Texas Education Agency

Officially, the U.S. has a high school graduation rate of 81 percent — a historic high.

But our months-long investigation, in partnership with reporters at 14 member stations, reveals that this number should be taken with a big grain of salt. We found states, cities and districts pursuing a range of strategies to improve the grad rate:

Courtesy: U.S. Census Bureau

AUSTIN — Disabled students say they were charged with truancy and funneled out of public schools, according to an official complaint they filed Wednesday, accusing 13 districts and the Texas Education Agency of violating federal law.

Three nonprofits — Disability Rights Texas, the National Center for Youth Law and Texas Appleseed — mailed the complaint to the Texas Education Agency on behalf of the students, but are seeking an outside investigator. They accuse the agency and the districts, including those in Austin, Houston, Fort Worth and San Antonio, of violating the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The Texas Education Agency declined to comment on the complaint, since it has not yet been received, spokeswoman DeEtta Culberson said.

AUSTIN — Officials say they won’t include math scores on state-mandated standardized tests for students in third through eighth grade when calculating this year’s state accountability ratings.

Education Commissioner Michael Williams said in a statement Wednesday that he’s spoken to numerous teachers who made it clear students will need “a transition year” to adjust to new testing requirements.

Christopher C. Leonard / cc

Following several hearings on the issue and meetings with private charters, the Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams is ready to add nearly a dozen new charter schools to state system.

Under a new law first authored by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the state is able to raise the number of charter school contracts from the current 215 schools to 305 by 2019. 

Williams is wasting no time selecting a number of new schools allowed to operate in Texas. He said he was hit with 31 applications once the law took effect.

Christopher C. Leonard / cc

The U.S. Department of Education has denied the Texas Education Commissioner’s waiver to opt-out of  testing requirements connected to the No Child Left Behind program.

Since taking office, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has petitioned the federal government to allow Texas to opt-out of 15 provisions in the Department of Education program known as No Child Left Behind.

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