Texas Public Schools

Ryan Loyd / TPR News

Houston-based Children at Risk spent a day at the capitol Thursday to update state lawmakers on the benefits of all-day pre-K programs.

"One of the things we know is that 60 percent of Texas school children are low income," said Children at Risk President Dr. Bob Sanborn. "And the research is pretty clear that when you have low-income kids, if you have a high-quality pre-K program they’re going to start kindergarten in a better way, at a more advanced level."

Beyond the reduction of standardized testing under House Bill 5, the House Committee on Public Education is also looking at using more of an innovative approach to teaching.

This week lawmakers heard details about how project-based learning and "flipped" classrooms have revolutionized the way students learn. A "flipped" classroom is when students are assigned a lecture video to watch at home so that class time can be dedicated to projects and activities based on that lesson.  

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:

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.

Flickr user biologycorner (Shannan Muskopf) / cc

State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff wants people to know that charter school superintendents are making more money -- at times surprisingly more money -- than their public school peers. He wants to know if the schools that are run like a business, but take state funds per student, are using those state funds wisely.

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