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Posts Tagged ‘Scott Hochberg’

HPD crime lab update

The man who wrote the report detailing all of the HPD crime lab’s problems was back to give a progress report on how things look now. Houston police managers at the once-shuttered crime lab have failed to re-examine tests on DNA, blood and most other forensic evidence on a random basis to ensure the results […]

Meet the new Crime Lab boss

He sounds impressive. The fuzzy process of shifting the city of Houston’s crime lab from the Houston Police Department to an independent board got a little clearer Wednesday with the hiring of a president and CEO for the new operation. The appointed board of the city’s year-old forensic science corporation selected Dr. Daniel Garner after […]

Fewer tests in the future

If you’re tired of standardized tests, this will be good news for you. Under House Bill 866 by state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, which passed the Senate on Tuesday night, students who do well on state exams in third and fifth grades could skip exams in fourth, sixth and seventh grades. All students would be […]

School stuff

Just a basic roundup of education-related stories, since there’s so much going on. From the Trib, action in the House on testing in grade school. Elementary and middle school students currently take a total of 17 state exams before high school. They are tested each year in grades three through eight in reading and math, […]

Where does the crime lab go from here?

Now that there’s a plan in place to clear the longstanding crime lab backlog, the question is what should we expect from the crime lab going forward? “It’s sort of hard to build a house when you’re trying to dig yourself out of a hole,” said Scott Hochberg, chairman of the Houston Forensic Science Local […]

Clearing the rape kit backlog

Some excellent news from the Mayor’s office. Mayor Annise Parker and the Houston Police Department today announced details of a plan that will eliminate the backlog of untested sexual assault kits (SAK). Under the plan, which will be formally considered by Houston City Council next week, the untested kits will be sent to two outside […]

Endorsement watch: Wu and Vo

Clearly I was wrong about the Chron ignoring legislative endorsements, as they now have two more to follow Ann Johnson‘s. First up is an endorsement of Gene Wu to be Rep. Scott Hochberg’s successor in HD137. We believe that Democrat Gene Wu has the educational background and passion for policy that make him the best […]

STAAR pushback

The House Public Ed committee gets an earful. Members of the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday questioned why the first batch of students who took the end-of-course exams scored so poorly. For example, 55 percent of ninth-graders met the minimum passing standard on the English writing test, and only 3 percent hit the college […]

Council approves Mayor’s crime lab plan

It’s a done deal. City Council has appointed a nine-member board to oversee the city’s crime lab, the first step in yanking it from police department control and setting up a publicly funded non-profit corporation to do evidence testing. The vote was 15-2. [...] Though Council members supported the mayor’s proposal to try to insulate […]

Three primary stories

TX Trib: 4 Democrats Vying to Replace Hochberg in HD-137 Observers say the winner of the contest for HD-137 is likely to be decided in the Democratic primary, whose four candidates are former Capitol staffers Joseph Carlos Madden and Jamaal Smith, Harris County prosecutor Gene Wu and Alief Independent School District board member Sarah Winkler. […]

Meet your Crime Lab board

Mayor Parker has recommended nine people be appointed by Council to the governing board for the proposed Houston Forensic Science Local Government Corporation (LGC). “The people I have selected have varied backgrounds in science, law enforcement, public policy, business and defense of the accused,” said Mayor Parker.  “Their perspective will be invaluable as we proceed […]

Interview with Sarah Winkler

Wrapping up a week of conversations with candidates who hope to succeed Rep. Scott Hochberg in HD137, today we have Sarah Winkler. Winkler has served on the Alief ISD Board of Trustees since 1997 and on the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Board of Directors since 2001; she was TASB President in 2009-10. She […]

Interview with Jamaal Smith

Continuing with the candidates who hope to succeed Rep. Scott Hochberg in HD137 we have Jamaal Smith, whom you may remember from his time as Executive Director of the HCDP and as the Deputy Campaign Manager and Campaign Manager from the 2008 and 2010 Coordinated Campaigns. Before his stint with the HCDP Smith was the […]

Interview with Gene Wu

The second candidate running to succeed Rep. Scott Hochberg in HD137 that I interviewed is Gene Wu. Gene is currently a felony prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s office, and he also has legislative experience, having previously been the Chief Clerk for the House Higher Education Committee for the Texas Legislature. He is currently […]

Don’t go counting school finance lawsuit money yet

The state of Texas is very likely to have to do something about school finance soon, but “soon” is not the same as “right now”. Houston ISD counsel David Thompson was exuding confidence Saturday that Texas school districts will prevail in their four lawsuits challenging state funding — but he warned trustees not to expect […]

Who will be the Lege education expert post-Hochberg?

In writing a political obituary for State Rep. Scott Hochberg, who announced his retirement from the House last week, Abby Rapoport spends a paragraph on his purported successor as the go-to education legislator. Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, is clearly the chosen member to take the reins from Hochberg, but it’s bound to be a […]

Hochberg bows out, Gallego makes it official

I am totally bummed out by this. The Legislature’s foremost expert on school finance and one of its top public education advocates, state Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, confirmed this afternoon that he won’t seek re-election next year. Hochberg, who took office in 1993 and is now the vice chairman of the House Education Committee and […]

First impressions of the new maps

Before I get too into this, the invaluable Texas Redistricting reminds us that the parties in the lawsuit will be able to make objections and comments to the proposed maps today at noon. Meaning, there may yet be some tweaks to come. Until then, this is what we have. I have 2008 electoral data for […]

The Constitutional amendments

In addition to all of the local races that will be on your ballot next month, there are ten Constitutional amendments up for ratification. Unlike some previous years, and somewhat surprisingly given the divisive and ideological nature of the session, there are no particularly high profile or controversial measures on the ballot. (Proposition 2, which […]

Another school finance lawsuit update

The Trib brings some news about the impending school finance lawsuits. Yes, lawsuits – there are two in the works. The Equity Center’s lawsuit will focus on fairness, attacking the target revenue system established in 2006 when lawmakers reduced the property tax rate and guaranteed that districts would get no less than the amount they […]

Eissler changes class size bill

Hair Balls was first with the news. Rep. Rob Eissler (R- The Woodlands) whose House Bill 18 wanted to move the state to a cap of 25 students in each classroom, [Friday] instead made a floor substitution which only mildly tweaked the present classroom size regulations calling for a cap of 22 students in grades […]

House Appropriations follows Senate, passes SB1

The grim march of the inevitable takes another step. The House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines on Saturday to recommend a controversial plan to reduce public education spending by at least $4 billion, cuts which hundreds of Texans later protested during a Capitol rally. The full House will take up the school funding bill […]

Back to school finance

The Lege has started the process of picking up where it left off on school finance. The Trib reminds us how we got here. [T]he earlier failure of SB 1581, which put a behind-closed-doors conference committee in charge of any decisions about how to distribute $4 billion in cuts in state funding across school districts, […]

Davis filibusters SB1811, special session looms for tomorrow

Hoo boy. Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, filibustered for a little more than an hour Sunday night, probably killing a school finance and revenue bill critical to the budget (it’s still possible for a four-fifths supermajority of the Senate to pull it up for a vote today). And the House hit a midnight deadline without […]

Vote on school finance today

On Friday night, the Lege finally reached an agreement on school finance, which is to say on how to distribute the $4 billion in cuts to public education to the school districts. Today the Lege gets to vote on that deal. House leaders wanted a two-year plan cutting school funding across the board by about […]

New map, new opportunities: Harris County

For our last stop on this tour we look at Harris County, which provided several pickup opportunities for Democrats last decade. How will they fare this time around? Republicans started the last decade with a 14-11 advantage – they intended it to be 15-10 after drawing Scott Hochberg out of his seat, but he moved […]

The budget work is far from done

The Senate may have passed its budget via some creative interpretation of its rules, but there’s more to what has to happen now than just the conference committee. As Abby Rapoport notes, they still have to rewrite the formula for school finance. You see, under current law, schools are entitled to a certain amount per […]

Redistricting committee votes out State House map

Texas Politics: By a vote of 11 to 5, the House Redistricting Committee approved a plan redrawing the Texas House map that, according to its sponsor, committee chairman Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, creates a total of 30 minority opportunity districts. The committee rejected several amendments offered by the four Democrats on the committee, who contended that […]

Solomons State House map 2.0

Go to http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/ and check out Plan H134 for a revised State House map from House Redistricting Chair Burt Solomons. Here’s the Harris County view: Still 24 districts, with either Rep. Scott Hochberg or Rep. Hubert Vo on the outside looking in. In this variation, HD143 goes back to being an East End seat, and […]

Lege loosens graduation requirements

A sign of the times. The Texas House tentatively approved legislation Wednesday to make it easier for high school students to pass end-of-course exams, a move critics called “a substantial retreat” from school accountability. “This bill creates a clear, understandable path to graduation,” House Public Education Chair Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, said of his bill, […]

School finance reform bills on tap

Whether you look at the House budget or the slightly less drastic Senate version, public schools will not get the funding they are due under the current defined formulas. That means that how the funds are distributed needs to be redone as well. The first bills to tackle this highly sensitive issue have been laid […]

How does school finance work, anyway?

The Trib has a useful guide to this incredibly complex topic. Here’s our layman’s guide to figuring out the current system, compiled with the help of experts at the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, the Equity Center and the Texas Education Agency. The state’s 1,030 traditional school districts operate with a combination of federal, local […]

SBOE wants its new textbooks

But it may not get them. State board members are growing increasingly anxious that lawmakers might not provide funding for new textbooks and instructional material – even though they’re giving the Legislature $1.9 billion from a 157-year-old endowment established to help schools, including providing free textbooks for students. Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, warns that […]

Hochberg’s “Let’s get real” bill

Rep. Scott Hochberg has filed a school finance bill that he himself wouldn’t vote for. It’s to make sure everyone realizes what the proposed cuts to public education really mean. Under HB 2485, all school districts would be treated as equal passengers on the Titanic, Hochberg, D-Houston, said Tuesday, as Senate members on the other […]