Education

Texas Public Schools
3:47 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Teachers Detail How Alternative Methods Have Helped Their Students

Beyond the reduction of standardized testing under House Bill 5, the House Committee on Public Education is also looking at using more of an innovative approach to teaching.

This week lawmakers heard details about how project-based learning and "flipped" classrooms have revolutionized the way students learn. A "flipped" classroom is when students are assigned a lecture video to watch at home so that class time can be dedicated to projects and activities based on that lesson.  

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Texas Public Schools
11:51 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Teachers Express Concern With New TEA Evaluation Pilot Program

Credit Ryan Poppe / TPR News

State teachers gave House leaders their take on the new job assessment pilot program designed by the Texas Education Agency. Teachers criticized the use of student test scores to measure job performance, calling the formula “black magic” with no type of scientific evidence.

As part an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, the TEA designed a program for teacher evaluation in order to opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind program. The proposed plan gives student end-of-course exams a 20 percent weight, which is a minimum set by federal education officials.

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San Antonio Schools
10:13 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Districts Trying To Keep State Funds For Mass Absences Caused By Fiesta Week Threat

Days after the Fiesta week threat that caused mass absences in districts across the city, a student at Madison High School was discovered to have brought three guns on campus. Parents lined up to pick up their children after the lockdown was lifted.
Joey Palacios TPR News

School districts financially impacted by the mass student absence following a city wide school violence threat have the option to appeal the state’s withholding of funds.

Every time an individual student is absent, the school district he or she attends loses potential money from the Texas Education Agency.

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Charter Schools
2:54 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Villarreal Pledges To Take Action Following Charter School Financial Accountability Reports

State Rep. Mike Villarreal of San Antonio is pledging to take up charter school issues in the next legislative session.
Credit Eileen Pace / TPR News

Following a series of reports released by Texas State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff on charter school financial accountability, a state lawmaker said he’s looking into legislation for the 2015 session that will address the issue.

According to an analysis released by Ratliff last week:

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Charter Schools
4:49 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Side-By-Side Comparison Shows Charters Cost More And Have Lower Accountability Ratings

After looking into administrative pay and financial accountability, a comparison between Texas charter schools and public districts show an over 30 percent gap between the two groups as it pertains to student accountability ratings.

According to 2013 numbers taken from the Texas Education Agency’s website, 62 percent of charter schools were rated as meeting the standard, while 15 percent needed improvement. Not included that set of numbers was dropout recovery and residential treatment charters, which are rated by a different standard.

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Financial Accountability
10:06 am
Thu May 8, 2014

In Second Report From SBOE Vice Chair, Charter Financial Disparities Go Beyond Pay

Ratliff is hoping his series of reports about charter school financial accountability will make its way to the Legislature in the 2015 session.
Credit Ryan Poppe / TPR News

Using data from the Texas Education Agency’s website, State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff showed how the overall spending at a majority of charter schools is over the recommended amount set by the state.   

Ratliff said the general conversation about charter schools focuses on school choice, but, he said, the financial management and accountability isn’t something that’s often addressed. Following his study on superintendent pay at charter schools, it was suggested that he examine overall spending.

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Teacher Evaluations
10:22 am
Wed May 7, 2014

New Evaluation System Gives Tests 20 Percent Weight, Educators Outraged

As per his agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has submitted a new teacher evaluation model this week that uses student test scores as one of the components for measuring a teacher's success.   

The teacher evaluation system is part of the waiver that allowed Texas to opt out of No Child Left Behind.  This week Williams released the final draft of that evaluation, an evaluation that counts 20 percent from students' standardized test scores. 

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Financial Accountability
12:06 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Drastic Pay Difference Per Student Between Charter & Public School Superintendents

SBOE member Thomas Ratliff.
Credit State of Texas

New numbers released by Texas State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff shows superintendents at Texas charter schools are paid more than their public school counterparts.   

Ratliff has been sifting through the annual financial reports for public schools and charter schools, which are put out by the Texas Education Agency.  

"From what I’ve seen there are a lot superintendents from some very small charter schools making a whole lot of money, especially if you compare them to their public school or their ISD counterparts,” Ratliff said.

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Reach Higher Initiative
6:35 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama Launches 'Reach Higher' Initiative at SA2020 College Signing Day

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at SA2020's College Signing Day
Joey Palacios Texas Public Radio

First Lady Michelle Obama visited the University of Texas at San Antonio today as part of SA2020’s  College Signing Day. She announced The White House is launching its own education initiative called Reach Higher.

The Convocation Center at UTSA was filled with more than 2000 high school students on the verge of graduation. Each separated by the universities they planned to attend.

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NISD Bond 2014
10:16 am
Wed April 30, 2014

To Accommodate Growth, Northside ISD Pushing For $648 Million Bond

A portion of NISD's district map showing the new schools that will be built in the bond.
Northside ISD

This week is the start of early voting and on the ballot is a $648 million bond proposal for Northside Independent School District to alleviate the growth spurt of one of the largest districts in the state.

Growth in Northside is not predicted to stop anytime soon. There are currently 101,000 students and a predicted 2,000 new students every year for the next two decades. The $648 million bond includes $274 million for six new schools and planning for a seventh, and $170 million for renovation and reconstruction of existing schools.

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