Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘schools’

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 […]

“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 […]

Who is paying for public education

The state is paying less, while local districts are paying more. The state of Texas will spend a projected $40.5 billion on public education during the current 2016-17 budget period, and when state officials tell you they’re spending more on education, they’re telling the truth. Not all of the truth, but some of it. Their […]

Abbott says something about bathrooms

Typically wishy-washy of him. Gov. Greg Abbott is adopting a wait-and-see approach about anticipated legislation that would prohibit transgender people in Texas from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. “I have not seen any proposed legislation yet,” a characteristically cautious Abbott told reporters Tuesday at the Capitol. He added that there are […]

It’s just school bathrooms Dan Patrick really cares about

So claims a surrogate, who may have been floating a trial balloon. An incoming state senator suggested Thursday that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will focus on schools, not businesses or sporting venues, as he crafts an already controversial proposal to prohibit transgender Texans from using bathrooms that match their gender identity. The remarks by state […]

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 […]

We’re going to be fighting about vaccinations for a while

I wish it weren’t so, but it is. Texas is one of 18 states that allow non-medical exemptions to the vaccines required for school attendance. California had a similar law allowing non-medical exemptions, until last year when it enacted a law that has one of the strictest requirements in the country after a 2014 outbreak of measles traced […]

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 […]

It’s bill-filing season

And they’re off. Today is the first day of early filing in the Texas Legislature. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate may begin filing the bills that will be discussed when the legislature convenes in January 10, 2017. So how does that work and what does it mean? For the most part bills are […]

HISD: Meyers resigns, Lunceford un-resigns

Round and round we go. HISD Trustee Greg Meyers, who has served on the school board since 2004, has resigned. Meyers, who represents District VI for HISD and also served as board president in 2010, announced Thursday that he will vacate his position at the end of the year because he plans to move to […]

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 […]

Another look at the case for HISD recapture

Dale Craymer taps the brakes on the vote-NO-on-recapture train. Houston Independent School District voters face an unhappy choice this November – vote “YES” or “FOR” on Proposition 1 to authorize the state to recapture roughly $160 million of the school district’s property taxes or just vote “NO” or “AGAINST.” It seems like a no-brainer. School […]

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 […]

Endorsement watch: In case you didn’t hear us the first time

The Chron reiterates its opposition to the HISD recapture referendum. Statewide property taxes are unconstitutional in Texas, but don’t tell that to the legislators in Austin. For decades, the Legislature has been shifting its obligation to fund public education to local communities. Now, this November, Houston is facing a new sneaky invoice from the state. […]

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 […]

Hey, here’s an idea: Increase funding for public education

That’s just crazy talk. Texas House budget and public education leaders said Wednesday that the best way to overhaul the state’s school finance system is to increase the base amount of money it gives to each district per student. While costly, boosting the “basic allotment” — currently $5,140 per student — would help ease systemic […]

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 […]

HISD board members against the HISD ballot item

I missed this when it first appeared. Three Houston school board members on Thursday evening publicly urged voters to oppose a measure that would authorize the district to forfeit $162 million to the state. Trustees Jolanda Jones, Harvin Moore and Rhonda Skillern-Jones went on the offensive at the live-streamed board meeting, asking voters to join […]

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. […]

“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 […]

Paxton’s dinner with the Briggle family

So he did go, and he managed to behave himself. Lots of preparation led up to the moment, but Amber and Adam Briggle still exchanged nervous looks when their doorbell rang about 6:30 p.m. Thursday. “I was terrified,” Amber Briggle said. They had invited Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his wife, Angela, to come […]

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 […]

Paxton encourages schools to discriminate against transgender students

From the ACLU of Texas: [Friday], the ACLU of Texas issued a letter to Texas school districts outlining their ongoing legal responsibility to provide transgender students access to educational opportunities and school facilities on the same basis as all other students. Yesterday, the State of Texas issued its own “guidance” letter to Texas schools regarding […]

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 […]

STAAR test lawsuit survives motion to dismiss

On to trial. After a group of parents sued the Texas Education Agency over the 2016 administration of STAAR exams, state lawyers argued this summer that the parents had no standing and asked the courts to drop the case. This week, the first day of school for many Texas children, Travis County District Court Judge […]

Preliminary injunction granted in transgender bathroom directive case

Ugh. A federal judge in Fort Worth has blocked Obama administration guidelines directing the nation’s public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and other facilities that align with their gender identity. In a 38-page order released Sunday, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor said the “status quo” should remain in place nationwide until […]