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Posts Tagged ‘Texas Education Agency’

SBOE adopts history textbook changes it hasn’t read

Awesome. After adopting hundreds of pages in last minute updates and corrections, the Texas State Board of Education approved new social studies textbooks Friday. All but the five Democrats on the 15-member board voted to accept products from all publishers except Worldview Software, which they rejected because of concerns over factual accuracy. “When I think […]

Texas asks for federal funding for pre-k vouchers

Not sure how I feel about this. Teacher groups are up in arms as Texas seeks millions from the federal government to fund a new pre-K voucher program that would begin next fall. Last month, the Texas Education Agency applied for $30 million in prekindergarten grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education, its share […]

HISD should not be on the hook for North Forest’s liabilities

Come on! Fourteen months after the Texas Education Agency ordered Houston ISD to take over the long-troubled North Forest school district, some unexpected disputes over funding have surfaced. The Houston school board has authorized its attorneys to challenge a Texas Workforce Commission ruling that the district owes more than $3.7 million in unemployment benefits to […]

Meet T-TESS

Texas has a new teacher evaluation system on the way. It won’t come without a fight. Texas’ more than 380,000 public school teachers are girding for a tumultuous few years as a new method of grading their performance is expected to generate heated legislative debates and perhaps legal challenges. Already, the Houston Independent School District […]

Abbott’s education plan

Some actual policy from Greg Abbott. In the 27-page, footnoted report that accompanied the press conference, he proposed to “create a swift, automatic process under which the very worst schools would be removed from the control of their local school districts each year” and instead run through the Texas Achievement School District. That district’s superintendent, […]

The new North Forest High School

I’m really rooting for them to succeed. It’s not going to be easy. While most schools measure progress by test scores and scholarship dollars, North Forest High School students point to the lack of bathroom fires as a sign that their campus is improving. They also boast that they now have access to soap, toilet […]

Calculator apps

This seems reasonable to me. Despite concerns about test security, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced Thursday that he would allow some students to use calculator “apps” on state exams next school year. Under current rules students may use only traditional calculators. But with more districts giving students iPads or other tablets, some school officials […]

New accountability standards, more schools on the failing list

Not a good headline. The number of officially faltering public schools in Texas almost doubled last year, in part because of higher accountability standards imposed by state education policy. The Texas Education Agency released Thursday a list of 892 schools that fell short of minimum standards and which have been placed on the Public Education […]

No testing waiver

Sorry, kids. The federal government has denied the state’s request to waive No Child Left Behind testing requirements for students in elementary and middle school, the Texas Education Agency announced Monday. If the waiver had been granted, students who excel on state reading and math exams in the third and fifth grades would have been […]

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 […]

The new accountability standards

Here’s the TEA press release about the school accountability ratings for 2013, which came out on Thursday. The Texas Education Agency today released the 2013 state accountability system ratings for more than 1,200 school districts and charters, and more than 8,500 campuses. The ratings reveal that almost 93 percent of school districts and charters across […]

Don’t count on that federal testing waiver

It could happen, but don’t expect your high-scoring kid to spend less time taking tests going forward. A plan to reduce testing for higher-performing elementary and middle school students was one of the feel-good bills of the 2013 legislative session. But several experts believe it will never see the light of day in Texas schools. […]

Testing waiver sought

It’s a follow up for a bill passed during the regular legislative session. In a letter sent [last] week to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Education Commissioner Michael Williams is seeking clarification on whether the federal agency has the authority to grant a waiver on the No Child Left Behind Act, formally called the Elementary and […]

Clock strikes midnight for North Forest

This was a tough blow for NFISD. North Forest school officials lost one of their final court battles Wednesday, making the district’s state-ordered merger into HISD five days from now increasingly likely. U.S. District Judge David Hittner rejected the last-ditch claims by North Forest that the school system’s takeover by the Houston Independent School District […]

HISD moving forward with North Forest annexation

Despite some legal uncertainty, they pretty much have to keep moving forward. The Houston Independent School District moved forward Wednesday with its takeover of the beleaguered North Forest school system even as state education officials prepare for a Thursday hearing that could delay the annexation. HISD Superintendent Terry Grier announced principal assignments as well as […]

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 […]

TEA insists North Forest closure moving ahead

TEA Commissioner Michael Williams says don’t listen to the noise, North Forest ISD will be assimilated into HISD as planned on July 1. Williams said the Texas Education Agency, which he oversees, has followed state law and has the necessary approval to proceed with shutting down North Forest ISD, which has a long history of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

TEA drops the hammer on North Forest again

Pretty much as expected. North Forest ISD announced Monday that the Texas Education Agency had upheld the decision to close the school district and annex it to Houston ISD this summer. The ruling, however, does not end the school district’s fight to remain open. North Forest attorney Chris Tritico pledged to once again appeal the […]

House passes major changes to testing and graduation requirements

This is a big deal. Texas public high school students would face far fewer high-stakes exams and gain more freedom in choosing courses under a major education bill approved by the state House on Tuesday. Hours of debate among lawmakers centered on whether the state was giving students much-needed flexibility or scaling back too far […]

HISD and KIPP debate North Forest’s future

HISD SUperintendent Terry Grier and KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg meet with the Chronicle to discuss their vision for North Forest ISD. Under either scenario, students could face longer school hours to help them catch up academically, and some employees may have to change positions or lose their jobs if they don’t perform well. Grier said […]

North Forest still fighting closure

I don’t know how successful they’ll be, nor do I know if I should wish them luck. Texas Education Agency officials on Friday made their final case for closing North Forest ISD, while district leaders countered that the school system has improved but is being held to an unfair standard. The TEA’s chief deputy commissioner, […]

Not so fast on the North Forest charter plan

Not everyone is convinced that the plan to allow a consortium of charter schools to take over North Forest ISD is a good idea. In interviews Monday, state Rep. Senfronia Thompson and Sens. Rodney Ellis and John Whitmire, all Democrats, voiced reservations about the last-ditch attempt to prevent the annexation of North Forest to Houston […]

Charters apply to take over North Forest ISD

Fine by me. In a potentially groundbreaking move, three of Houston’s top-performing charter schools are making a pitch to run the long-troubled North Forest school district. The charter groups — KIPP, YES Prep and Harmony — are asking Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams to approve their plan, instead of having the Houston Independent School District […]

How much testing is too much?

There’s not a consensus on the right number of mandatory high school standardized exams, but a lot of people are saying that what we’re doing right now is too much. The number of high-stakes exams in Texas is the most nationwide, according to the Education Commission of the States. Texas students previously had to pass […]

Why do we think more charters would help?

Patricia Kilday Hart discusses the political battle over charter schools, but in doing so reminds me that there’s a fundamental question that seems to be going largely unasked. Now, a sweeping bill filed by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, could lead to an explosion in Texas charter operations. Patrick, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, would […]

Some charter school stories

Now that Sen. Dan Patrick has filed his school choice bill, I thought this would be a good time to review some recent stories about charter schools. There were a couple of interesting stories relating to charter schools in the DMN the weekend before last. This story is about four charter school applications that contained […]

North Forest ISD fighting closure

This was to be expected. About 60 attended a meeting Saturday in response to TEA Commissioner of Education Michael Williams’ recommendation on Thursday to dissolve NFISD due to poor academic performance and low high school completion rates, among other issues. Leaders of the 6,900-student northeast Houston district said they will fight the decision all the […]

TEA orders North Forest ISD shut down

This could be the end for North Forest ISD. Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams recommended that the district of 6,900 students be annexed into the mammoth Houston ISD effective July 1. His statement came just two days after the district said it would seek a partnership with Texas A&M University to assume day-to-day operations of […]

Here come the STAAR reform bills

Fire one: State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, the newly appointed chairman of the House Public Education Committee, filed legislation Wednesday that would restructure the state’s high school graduation and student testing requirements. Aycock’s proposal, House Bill 5, would move public schools to an accountability system with grades of A through F, a concept that […]

What we need is better choice

With all the talk about “school choice” floating around, it’s important to remember that in Houston at least we already have a lot of options from which to choose. Houston’s urban school leaders vowed Wednesday to continue efforts to expand quality school choices, despite financial and regulatory challenges. Top charters schools – including KIPP and […]