News of the Week
House Budget Writers Back $500 Million More for Schools
House budget leaders voted Thursday to send a supplemental budget bill to the House floor with $500 million more for public schools and payments to state agencies to cover costs related to last year’s wildfires.
High School Curriculum Bill Headed to Senate Floor
Senators voted out House Bill 5, which recently passed the full House, after substituting much of its language with that of Senate bills the committee had already approved. In addition to dropping the number of state exams students must take to graduate from 15 to five, in biology, U.S. history, algebra I, and English I and II, the legislation changes current diploma standards that require four years each in math, science, English, and social studies.
Polling Center: Education No Magic Bullet for Democrats
Recently, Jeff Crosby pointed to two victories by Reps. Abel Herrero and Joe Moody in the 2012 elections as evidence that “… poll after poll showed that public education was a powerful vote-mover. And the Republicans had no compelling defense.”
Report: Texas Colleges Should Graduate Students Faster
Fewer than one-third of Texas students entering four-year universities graduate within four years, according to a new report from Complete College America. Fewer than one-sixth of students complete community college in two-years. Over the course of five years, more than $440 million in state appropriations and grant aid goes to university dropouts, as well as more than $60 million in federal grants. Each year, Texans earn $57 million worth of college credits that are not needed for their degrees.
Principal’s office or courtroom? Texas school discipline reform makes sense
In the name of making campuses safer and more orderly for learning, Texas public schools have become a massive referral system for local courts. Routine classroom problems that once were solved in the principal’s office are written up as Class C misdemeanors and bundled up for judges to sort out.
Support for the City of West and West ISD
Region Education Center joins the many organizations in Central Texas in extending our sympathies to those affected by the recent tragedy in West, Texas yesterday evening. As an organization whose mission is serving schools and educators in this area, we are particularly sensitive to this terrible tragedy. Click through to find out how you can donate supplies for schools, teachers, and students affected by the blast.
SBOE REVIEW OF CSCOPE CURRICULUM SYSTEM ALREADY RAISING RED FLAGS
Acting at the request of state Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, last month state board Chairwoman Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, appointed an “ad hoc” board committee to review a curriculum management system called CSCOPE. Used in more than 800 public school districts as well as a number of private and religious schools, CSCOPE is a product of Education Service Centers that were created by the state in the 1960s. CSCOPE’s purpose is to help teachers cover all of the state’s curriculum standards.
Fla. May Alter Grad Requirements, Put Algebra 2 On Chopping Block
The Florida House of Representatives unanimously passed this Senate-approved bill on April 12 eliminating the Algebra 2 test as a graduation requirement, which means it heads to GOP Gov. Rick Scott. The governor’s veto power, in case he’s interested in exercising it, seems diminished by the fact that both chambers of the legislature approved it by more than a two-thirds majority, the majority level required to override a veto.
Save Texas Schools-Legislative Update
While our priorities as an organization remain 1. fair and adequate funding; 2. reducing and reforming testing; and 3. keeping public funding going to public schools (no vouchers), we also want to keep you informed about other threats and opportunities affecting public schools. Your voice, whether by e-mail, phone or other means, is KEY in moving our legislators to do the right things for children.
Researchers Weigh In On the Parent Trigger
With a boost from Hollywood and a strong advocacy push from a cohort of think tanks, the “parent trigger” has burst onto the educational policy scene. These policies authorize parent referenda that would turn neighborhood schools over to private charter school operators or would otherwise force drastic changes to the governance of these schools. This parent trigger approach is being touted as a way to empower parents in dealing with troubled local schools and in guiding their children’s education.
There are those that are always arguing the meme that “money doesn’t matter” for US schools. What is interesting is that we have to look no further than the “choice” movement for evidence that money DOES matter. Without further ado, a top ten list of evidence from the “choice” movement that money does matter.
Equity Center: Hearings Recap
Below is a recap of yesterday’s Senate Education and House Public Education hearings. We encourage you to explore more about the individual bills by clicking on the links. Please note if a substitute version was adopted by the committee it may not be available online immediately.
Board of Education bristles at losing power over charter schools
The State Board of Education on Wednesday lambasted a high-profile proposal approved by the Texas Senate that would strip the education panel of its power to authorize new charter schools.
Equity Center Legislative Alert
The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet Friday morning to discuss House Bill 1025, a supplemental appropriations bill. It is our understanding a substitute will be offered tomorrow morning that includes an additional $500 million for public education for the FY 12-13 and would be distributed on a per WADA basis.
Senate approves handgun training for school employees
The measure by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, would provide limited state funding for a training program that would be offered to any public schools in the state – including charter schools – that do not have their own police or security officers. The proposal is intended to supplement existing law, which allows school districts to assign certain employees with a concealed handgun license to carry a weapon on campus to protect students.