The State Board of Education (SBOE) met this week to hear testimony and to debate the draft rules for new graduation requirements. Texas PTA urged SBOE in public testimony this week and through its petition NOT to require every student to follow the same path to graduation, not to require every student to take Algebra II. In a late evening debate, SBOE voted not to require Algebra II for every endorsement.
In other decisions the SBOE voted not to require Speech in the Foundation Diploma.
Judge Dietz will reopen the school finance litigation in January 2014 to consider the impact that actions of the 83rd Legislature may have on his findings.
Leading up to the reopening of the school finance trial in January, Texans for Real Equity and Efficiency in Education (TREEE) has filed a motion to stop Judge Dietz from holding a retrial on the matter. TREEE intervenors contend that the public education system in Texas is qualitatively inefficient. In its original decision, the court declined to declare the features of the system highlighted by TREEE as unconstitutional.
Two key Republicans said last week that there would have to be fundamental and difficult changes to the Texas Constitution before the long-running court battles over school finance come to an end. While Chairman Aycock agreed that the state should be in a better position now in the finance lawsuit, he noted that one area of weakness is the National Assessment of Educational Progress scores. “When we cut the funding, that score for the first time dropped off,” he said. He said that trend “bodes ill for the state as far as the adequacy issue.”
The Texas Lottery has reported a record-setting year for sales and revenue for the 10th year in a row, generating more than $1 billion in contributions to the state. This year lottery sales were $4.37 billion, the highest in the Lottery’s 21-year history.
Recent News Stories
Texas Education Board votes to stop requiring Algebra II for most students
The Texas Board of Education gave preliminary approval Thursday to dropping algebra II as a requirement for high school graduation, over the objections of critics who say the state is watering down its academic standards. Eliminating the algebra II mandate for most students was part of a major overhaul of graduation, standardized testing and curriculum requirements unanimously approved by the Texas Legislature in May. The shake-up was meant to give students the flexibility to focus on career and vocational training — not just college prep courses. Much of the debate over the changes has focused on the algebra II requirement. Many academic experts and school administrators said it’s a key prerequisite for success both in college and beyond. But some trade groups argued that plenty of high-paying jobs are available without a college degree or high-level math.
Education Chairmen Join Algebra II Fray at SBOE
Two top lawmakers made an unexpected Wednesday evening visit to urge the State Board of Education to preserve legislative intent as it implements new high school graduation requirements the Legislature passed in May.
Charters expand as school choice matures
Texas’ largest charter school chain plans to expand outside the state – a signal of the maturation of the school-choice movement that has a strong Houston presence. Harmony Public Schools, a 40-school network in Texas founded by Turkish immigrants, is asking to open a math- and science-focused elementary school in Washington, D.C. The authorizing board there will vote Monday on whether to grant the charter.
Sen. Duncan honored by Texas PTA
The Texas Parent Teacher Association has named State Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, to the Texas Legislative Honor Roll for his work during the 83rd session of the state legislature. Duncan will be honored at 1 p.m. today, Nov. 14, in the Jay Gordon Room at Lubbock Independent School District’s central office, 1628 19th St.
Duncan recognized for dedication to public education
“Senator Duncan truly, and always, supports public education,” Texas PTA President Karen Slay said. “He is one of the few left that really supports local control.”
New graduation requirements offer challenges, opportunities
At Lanier High School students in Michael Schaffer’s career and technical education class get a hands-on lesson in constructing a house. “Everyone’s stoked!” said Schaffer. “They’re completely in love with my program, everything I’m doing with them. And it gets them away from their typical classroom.”
Otto calls HB 5 the best piece of legislation in recent memory
Education and transportation were two topics of discussion by State Representative John Otto at the luncheon of the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce.
State education board unlikely to add evolution disclaimers to science books
Coverage of evolution in new high school science books in Texas appears likely to escape the major disclaimers that social conservatives and other critics seek. State Board of Education members are slated to adopt the new biology books this week after discussing potential changes in hearings that begin Wednesday. The materials need board approval to be on the state’s recommended list of textbooks and e-books. So far, major publishers have resisted social conservatives’ efforts to add questions about key elements of the theory of evolution.
Brenham ISD Rejects Proposal to Allow Guns in Classroom
The Brenham ISD school board voted against a proposal that would have allowed teachers with concealed handgun licenses to have guns in the classroom. The proposal was called the Brenham Angel Guardian Program. It was rejected in a 5-2 vote Monday, according to Superintendent Sam Bell. Instead, the school board opted to keep guns in the hands of trained professionals.
During this year’s legislative session, House Bill 5 was passed almost unanimously, and the purpose was to fit school curriculum to today’s workforce. The feeling was that advanced courses like algebra 2 are appropriate for students preparing for college. But for those that are heading into the job market after high school graduation, a curriculum more tailored to their needs is in order.