State district court Judge John Dietz announced today that a six-week trial on school finance will open in January so that legislation passed in the 2013 Legislative session can be considered. Read the article in today’s Texas Tribune here.
June 19, 2013
The Texas Education Agency is posting the status of education legislation. Find the chart here.
June 12, 2013
Education Week and the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center released its national “Diplomas Count 2013: Second Chances—Turning Dropouts into Graduates” report. Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams issued a statement on the findings for Texas:
- For the Class of 2010, Texas’ graduation rate for all students (74.8 percent) exceeded the national average (74.7 percent) and that of comparable large states including California, Florida, and New York.
- For the Class of 2010, Texas’ graduation rate for all students exceeded that of all neighboring states (New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana).
- For the Class of 2010, Texas’ graduation rate for Hispanic students (73.3 percent) exceeded the national average (68.1 percent) and that of California (66 percent).
- In the ten-year period from the Class of 2000 through the Class of 2010, the Texas graduation rate jumped 11.9 percent, the seventh largest increase among all the states.
- According to a Diplomas Count 2013 analysis, large Texas school districts that are posting “graduation rates higher than expected” (given their size, poverty level and other defining characteristics) include: Northside ISD, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Fort Worth ISD, Austin ISD, Houston ISD, and Dallas ISD.
The Editorial Projects in Education Research Center uses the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) method to calculate graduation rates. The CPI is less accurate than the four-year on-time graduation rate created by the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics that Texas normally reports. To view the complete Diplomas Count 2013 report, go here.
June 10, 2013
The Texas American Federation of Teachers has posted a blog outlining concerns about “achievement district” legislation. Read the article here.
June 4, 2013
If you are wondering how the new state budget will fund your school district for the next biennium, go to the interactive 2014-15 School Finance Budget Viewer, provided by The Texas Tribune here.
May 28, 2013
In yesterday’s Washington Post, Valerie Strauss shared an article by David Pickler that examined what is wrong with the school voucher bill passed last year in Louisiana.
Pickler begins by saying, “Imagine a state outsourcing the education of its disadvantaged children to dozens of private entities, asking for only minimal updates on the students’ learning and their financial management of taxpayers’ dollars.”
Pickler goes on to say that the Louisiana bill was designed to be a template for bills in other states. Indeed, it is being considered in other states even though it has now been declared unconstitutional by the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Read the whole article.
May 21, 2013
There has been much discussion about the funding of Texas schools and the role of testing in our schools. There is, however, another important issue related to public schools being considered by the Texas Legislature.
Out-of-state foundations, lobby groups, and investors are encouraging the passage of a collection of bills that can lead to a community losing control of its neighborhood school. The new laws would create circumstances where the local school can be handed over to a for-profit company, eliminating any input or participation by the local parents, the local school board, the local school administration, the local voters who built the school, or the local taxpayers who support the school.
Worst of all, these bills are sometimes called “parent empowerment” when, in fact, they are the opposite. Read more about the so-called “parent trigger” bill (SB1263) here. Another of the bills (SB1718) creates a statewide “achievement school district.”
May 21, 2013
Texas made a strong showing in Newsweek’s 2013 list of America’s best high schools, with a focus on those preparing students for college. Use the sorting tool to find the schools in the state and in your area:
May 17, 2013
At present, there is no law against a charter school hiring relatives of board members and superintendents. In fact, more than 40% of charter schools are using taxpayer dollars to pay relatives, according to reports to the Texas Education Agency.
SB2, under consideration by the Texas Legislature, would ban nepotism in charter schools, but charter school operators are lobbying that existing charter schools be grandfathered from the proposed law.
Current laws prohibit nepotism in traditional public schools.
May 16, 2013
Among the many discussions at the state capitol are discussions of two ideas that would affect a community’s ability to make decisions about local schools.
- Parent Trigger—This idea is promoted as “parent empowerment,” but the bottom line is that after parents petition for a low-performing school to be put under different management, the state takes over and hands the school off to a charter school or a school management organization. The local community and the elected school board would no longer have a say about the governance or management of the school.
- Achievement School District (ASD)—With an ASD the state would remove a low-performing school from local decision-making by placing it in a state school district without an elected governing board. Bureaucrats in Austin would take over the school, hire new staff members, and leave taxpayers and the local community out of the process.
Chapter 11.151 of the Education Code assigns exclusive power to the elected school boards to govern and oversee the management of the public schools in the district. Both of these ‘reform’ ideas violate state law regarding how public schools are governed.
May 15, 2013