’s beleaguered school funding system. At a Capitol press conference, state Rep. Dan Huberty said House Bill 21 would boost per-student funding for […]

Abby Whitmire: Why I’m running for Humble ISD Board of Trustees

(Note: As you know, I solicit guest posts from time to time. I am also working to follow the May 2017 elections more closely, to do my part for the renewed sense of purpose and desire to make a difference at the local level. I was delighted to learn that a friend of mine had […]

Huberty says vouchers are dead this session

Always nice to hear. The top education policy official in the Texas House said Tuesday that he would not allow the approval of school vouchers this legislative session, a blunt pronouncement that could be fatal to the prospects for legislation that is a priority for many top Republicans in the state. The official, House Public […]

Trump and the anti-vaxxers

In case you needed another reason to dislike Donald Trump. President Trump’s embrace of discredited theories linking vaccines to autism has energized the anti-vaccine movement. Once fringe, the movement is becoming more popular, raising doubts about basic childhood health care among politically and geographically diverse groups. Public health experts warn that this growing movement is threatening one of […]

Trump Justice Department to drop appeals in transgender bathroom directive case

From ThinkProgress: The Trump administration has elected not to contest a Texas federal judge’s injunction barring the federal government from implementing Obama administration guidelines that protect transgender kids in schools. Oral arguments for the Obama Justice Department’s appeal of the judge’s decision were scheduled for Tuesday. The DOJ cancelled them in a legal brief submitted […]

How SB6 will hurt people

Nell Gaither counts the ways. SB 6 identifies a target without naming it and erases policy intended to offer at least some protection for vulnerable populations, building a legal excuse for harming those people and for coercing them not to fight back. Once the law is in place, the “responsible adults” will turn their backs […]

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 […]

Senate to begin studying school finance changes

We’ll see what this looks like. Leaders in the Texas Senate are vowing to find ways to overhaul the state’s school finance system, saying a recent Texas Supreme Court decision granted them a prime opportunity to shake up the heavily criticized status quo. On Monday, they announced the creation of a Senate budget working group […]

Time to pay attention to the HCDE again

Some highlights from the HCDE meeting agenda for this Thursday at 1 PM, as emailed to me: 1. Changing board meeting dates. 2. Michael Wolfe wants to name our Post Oak facility for his deceased mother. 3. Create a Home School Division. 4. Create a School Choice Division. 5. Create a board services division that […]

Paxton courts the business lobby

Not sure what to make of this. Making his case for the “bathroom bill” to Texas business leaders, Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday that Senate Bill 6 would have a narrow focus, and he urged them to listen to parents “just concerned about the safety of their children.” […] Paxton, who has been battling […]

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, […]

Where we begin with school finance

A nice overview from the Trib on school finance, where the problems are many and the budget situation is non-optimal. The current system is held together by a number of short-term fixes that have not been updated or reformed in decades. The Texas Supreme Court upheld the funding system as constitutional in May, and at […]

Feds officially file appeal in transgender bathroom directive lawsuit

This may be the last stop. With two weeks left, the Obama administration has asked a federal appeals court to throw out a lower court’s decision that suspended policies designed to protect transgender people’s access to restrooms — a sign the current leadership of the Justice Department will close shop mid-fight on one of its […]

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 […]