Education

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

One of the most anticipated debates of the 85th Legislative Session began taking shape Monday with the layout of a two-part Texas Senate bill that would allow for Texas taxpayer dollars to be used to help parents send their kids to private or religious schools.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

The State Board of Education starts to review a months-long process this week to simplify its science curriculum standards, including recommendations to remove some controversial requirements to teach alternate theories to evolution, including creationism.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Hundreds of teachers, parents and students rallied outside the Texas state Capitol on Tuesday in support of a proposal that would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send public school students to private schools.

Illustration by Todd Wiseman/Paul Hudson

Texas House and Senate leaders unveiled dueling budget proposals — starting nearly $8 billion apart — in separate moves Tuesday that foreshadowed remarkably different priorities in the two chambers during a legislative session that promises to be even more tightfisted than usual. 

Texas Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson on Tuesday proposed a $213.4 billion two-year base budget.

KUT News

The divide over how Texas should educate its 5.3 million public school students will become clear during the 2017 legislative session. 

The Texas State Board of Education preliminarily voted 14-0 today to reject a Mexican-American history textbook that scholars have said was riddled with inaccuracies. A final vote on the textbook is due Friday. 

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

When it comes to the electoral college, Texas is like most states: winner-take-all (only two states, Nebraska and Maine, aren't). So we're red and, if Democrats' dreams came true, we'd someday be blue.

Wendy Davis, a former gubernatorial candidate and former state senator from Dallas-Fort Worth, says she sees a possibility of a change in hue.

 


Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Jessica Foulke teaches seventh grade social studies at a North Austin charter school. She says her students started texting her early on Election Night as the results came in. Many of them were worried because Hillary Clinton was losing.

When Rosley Espinoza's daughter was very young, in preschool, she started acting differently. She seemed distracted and would get in trouble at school.

"Lack of interest, teachers' notes coming home with behavior notes," Espinoza says, speaking in Spanish.

She says she asked school officials to evaluate her daughter, Citlali, for special education, but they didn't.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

At least four Central Texas school districts are exploring a new state law that allows them to become a "district of innovation." That designation means they can be exempt from various state regulations – just as open enrollment charter schools are. That can give schools more flexibility when it comes to hiring, class sizes and the school year start date, but not everyone is happy with the idea.


In Dripping Springs, Parents Weigh In on Bathroom Debate

Sep 27, 2016
Martin do Nascimento / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Walnut Springs Elementary School's decision to allow a transgender student, born a boy, to use girls' bathrooms sparked contentious debate during a Monday night meeting of the Dripping Springs School Board.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Stephen G. Peters, founder of the nationally recognized Gentlemen's and Ladies Club programs, author, and superintendent-elect of the Laurens County School District 55 in South Carolina.

World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Since the 1970s, federal law has stated that all children with disabilities are entitled to a free public education appropriate to their needs. Nationwide, the percentage of kids who receive special ed services is around 13 percent.

But in Texas, that number is substantially lower. Just 8.5 percent of all public school kids in Texas are enrolled in special ed programs – the lowest percentage in the country. That number appears to be no mere accident – instead, it’s a rather specific objective.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

From Texas Standard:

The debate over campus carry across Texas has been a noisy one – and nowhere’s been noisier than the University of Texas at Austin. You've likely heard about the student protests, the counter-protests, and, of course, the sex toys.

But now a YouTube video has upped the ante on the outrage scale.


Terry McCombs/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

When Sam Espinosa was a kid, it took a while for Austin Independent School District to learn he was homeless.

"My mom is a fairly private person – she was never one to let anyone else into,  you know, what we were going through," Espinosa says.

So, Sam and his five siblings became fairly good at pretending they had a place to live.

 


Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

Along with other Texas lawmakers,  state Rep. Diego Bernal, a Democrat from San Antonio, has been getting an earful from all sides on problems with public education in Texas.

But rather than taking someone else's word for it, he did what no other lawmaker has yet to do – he visited every single school in his district, 55 in all.

 


Nathan Bernier / KUT

Public school districts in Texas are no longer supposed to file criminal charges against a student for missing too much school. They’re supposed to use the court system only as a last resort. It’s part of last year’s sweeping change to the state’s truancy law that put more emphasis on preventing dropouts and truancy rather than criminalizing that behavior. But school districts are still waiting for some state guidance on how to do that.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. John B. Diamond, the Hoefs-Bascom Professor of Education at University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, and co-author of “Despite The Best Intentions,”

Flickr/biologycorner (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Penalties for the vendor behind this year's botched state student achievement tests total $1.4 million and Texas education officials say the penalties are likely to rise even further for the screw-ups with this year's STAAR exams – computer glitches, missing materials, disappearing answers, lost test results, student information leaked sent to the wrong school districts.

Kgv88 /Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

In May, Mexico's Secretariat of Public Education fired 3,000 teachers. The government agency claimed the teachers had not worked for three days. The teachers say they were on strike because of recent education reforms.

In June, the government arrested the leader of a dissident teacher union splinter group, CNTE, on charges of corruption. Then yesterday, six people were killed and dozens of civilians and police were injured in clashes in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

The tension between teacher unions and the government is escalating.

 


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