Texas Matters: Werecap the ruling and reaction in the case challenging Texas' ban on same-sex marriage and a look at the history behind the ban. Also on this show: A new UT/Texas Tribune poll shows how the state is changing. What do outsiders think of Texas politics? Groups push Gov. Perry to regulate stun guns in schools. And how the cold is affecting sea turtles on Padre Island.
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.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, the likely Democratic nominee for governor, is calling on Attorney General Greg Abbott to come to the table and reach a settlement agreement in legal case challenging the constitutionality of the state’s school finance system.
As Travis County District Judge John Deitz weighs hundreds of pieces of evidence in the lawsuit, Davis called on Abbott, who is representing the state in the case and is Davis' likely Republican opponent in the governor's race, to make sure Texas school districts are adequately funded.
Travis County District Judge John Dietz has finished hearing closing arguments in the Texas school finance lawsuit and now attorneys from both sides await a decision. Dietz is taking his time to formulate an opinion because the case will likely go to the Texas Supreme Court.
"I think the evidence was pretty compelling that restoring some of the money just didn’t fix all the problems," said Houston attorney David Thompson, who represents a large group of schools in the lawsuit.
Last week the Texas State Board of Education discussed the possibility of offering a statewide Mexican-American studies class as part of the statewide curriculum, a decision the board has postponed until this spring.
Of the five million students in Texas schools, 51 percent are Hispanic, leaving some to wonder why efforts of Tejanos that have shaped history, culture and the arts are not a part of curriculum.
The Texas State Board of Education has revamped how they select people to review school textbooks prior to their adoption. Some on the board were critical of how panelists were selected during the adoption of this year’s science textbook.
During the last round of book reviews it was revealed that some of those selected to review textbooks did not have a background in biology and were supporting teaching creationism, attempting to skew how books explained the Theory of Evolution.
The Texas State Board of Education was expected to vote Friday on the requirement for Algebra II to graduate high school. But the board might also consider adding Mexican-American studies as a course option.
There are five million students in Texas and 51 percent are Hispanic, but there has never been an official Mexican-American studies course in Texas public schools.
Activist Tony Diaz wants to change that.
“Because they shouldn’t deny the history that Tejanos have made in shaping the state as well as the country," Diaz said.
Texas Matters: "Demand response" is helping alleviate drain on Texas power grids. All the Republican candidates for lieutenant governor say they support teaching creationism in Texas public schools and one charter system is defying a Supreme Court ruling by doing just that. Also on this show: Same-sex marriage in Texas? And the new Texas Almanac is out.