Recent News Stories
(Dallas Morning News © 07/30/2013)
A plan to reduce testing for higher-performing elementary and middle school students was one of the feel-good bills of the 2013 legislative session. But several experts believe it will never see the light of day in Texas schools. The measure was passed with much fanfare, as parent groups and school districts urged lawmakers to scale back high-stakes testing across the board.
Common Core Standards, once beloved by education reformers, are getting a second look in more states after hefty criticism. The Associated Press reports that the doubters now includes lawmakers in Mississippi.
(San Antonio Express-News © 07/31/2013)
Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday called the Texas Legislature back for a third special session, less than an hour after the House failed to garner enough votes to approve a transportation funding he has asked lawmakers to pass.The last time the Legislature had three special sessions was in 2005-2006 over school finance issues.The House and Senate gaveled back into session within minutes of receiving Perry’s proclamation calling them back to work.
(Texas Observer © 07/31/2013)
As the Great CSCOPE Controversy of 2013 continues on its baffling way, State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff has emerged as the embattled program’s most outspoken defender at the state level—one of the very few elected officials willing to wade into tea party waters and pick a fight. Democrats have mostly stayed out of the controversy over the state-produced curriculum tool and its supposedly un-American, anti-Christian classroom lessons. As Rep. Dawnna Dukes put it on the House floor in May, ”CSCOPE is not a concept that Democrats even know about.”
(Dallas Morning News © 07/27/2013)
More than 1 in 10 Texas students in the fifth and eighth grades are scheduled to be held back this fall because they were unable to pass the STAAR math or reading tests after three tries this year. New test results that the Texas Education Agency released Friday indicated that 10 percent of fifth-graders failed in math and 11 percent failed the reading section.
(Beaumont Enterprise © 08/01/2013)
Uncertainty has replaced the excitement that followed a newly approved state law to reduce the number of standardized tests a high school student needs to pass in order to graduate. House Bill 5 cut the number of end-of-course exams from 15 to 5 and gave students more flexibility in their course selection, but it is the broader range of course work that is leaving local district leaders looking for a little guidance.
(Texas Tribune 08/01/2013)
How long you live and how healthy you are could depend in part on where you call home. Our interactive map shows life expectancy, obesity rates and levels of physical activity by county, according to data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation
Despite sharply reducing state testing requirements for Texas high school students, the 83rd Legislature brought only conditional relief from high-stakes exams for students in lower grades, who take a total of 17 state tests before going to high school.
Striking a tone that has become increasingly fashionable among Texas politicians, House Speaker Joe Straus urged his fellow lawmakers at the outset of this year’s legislative session to “expand opportunity in Texas this session by improving coordination among high schools, community and technical colleges and the private sector so that no young person feels destined to spend life drifting from one low-skilled, minimum-wage job to the next.”
Jack Buxkemper is among a group of Texas high school students who can claim a dubious distinction. A rising junior in Ballinger Independent School District, he will have taken standardized exams in more subjects than any of his older or younger classmates by the time he graduates. He had what many parents, including his own, would call the misfortune of being in ninth grade during the spring of 2012, the year the state rolled out a rigorous, controversial — and now discontinued — end-of-course exam policy.
Texas high schools are preparing for major changes to graduation requirements. Under a new law, schools will have less standardized testing. But when it comes to implementing the new legislation, many questions are yet to be answered.