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Posts Tagged ‘schools’

First potty case reaches SCOTUS

Here we go. The legal fight over transgender bathroom rights reached the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time on Wednesday as a Virginia county school board sought to block an order that lets a student who was born a girl but now identifies as male use the boys’ bathroom. Transgender rights have become an […]

The Observer talks to now-retired Judge John Dietz about school finance reform

A brief taste: One really important point, which was certainly not addressed [by the Supreme Court]: With economically disadvantaged students, the undisputed testimony is that if you didn’t grow up economically disadvantaged, when you arrived at school you had roughly a 1,500-word vocabulary and understood probably another 1,000 words. An economically disadvantaged child shows up […]

More states file potty lawsuits

Oh, goodie. Ten additional states are suing the Obama administration to stop a directive that requires schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms aligned with their gender identity under the threat of losing federal funding, bringing the total number of states challenging the guidance to 21. Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson announced the lawsuit, […]

Abbott pre-K plan falls short

Well, duh. In Texas, where pre-K is scorned by some conservative activists as “godless,” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s major education initiative is giving classrooms far less money than many once thought, causing even the district of the governor’s high school alma mater to now rebuff his plan. Texas handed out $116 million in pre-K grants […]

Paxton petitions for national injunction against transgender bathroom directive

This guy, I swear. Plunging further into the politics of public school bathrooms, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday expanded his federal lawsuit against an Obama Administration directive instructing schools not to discriminate against transgender students, saying he wants a nationwide injunction stopping the policy and wants it quickly. Because a federal judge’s decision […]

Ken Paxton does not approve of transgender bathroom policies

Big surprise, right? Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday issued an opinion saying the Fort Worth school superintendent who made headlines for formulating guidelines to accommodate transgender students exceeded his authority. Paxton also said that a portion of the guidelines instructing district employees not to out transgender students to their parents might violate state […]

La Marque ISD lawsuit tossed

The end of the line for La Marque ISD. A Texas appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to halt the annexation of the La Marque school district by Texas City ISD. The 3rd Texas Court of Appeals on Friday dismissed the lawsuit, saying that it lacked jurisdiction and that the lower court erred in […]

TAB says it wants better pre-K in Texas

I have three things to say about this. The Texas Association of Business wants the state to offer a full school day of taxpayer-funded pre-K and plans to push lawmakers in that direction next year, the group announced this week. TAB board members voted unanimously in favor of expanding its policy platform to include full-day […]

HISD sued over school name changes

Not a surprise. Nine members of the local community on Thursday sued Houston’s public school district, alleging the district violated numerous laws and their own regulations when recently changing the names of eight schools. “We’ve been arguing as parents and taxpayers for months that the vote was illegal, politically driven, and taking these historic buildings […]

STAAR screwups

From the Observer: Texas’ standardized testing program wasn’t exactly popular before the 2015-2016 school year, but this year’s State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) has been an especially frustrating experience for Texas students, parents and school officials. New testing contractor Educational Testing Service, in the first year of a four-year, $280 million contract […]

Benjamin Elder

Meet Benjamin Elder, a better and braver person than Dan Patrick will ever be. Spend a few hours in Benjamin Elder’s company and you’ll realize he’s an average, bubbly 10-year-old kid. All lanky limbs and wavy chestnut-colored hair, he’s easy to pick out of a room by his infectious laughter and toothy grin. His favorite […]

Straus wants to study school finance

I appreciate the effort, but I plan to keep my expectations low. Citing a recent Texas Supreme Court decision that upheld the state’s public school funding system while deeming it “undeniably imperfect,” state House Speaker Joe Straus on Thursday ordered representatives to study the school finance system and recommend reforms before the 2017 legislative session. […]

On big money high school stadiums

Texas Monthly is against ’em. As a part of a $220 million bond package, McKinney ISD is adding an opulent events center and 12,000-seat high school football stadium that will cost a total of $62.8 million. According to the Dallas Morning News, the stadium, set to open in 2017, will cost $50.3 million itself with […]

Patrick doubles down on potty politics

It’s potties all the way down. Declaring that “this fight is just beginning,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday escalated his battle against guidelines in Texas and across the country that allow students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Speaking to reporters at the Texas Capitol, Patrick announced a number of […]

Anyone want to help me sue the feds?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? When Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday that he had filed a lawsuit challenging federal guidelines for transgender students, he said it was to protect a Texas school district that had adopted a policy requiring students to use bathrooms according to the gender cited on their birth certificates. He didn’t say […]

Paxton sues over Obama directive on transgender bathroom access

A more transparent publicity stunt you would be hard-pressed to find. Texas, joined by 10 other states, filed a lawsuit Wednesday to stop a federal directive instructing school districts to let transgender students use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday. Calling the Obama administration guidelines “outside the […]

Lawsuit filed over STAAR exams

Interesting. A backlash against this year’s STAAR exams escalated Monday when a group of parents sued the state in an attempt to keep schools from using 2016 test scores to rate students — including deciding whether students should advance to the next grade or attend summer school. The lawsuit, filed against the Texas Education Agency […]

Paxton asks the feds if they’re sure about that bathroom thing

Just checking, I’m sure. Will public schools really lose federal education funding if they refuse to comply with a new Obama administration directive regarding transgender students? That’s the basic query posed by top lawyers from Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in a letter sent Tuesday to the U.S. Justice and Education departments seeking clarification on […]

TEA Commissioner has no opinion yet on federal transgender bathroom directive

Noted for the record. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath on Tuesday praised the state Supreme Court’s recent opinion upholding the state’s public school funding system and demurred on questions about bathroom use by transgender students. “Last time I checked, it was a free country,” Morath said in a wide-ranging interview with The Texas Tribune’s Evan […]

HISD finishes renaming schools

From last week: Eight names that have adorned Houston school buildings, uniforms and yearbooks for decades will vanish next year after trustees came together Thursday to approve new ones without Confederate ties. The renaming decisions followed months of controversy that had split the school board, heightened racial tensions, and fueled mixed reactions from parents, students […]

Federal action on schools accommodating transgender bathroom use

Glad to see this. The Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. A letter to school districts will go out Friday, adding to a highly charged debate over transgender rights in the […]

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 […]