TEA

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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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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The Source - April 16, 2014
11:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

The Source: Cultural Identity And Academic Success

Credit Ryan Poppe / TPR News

Mexican-American studies courses were pushed to the back of the line; sometimes having no curriculum, as here in Texas, or being outright banned in states like Arizona.

Many academics and activists have argued for years that we aren't educating students about their independent cultures and are instead focusing on a predominant culture that focuses on the accomplishments of white Americans. But the changing demographics of Texas raised the issue to a fever pitch last week at the State Board of Education (SBOE).

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Texas Public Schools
4:01 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

TEA Approves Use Of Tablet Applications During 8th Grade STAARS Math Exam

Officials with the Texas Education Agency say 8th graders this year will be allowed to use calculator apps on a tablet during the math portion of their State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness end-of-course exam.

While to some it may not seem like a big deal, Debbie Ratcliffe with the TEA says it is, especially considering that no other standardized tests allow the use of apps during testing.

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Texas Public Schools
11:19 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Texas 8th Graders May Have To Take Two End-Of-Course Math Tests This Year

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.

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Teachers
9:46 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Education Commissioner Says More Districts Showing Interest In Teacher Eval.

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams.
Christopher C. Leonard cc

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.

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