Federal education officials have denied a state waiver that would have eliminated the need to test eighth grade students' math skills more than once -- the denial is related to provisions in House Bill 5 that reduced the overall number of end-of-course exams.
Michael Williams, the Texas education commissioner, said some of the biggest school districts in the state are showing interest in a new state-initiated teacher evaluation program but teacher’s unions fear the pilot program will involve high-stakes test scores.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has been attempting to change the Texas school system’s use-of-force policies for on-campus police officers since a November 2013 incident that left a Bastrop student in a coma (see video below).
"We sent a letter originally to the Commission on Law Enforcement and we were unfortunately told by them they didn’t have the authority to institute a ban," said Matt Simpson with the Austin office of the ACLU of Texas.
Six open-enrollment charter schools have been notified by the state that they are about to have their license revoked. A new law passed by the legislature gives the education commissioner greater authority, including revoking a failing charter school’s state license.
This week Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams sent six open-enrollment charter schools notices of mandatory revocation. Under the new law calling for more charter schools, the commissioner was also given additional authority to revoke failing charter schools state license.
The debate over vouchers is heating up on the national level with proposed legislation, "The Scholarship for Kids Act of 2014" to give federal dollars to students opting out of public school. School choice is the best way for underserved communities to get a good education, say conservatives pushing this legislation.
According to the Texas Education Agency, nearly a quarter of all high school juniors have fell short of end-of-course graduation requirements -- those numbers were what attorneys led with on day two of the Texas school finance trial.
According to the TEA, over 309,000 students met the necessary requirements and passed a set of end-of-course exams in order to graduate in 2015, which works out to about 76 percent of all Texas high school juniors.
San Antonio District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña has sent a letter to the Texas Education Agency asking it to investigate the South San Independent School District in light of numerous complaints from concerned parents and citizens.
The district is already on the TEA’s radar, but Saldaña is calling for a full investigation. In a two-page letter, Saldaña cites mismanagement of federal and state money, governance concerns, and the academic performance of students as the reason for his request. Although the city has cannot govern the district, Saldaña wants the state to intervene.
Education experts and state agencies are citing a number of reasons for the lack of first-year educators in the state. In the last four years, the number of new teachers in Texas has seen a sharp decline.
According to a new report, Texas had fewer than 15,000 first-year teachers hired last year, which is down from the 25,000 in 2008. So why the decline? Debbie Ratcliffe with the Texas Education Agency said there are a number of reasons for the drop.
Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams visited San Antonio’s Toyota plant this week to engage professionals and state officials on how to implement new curriculum changes that offer career and technology opportunities.
Williams said he needs to understand what skills students need to possess before, during, and after high school.