State Board of Education

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Texas may soon add one more item to the list of national education practices it has bucked over the years.  

Because of changes coming to the GED in 2014, the Texas Education Agency is putting out feelers to figure out how much a new state-based high school equivalency exam would cost.

Last year, the American Council on Education, a national organization of higher-education institutions that develops the exams, partnered with Pearson, a London-based testing company. They formed a jointly owned entity called GED Testing Services, which has since overhauled the exam in an effort to better test the skills needed in the workplace.

Flickr user Noah Jacquemin,

Migration from Mexico to U.S. at Net Zero — Or less

Are more Mexican immigrants leaving the United States than entering? Maybe. A new report by the Pew Hispanic Center found net migration from Mexico to the U.S. has stopped—and perhaps reversed.

In an analysis of censuses and other data from both countries, researchers determined 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the U.S. from 2005 to 2010. Over that same five-year period, 1.4 million Mexican immigrants and their U.S.-born children moved from America to Mexico.

Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News

Closing Arguments in Texas Redistricting Trial

A federal court in Washington will hear closing arguments today in the Texas redistricting trial, the Associated Press reports. 

Photo by Judy Baxter

Social studies standards adopted by the Texas State Board of Education will leave students unprepared for college, according to a new report by a professor of history at the University of Texas El Paso.

The report was prepared by Keith Erekson for the Social Studies Faculty Collaborative, an organization funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The report’s findings have not been reviewed by the Faculty Collaborative or the Coordinating Board.

“The end result for the students in the classroom is that it’s going to be a lot harder to go to college,” said Erekson, who directs a teacher education program and a center for history and learning at UTEP.

Photo by Michael J. Cargill

Former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders' charter school application was among eight approved by the Texas State Board of Education today.

The decision came after a brief discussion during which members raised questions about the schools' academic rigor and Sanders' involvement.

"I have no idea what the applicant plans to do in the classroom, how they plan to instruct the TEKS," said Michael Soto, D-San Antonio, adding, " I have no idea what they plan to offer in a day to day classroom experience."

Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

The State Board of Education cannot use money from the $25 billion Permanent School Fund to help charter schools acquire buildings or other facilities, according to a legal opinion issued today by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. He said the only consideration for investment should be how much money the SBOE earns on it, and how safe that investment is.

They did not have the money to adopt new textbooks. But the State Board of Education has approved supplementary online materials that will wind up in science classrooms this fall.

A socially conservative group of board members saw its power reduced, after the last election. So when the battle lines were drawn over how vigorously students should question theories supporting evolution, social conservatives did not push as hard as they might have two years ago when the standards were adopted.

“I don’t think there’s any question. Had some seats not changed, it would have been a different outcome,” Thomas Ratliff, a moderate Republican on the state board, told KUT.

Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

As the State Board of Education spends the next two days deciding which science materials to insert into Texas classrooms this fall, a new piece of legislation signed by Governor Perry on Tuesday gave school districts the power essentially to ignore that list.

Photo courtesy of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Texas Executes Man Convicted in Post 9/11 Shootings

The State of Texas executed a man last night who went on a shooting spree after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Mark Stroman was put to death for killing Dallas-area convenience store clerk Vasudev Patel. Stroman also killed Waqar Hasan and injured Rais Bhuiyan. Stroman said he was targeting people who he thought were of Middle Eastern descent. 

Caleb Bryant Miller, Texas Tribune

Some members of the Texas State Board of Education have expressed disappointment over comments by the newly appointed Chairperson of the Board. Barbara Cargill (R-The Woodlands) said there are only “six true conservative Christians” on the 15-member elected body.

Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller, Texas Tribune

Senate Democrats may have ousted avowed creationist Gail Lowe as chairperson of the State Board of Education, but the move will do little to reduce the influence of social conservatives on the elected 15 member board.

Democrats control twelve of the 31 seats in the Texas Senate, but only eleven votes are needed to block a nomination. And all twelve Democrats were unwilling to confirm Lowe.

Image Courtesy of,

More Fallout from Comptroller's Security Breach

The Houston Chronicle is reporting a second class-action lawsuit has been filed against Texas Comptroller Susan Combs on behalf of the 3.5 million people whose personal information was compromised online. The suit was filed in federal court in Houston. 

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Culture war issues might figure less prominently in Texas education politics after the five freshmen members of the State Board of Education are sworn in tomorrow. Two of those five are moderate Republicans replacing socially conservative members of the board who often voted as part of a bloc on controversial issues.

Because religious conservatives did not increase their numbers on the board in the last election, their voting bloc has effectively been reduced from seven members to five.