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Posts Tagged ‘schools’

Supreme Court upholds school finance system

I’m stunned. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday issued a ruling upholding the state’s public school funding system as constitutional, while asserting it could be better. “Our Byzantine school funding ‘system’ is undeniably imperfect, with immense room for improvement. But it satisfies minimum constitutional requirements,” Justice Don Willett wrote in the court’s 100-page opinion, which […]

Dan Patrick is obsessed with children’s bathrooms

This guy, I swear. Transgender advocates derided Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday for what they described as his “fake outrage” over the Fort Worth school district’s new transgender bathroom guidelines, calling the Republican a shameless bully. “A bully like Dan Patrick can’t go unchallenged. He is wrong,” said Joel Burns, an openly gay former […]

We’re still lousy at funding schools

In case you were wondering. Texas still ranks in the bottom third of states in spending per pupil in the U.S., with essentially no change in either amount or standing, a new study shows. The finding doesn’t help, and could undercut, the state’s position in a long-running school finance case. Figures compiled by the National […]

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 The Houston school district’s interim superintendent on Thursday rescinded his proposal to reduce funding for gifted students amid concerns from parents and board members.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

Interview with George Scott

I don’t often pay attention to the May elections in even-numbered years. There’s usually nothing on my ballot, and the big cities that have May elections have them in odd years. One entity that is having an election around here is the Katy Independent School District, and one of the candidates running for a spot […]

Anti-vaxxers gain ground in Texas

There’s a lesson in here that we need to learn. On a Friday night little over a year ago, a Texas mother of three was attending a school dance when she got a text message that stopped her cold. A state lawmaker from Dallas had filed legislation taking aim at a provision in state law […]

Lawsuits and low oil prices

Both are threatening the next Texas budget. Last week, lawyers for the state of Texas got the latest in a string of bad legal news. A lawsuit challenging the state’s foster care system as inhumane appeared to gain steam when an appeals court rejected the state’s request to stop the appointment of two “special masters” […]

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, […]

We’re not so good at school funding

I know, I’m as shocked as you are. Texas earned the worst marks in the country for its funding of public education, according to a research report released Wednesday. Researchers with Rutgers Graduate School of Education and the New Jersey-based Education Law Center called out the Lone Star State for ranking poorly on all of […]

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 […]

What kind of ruling might we expect in the school finance case?

KUHF explores the possibilities. Four major scenarios to watch for: The Texas Supreme Court could not rule at all. Instead, it could send the case back to the lower court to see if the latest $2.5 billion dollars to the education budget solves the problem. “And the court could say, you know, we need more […]

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 […]

More on the UIL ban of transgender athletes

From ThinkProgress: Transgender rights in Texas took another step backward last month, when public school superintendents voted 586-32 in favor of a rule that requires schools to use birth certificates to determine the gender of student-athletes. This law is seen not only as “an attempt to handicap transgender student-athletes’ eligibility,” but it’s also believed to […]

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 […]

School districts vote to approve new UIL policy restricting transgender athletes

Unfortunate. Despite strong opposition from LGBT advocates, representatives from Texas school districts have overwhelmingly endorsed a proposal aimed at barring transgender boys and girls from participating in athletics alongside their cisgender peers. District superintendents and athletic directors voted 409-25 in favor of using birth certificates to determine student athletes’ gender, according to results obtained by […]

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 […]

Things are tough all over

HISD faces a big deficit: Houston ISD leaders are bracing for a projected $107 million budget shortfall that, in a worst-case scenario, could prompt the district to slash jobs. During the school board meeting Thursday, however, officials pledged to try keep cuts away from schools. “We get it,” Ken Huewitt, the district’s deputy superintendent and […]

The Mayor’s education czar

Former HISD Trustee Juliet Stipeche has joined the Turner administration. Mayor Sylvester Turner has named former Houston ISD board president Juliet Stipeche to a newly created Director of Education role in his administration, seeking greater collaboration between the city and area schools, community colleges and universities. Many council members and education advocates praised the move, […]

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 […]

Republicans sure are hoping to get a bailout on school finance

Am I the only one who thinks that a lot of this sounds like wishful thinking? The Texas Supreme Court may punt in a far-reaching school finance case, asking a lower court to assess the Legislature’s latest efforts on public schools. If it does, a new law may reduce the influence of trial judges elected […]

The challenges transgender children face

At least now we’re starting to talk about those challenges openly. One month after voters in Houston rejected an equal rights ordinance that proponents say would have protected transgender people from discrimination, Ben and his parents, Ann and Jim Elder of Friendswood, are among families nationwide challenging their communities to respect the identities of kids […]

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 […]

Keeping an eye on Katy ISD

This could be interesting. Some of the details of George Scott’s “shadow school board” are still that – shadowy. But as the conservative blogger has assembled a group to meet regularly to reach its own conclusions about the business of the fast-growing Katy ISD board, his mission is clear: to use public data to take […]

School finance ruling expected soon

Hold onto your hats. For decades, the state’s 1,000-plus school districts vied against one another for a bigger piece of the financial pie. Now two-thirds of state districts have joined forces to say the system is unfair because it doesn’t provide adequate funding for all. The state’s high court is expected to rule any day […]

If you really want to improve turnout in city elections

This is a plan that would do it. Councilman Ron Nirenberg [recently] called for a major change to local elections that he says would boost voter turnout and bolster public participation. The councilman said he’s spent years considering ways to address abysmal turnout in municipal elections, which are held in May of odd-numbered years. His […]

Turner’s public agency work

A lot of the attacks in the Mayoral campaign so far have been aimed at Adrian Garcia, in part to knock him out of second place where he is perceived to be, and in part because there’s some real material to use. There has been some sniping between Costello and King, as they fish in […]

When might we get a Supreme Court ruling on school finance?

When they’re damn good and ready is the usual answer for Supreme Court rulings, but in the case of school finance lawsuits they usually act with some measure of speed. Given past rulings and politics — three justices on the nine-member, all-Republican court are up for re-election next year — the consensus among experts and […]

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 […]