Category — Uncategorized
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 No Comments
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 No Comments
The Center for Public Policy Priorities published a report this week on how tax cuts, abatements, and subsidies reduce revenue available for infrastructure needs. See the report here.
May 15, 2013 No Comments
TexasISD.com is reporting today on a new study by the Center for Public Policy Priorities that shows the value of investing in Texas children. See the information and link to the report here.
May 9, 2013 No Comments
According to PolitiFact, “State education spending in 2012 was 25 percent lower than it was in 2002, adjusting for inflation and the real effects of the 2006 law giving the state more responsibility for education revenues.”
See the whole article.
May 8, 2013 No Comments
If you haven’t already seen it, a good source of information on public education in the Lone Star State is A Guide to Texas Public Education, published by the Texas Association of School Boards. It contains a “Fast Facts” section, a glossary, and a series of topical background briefs. It can be found online here.
May 3, 2013 No Comments
Five locally elected school board members talk about how last sessions’ $5.4 billion cuts to Texas public schools hurt their districts and why Texas should rally around public schools and their students. See the video here.
April 30, 2013 No Comments
Commissioner of Education Michael Williams announced this week the framework of the new 2013 state accountability system for schools in Texas, which will go into effect August 8, 2013.
The 2013 accountability system will use a performance index considering four areas (including student groups that are part of that index):
- Student Achievement – Represents a snapshot of performance across all subjects, on both general and alternative assessments, at an established performance standard. (All Students)
- Student Progress – Provides an opportunity for diverse campuses to show improvements made independent of overall achievement levels. Growth is evaluated by subject and student group. (All Students; Student Groups by Race/Ethnicity; English Language Learners; Special Education)
- Closing Performance Gaps – Emphasizes advanced academic achievement of the economically disadvantaged student group and the lowest performing race/ethnicity student groups at each campus or district. (All Students; Student Groups by Race/Ethnicity)
- Postsecondary Readiness – Includes measures of high school completion, and beginning in 2014, State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) performance at the postsecondary readiness standard. This measure emphasizes the importance of students receiving high school diplomas that provide the foundation necessary for success in college, the workforce, job training programs or the military. (All Students; Student Groups by Race/Ethnicity; English Language Learners; Special Education)
District and campuses with students in Grade 9 or above must meet targets on all four indexes. Districts and campuses with students in Grade 8 or lower must meet targets on the first three indexes (excluding Postsecondary Readiness).
Schools will receive one of three ratings:
- Met Standard – Met accountability targets on all indexes for which they have performance data in 2013
- Met Alternative Standard – Met modified performance index targets for alternative education campuses or districts
- Improvement Required – Did not meet one or more performance index targets
Distinction designations will also be assigned in the following areas:
- Top 25 Percent Student Progress
- Academic Achievement in Reading/English language arts
- Academic Achievement in Mathematics
Accountability advisory groups will reconvene later this year to finalize recommendations for accountability ratings criteria for 2014 and beyond.
A detailed overview of all components of the 2013 state accountability system is available on the Texas Education Agency website.
April 25, 2013 No Comments
Today’s Answer Sheet in the Washington Post includes an article by Stanley N. Katz that examines the role of private foundations and wealthy philanthropists in shaping public policies on American education. Read the whole article.
April 24, 2013 No Comments
Whether they are called tax credits, opportunity scholarships, special ed vouchers, or virtual school vouchers, they are still vouchers and still divert public funds to private institutions.
- Vouchers divert public funds to private institutions that are not accountable to taxpayers or the state for producing results or spending tax dollars wisely.
- Public school choice is already widely available in Texas, and options continue to grow within public schools. Magnet schools, intra-district and inter-district student transfers, open-enrollment campuses, charter schools, schools within schools, evening high schools, and school to work programs are examples of choice alternatives currently available within the public system.
- Vouchers provide choice for schools, not students. Vouchers do not require private schools to accept all students who apply for admittance. Private schools may turn away students for many reasons and have a profit motive to admit students who have the fewest educational challenges.
- Vouchers provide choice for some, not all. Vouchers would disproportionately benefit those who live in urban areas. Students in rural areas would not have equal access to private schools, especially those that serve students with special needs.
More information on school choice and vouchers may be found in the Guide to Texas Public Education beginning on page 16
April 22, 2013 No Comments