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Posts Tagged ‘schools’

School finance trial still moving ahead

Ready or not, here it comes again. A Travis County District Judge has decided to move forward with the state’s school finance trial despite some wavering about re-opening the case. Earlier this month Travis County District Judge John Dietz revisited an order to re-open the case, which takes a look at if the state is […]

A new day in North Forest

I’m really really rooting for this to work out well. [Maria] Cortez used to teach at Burbank Elementary in the Houston Independent School District but agreed to follow her principal to a tough new assignment – and to transfer her daughter, too. [Thurgood Marshall Elementary] was part of North Forest ISD in northeast Houston until […]

Ratliff and Patrick spar over CSCOPE

Sounds like fun. The state curriculum system known as CSCOPE — little known until recently — can now add two hours of lively and at times testy debate to a long list of public appearances that includes State Board of Education meetings, legislative hearings and the Glenn Beck Show. On Saturday evening, SBOE member Thomas […]

Just so we’re clear, cities don’t run the schools

Lisa Falkenberg does some fact checking. Houston Mayoral Candidate Ben Hall seems to have done his homework before he began claiming that, if elected, he’d have statutory authority over local schools. But he apparently didn’t check his interpretation of the statute with the Texas Education Agency. In an interview last week, Hall criticized Mayor Annise […]

On selling junk food in Texas schools

Every session, there’s at least one bill that gets passed with little to no notice that has completely unforeseen effects. The Lunch Tray breaks a story about one such bill from this past regular session, which has to do with the sale of junk food in Texas schools. When it comes to the sale of […]

What would Ben Hall do for schools?

Ben Hall made his official filing for Mayor on Wednesday, and had a campaign rally after ward. This story is about that and about a new video his campaign released, and it contains three ways in which Hall says he is different than Mayor Parker. One of them is worth highlighting here: 2. Education: “We […]

LA goes big on iPads in schools

I feel like we’re still on the tip of the iceberg, but that a lot more of this is coming soon. Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District will receive 31,000 free iPads this school year under a new $30 million program launched by the district. The goal is to improve education and get […]

Show them the data

Interesting. A major donor to HISD’s key school reform effort is putting its remaining $3 million check on hold amid concerns that detailed research about the success of the program is lacking. The president of the Houston Endowment, Ann Stern, wrote a letter to top school district officials this month criticizing the recent progress report […]

No more RFID for Northside ISD

Nortside ISD in San Antonio has quit using RFID trackers in student IDs to keep tabs on them, and has embraced an alternate technological solution to the problem of ensuring an accurate headcount instead. Northside Independent School District spokesman Pascual Gonzalez told me that the microchip-ID program turned out not to be worth the trouble. […]

CSCOPE still in scope

Every once in awhile, whether they intend to or not, the SBOE does something worthwhile. The State Board of Education concluded its July meeting without providing further guidance as to whether Texas school districts continued to use lessons from CSCOPE, the controversial state-developed curriculum system. “It’s not up to the state board,” chairwoman Barbara Cargill, […]

HISD budgets for teacher pay raise and more Apollo

Whether that will mean a tax hike, and if so how much, remains undetermined. Houston ISD employees will see a 2 percent pay raise and many schools will receive more money to help struggling students under the budget that trustees approved on a 6-3 vote Monday. Left unsettled was whether property owners will face an […]

Patrick versus Ratliff

TFN Insider: Texas State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, has already made clear his disgust over the political witch hunt that forced the state’s Education Service Centers to stop writing lesson plans in their CSCOPE curriculum management system. In May, for example, he tore into Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick, […]

Back to court for the school finance lawsuit

Like deja vu all over again. State district court Judge John Dietz likened the state’s school finance case to the soap opera As The World Turns when he opened Wednesday’s hearing on whether to reconsider evidence in the trial that concluded in February. He drew the comparison not because of the trial’s drama but because […]

Perry signs HB5, adds transportation to the special session

There had been some buzz about a possible veto, but in the end this was to be expected. When Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 5 on Monday, he ended weeks of speculation that he might veto the high-profile education legislation because of concerns that it would weaken high school graduation standards. The bill, by […]

So where does the school finance lawsuit stand?

Though Judge John Dietz issued a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in the school finance lawsuit back in February, he still hasn’t written his full decision yet. That’s because he wanted to see what the Legislature did this session, so he could take it into account in his opinion. Well, the session is over […]

Justice Department engaged in North Forest closure

A possible ray of hope for supporters of North Forest ISD, which is still hoping to survive past July 1 when the TEA’s order for it to be subsumed into HISD takes effect. The chief of the Justice Department’s voting section wrote a letter to the Texas Education Agency saying federal officials need to know […]

Testing and charter bills pass

A lot of stuff gets done at the last possible minute in the Legislature. The two big education bills were examples of this. The session’s two biggest school reform bills, one from each chamber, have danced the House and Senate in the session’s closing days—a stalemate that broke Sunday night as both bills passed each […]

House approves charter expansion bill SB2

A big step forward for those who would like to see more charters. Senate Bill 2 passed on a 105-34 vote on second reading. It now faces a third reading before it can be reconciled with a similar version the Senate passed last month. “I think the bill supports quality charters, helping them to expand […]

HISD revises magnet school policy

This has been in the works for a long time. The [HISD Board of Trustees] voted unanimously on a revised policy governing its beloved magnet school program, saying the schools would be held more accountable for academic performance and their ability to attract students. While some of the 113 magnet programs are nationally recognized and […]

Where things stand with two weeks to go in the legislative session

With the Thursday midnight deadline for bills to pass on second reading in the House, I figured this would be a good time to take a look at the status of some major legislation and legislative priorities. There are two weeks left in the regular session, and the specter of overtime is hazy but present. […]

Senate passes amended HB5

The Senate has passed its version of House Bill 5, which makes sweeping changes to standardized testing and curriculum requirements for high school students. Texas high school students would have new curriculum requirements under legislation unanimously passed by the Senate on Monday — but they won’t be the ones the House envisioned when it approved […]

North Forest still fighting as the deadlines approach

Never give up, never surrender. North Forest ISD has spent more than $595,000 appealing the state’s order to shut down, newly obtained records show, and the school district is continuing the court fight as its July closure date nears. Despite the district’s ongoing appeal before an Austin court, the Texas Education Agency has ordered North […]

HISD to begin laptops for all program

Starting small, and presumably growing from there. Houston ISD officials announced Thursday that they are prepared to give students at up to 18 high schools their own laptops next school year, becoming among the first big-city districts to launch a one-to-one computing program. “This is a way of transforming what and how we teach,” HISD […]

Senate officially taps the Rainy Day Fund

Well done. Texas senators hammered out a sweeping deal to increase state funding for water and transportation projects and schools on Tuesday, tackling some of the thorniest issues of the legislative session all at once. The senators voted 31-0 for Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would ask Texas voters to approve taking $5.7 billion out […]

Texas Lottery Commission dies and is reborn

And we have our first curveball of the legislative session. The House voted Tuesday to defeat a must-pass bill reauthorizing the Texas Lottery Commission, a stunning move that casts doubt on the lottery as a whole and may potentially cost the state billions in revenue. House Bill 2197 began as a seemingly routine proposal to […]

That’ll just about do it for gambling this session

Sen. Carona calls the chances “slim”, but it sounds like slim just left town to me. [Sen. John] Carona, chairman of the Senate’s Business and Commerce Committee, said last week he expected to vote his sweeping gambling bill out of his committee Tuesday. But the morning committee hearing came and went, and Carona declined to […]

SBOE passes anti-voucher resolution

Good for them. The Texas State Board of Education voted 10-5 on Friday to urge the Legislature to reject proposals that would result in public funds being allocated for private educational institutions. The resolution, authored by Board of Education member Ruben Cortez, Jr., D-Brownsville, asks the legislature to “reject all vouchers, taxpayer savings grants, tax […]

Grier asks for Apollo money

It is his signature program. Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier on Thursday lobbied the school board for at least $17 million to expand his Apollo school reform effort, noting new research showing its benefits. Grier is facing resistance from some trustees – though likely not enough to defeat his plan – as they consider a […]

It’s always time for a tax cut

I have three things to say about this: With less than two months remaining in the 83rd legislative session, Gov. Rick Perry on Monday called on state lawmakers to find $1.6 billion to give Texas businesses relief from the state’s franchise tax. Perry’s proposal consists of four parts: reducing the overall franchise tax rates by […]

Charter bill passes Senate, voucher bill passes out of committee

Score one for Sen. Dan Patrick. As colleagues praised Education Chairman Dan Patrick’s efforts at building consensus, a significantly altered version of his expansion of the state’s charter school system quickly passed out of the Senate Thursday afternoon. Patrick, R-Houston, said the bill accomplished what should be the goal of lawmakers — lifting everyone through […]

Senate to tap that Rainy Day Fund

It is just sitting there, not doing any good if it’s unused. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, laid out an ambitious plan to spend $6 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund on Thursday morning while also setting the stage for a serious debate in the remaining weeks of the session on […]

Patrick has his voucher hearing

It went about as you’d expect. State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, delivered an impassioned plea in support of what threatens to become a beleaguered tax credit scholarship plan during a Tuesday morning hearing on his legislation. “We are great enough in this state to do this thing if we just knock down some barriers of […]

Their charter school legislation and ours

How much of this sounds familiar to you? Charter schools would be given free rein if a proposal from Republicans in North Carolina’s state Senate is passed. Under the plan, oversight of charters would be taken from the state’s board of education and given to a charter school board with nine of 11 voting members […]

House debates its budget

As you know, yesterday was Budgetpalooza in the House. The House budget puts more money into public education and less into health and human services than a Senate proposal that passed the upper chamber last month. “No one is or will be entirely happy with this bill, but there is something for everyone this year,” […]