The fight over public school funding continues with another installment of Judge John Dietz’s courtroom. In February of last year he ruled that the state funding levels were unconstitutional.
In the last legislative session the state restored $3.4 billion of the more than $5 billion they cut the previous session, but was it enough? And with the current political backdrop will education be in the spotlight for the remaining months? Will it be an effective and compelling issue for Texas voters?
Wendy Davis, the likely Democratic candidate for governor in 2014, has rolled out the second part of her education platform, providing three ways Texas high school students could gain a greater access to higher education.
Davis' platform says that one of the best ways to get students into college, graduate, and to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses is to allow them to obtain college credit while in high school.
Hundreds of school districts from across the state will head back to court on Jan. 21 to once again examine the Texas legislature’s formula for funding education. Attorneys are arguing that new money and reduced student testing did little to improve the way Texas finances the public school system.
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.
The race for the next governor of Texas has already hit on controversial issues like reproductive rights and the future of Medicaid, but public school funding is also making its way into the discussion, and in particular, school vouchers.
Vouchers work like this: A state assigns each school-age child an amount of money that they can spend how they want. They can take it to their local school district, or take it to a private religious school or a charter school.
Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams has been meeting one-on-one with school superintendents, hoping to design a template for teacher evaluations.
As part of an agreement Williams reached with the U.S. Department of Education in order to opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind program, Williams must design a solution for how schools evaluate teachers by May 2014.
"I am talking to superintendents and I am pleased, quite frankly, for teachers to be evaluated and to some degree, student growth be a part of that evaluation," Williams said.
A Texas lawmaker is reminding teachers and school administrators about his new law that legally protects a school wishing to celebrate winter religious holidays.
Nonprofit groups like Texas Values and even Santa Claus himself stood by supporting state Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, and the law he passed that provides teachers and school administrators the legal protection of the attorney general’s office when celebrating holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah.
Texas Matters: While Gov. Rick Perry has continued his hard line on Medicaid expansion under the ACA, a new study finds that Texas taxpayers will end up paying billions for the other states that do. Never fear, it is now totally fine to say "Merry Christmas" in Texas public schools. Also on this show: Amy Tan talks about the inspiration behind her new book, "The Valley of Amazement."
A group of civil rights and social justice groups are calling on the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers to ban school resource officers from being allowed to use stun guns and pepper spray against students.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas is one of the groups pushing to ban school police officers from using such practices, what the commission calls less-than-lethal tactics.
The plea comes after a high school student at Bastrop ISD’s Cedar Creek campus was "Tased" as he allegedly was trying to break up a fight between two other students.