TEA

Pre-K in Texas
12:59 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

TEA Seeking Federal Grant To Expand Pre-K In Texas

The city of San Antonio's Pre-K 4 SA program, an all-day pre-K, graduated its first class in June of this year.
Credit Ryan Loyd / TPR News

The Texas education commissioner has informed federal officials the state intends to seek a $30 million grant that would expand pre-kindergarten opportunities. That would include increasing enrollment for non-English speaking students and possible all-day pre-K.

While the two gubernatorial candidates debate how pre-K should be run, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams wants to make sure Texas has the financial resources for increasing pre-K opportunities.  

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Education
10:31 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Boating And Water Safety Added To Driver's Education Program

Still from Beautiful But Gone video: Dana Gage, whose son died from a diving accident, urges viewers to wear a lifejacket.
Credit Texas Parks and Wildlife

The Texas Education Agency has approved a parks and wildlife water safety program to educate young adults and teens who spend time boating, fishing, and swimming in Texas waterways.

The newest video centers around testimonials of parents that have lost their children in water-recreation accidents.

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Texas Public Schools
12:38 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Updated: Judge Rules Texas School Finance System Is Unconstitutional

Educators and others rallied at the state capitol in 2011 when the Legislature cut $5.4 billion from the education budget.
Credit Eileen Pace / TPR News

Update (4:05 p.m.): In his final decision, Travis County District Judge John Dietz said that the property tax system set up to fund school districts was ineffective at distributing funding equally to campuses across the state. 

Attorney David Thompson represents the largest number of schools in the lawsuit.

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Texas Public Schools
11:41 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Senate Education Committee Grills TEA On STAAR Writing Exam Standards

Texas Senate Committee on Education discuss STAAR writing test scores.
Credit Ryan E. Poppe / TPR News

   

State lawmakers took issue with the Texas Education Agency’s plan to keep the standard for writing component of the Texas STAARS exam at a lower level for a third year in a row. Lawmakers voiced concerns with keeping the lower standard and changing the exam while student performance  remains flat.

The state introduced the STAAR exams in 2011 and because of failing test grades the legislature reduced the number of exams from 15 to five in 2013.  

State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, D-San Antonio, said the STAAR exam may have run its course. 

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Border & Immigration
6:09 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Texas Education Agency Not Sure What To Do With Immigrant Children

Credit Texas Education Agency

Following a surge of Central American minors crossing  into the United States illegally, the state of Texas is attempting to figure out what to do about their education. 

A 1982 Supreme Court ruing mandated that all states would be required to provide an education to migrant children regardless of legal status. With the recent increase of Central American children, the  Texas Education Agency is not sure what to do.

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Texas Public Schools
4:37 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Texas Education Commissioner Requests Extension For Rollout Of New Teacher Evaluations

Credit US Department of Education

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has asked the U.S. Department of Education allow the state to delay a full rollout of a new teacher evaluation system and teacher's associations are applauding Williams' action.

As per agreement with that allows Texas to opt out of sections of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Williams was to design a teacher evaluation pilot program, test it using voluntary school districts, and then rollout the program after a year. 

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Texas Public Schools
4:20 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

LULAC, MALDEF File Federal Suit Over Texas English Language Learner Programs

The Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on the behalf of the League of United Latin-American Citizens, alleging the state of Texas isn’t doing enough to advance English language learner (ELL) students in public schools.

The lawsuit also names San Antonio-area school districts North East ISD and Southwest ISD as defendants and references continuing state education reports to show ELL students are not given as many opportunities as other students.

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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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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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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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