This week is a busy one. On Monday the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator and Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick, will meet to consider vouchers and other school choice options. Later in the week the State Board of Education (SBOE) will meet.
Upcoming November 18-21 State Board Meeting
The agenda for the State Board of Education’s November 18-21 meeting has been posted. Those who wish to provide public testimony can register online between 8 a.m. (November 14) and 5 p.m. Monday (November 17).
Some items of interest on the agenda include:
- November 18 is devoted to recommendations from the commissioner on instructional materials up for adoption under Proclamation 2015;
- The committee of the full board on Wednesday, Nov. 19, will hear commissioner’s comments related to implementation of legislation, consider the percentage distribution of the PSF, and determine legislative recommendations to the 84th Texas Legislature;
- The Ad Hoc Committee on Long-Range Plan for Public Education will meet Thursday, Nov. 20 at 8 a.m.; and
- Committee on Instruction will discuss implementation of the mathematics TEKS.
Mavis Knight, former PTA member and SBOE member for 12 years, is retiring from the SBOE. She will be recognized on Friday for her service to Texas students.
Incoming Texas Governor Abbott Eager to Start on Education
With Greg Abbott’s victory just a week old, Abbott says that he’s ready to get down to business. He is now the first new Texas governor in 14 years after successfully beating out Democrat Wendy Davis to succeed Rick Perry, according to Phil Prazan for NBC. He will be sworn into office in January alongside Republican Dan Patrick, who beat out Leticia Van de Putte in the lieutenant governor’s race. He isn’t waiting until then to be active in his new role, and one of the first issues he wants to tackle is education.
Shapiro: When it comes to improving schools, it’s not all about money
A state district judge recently ruled that the way Texas funds its schools is “inadequate.” While school districts, teacher organizations and others who directly benefit from proposed funding increases cheered the decision, the rest of us are left to determine what is “adequate.” What should greatly concern Texas parents isn’t that Texas’ school funding is determined to be “inadequate” but rather that the ruling isn’t tied to any meaningful education reform solutions.
A new TEA commissioner?
HISD’s director of government relations, Ashlea Graves, updated the school board Thursday on some of the results of Tuesday’s elections. Her presentation listed, “Governor — Greg Abbott. Lieutenant Governor — Dan Patrick. Comptroller — Glenn Hegar. …” At the bottom of the list, it said, “TEA Commissioner?” Note the punctuation. Graves told the board there were rumors Abbott would appoint a new education commissioner to replace Michael Williams, Gov. Rick Perry’s appointee since late August 2012.
The Q&A: Erika Beltran
Erika Beltran will be the newest member of the State Board of Education, representing the Dallas and Fort Worth-based District 13. Although seven seats on the 15-member board were up for grabs on Nov. 4, all the others elected were incumbents. Beltran has worked as a public school teacher and, after earning a Master of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, became an education policy advocate. Beltran currently works with Teach for America Corps developing leadership skills.
Schools surpassing the standardized benchmark
Texas SAT scores are the lowest they’ve been in 20 years, falling behind the rest of the nation by a considerable margin, according to data from College Board. However, local districts are striving to stay ahead of the state and national curve. College Board released state and national SAT averages on Oct. 2, according to an article in the Austin American-Statesman. Texas students averaged their second-worst score on the reading portion of the test since the 1970s, their poorest math score since 1992 and the lowest writing score since a writing portion was added to the exam in 2006, according to the data. Texas scored behind the nation on the SAT in reading by 21 points, in math by 18 points and in writing by 16 points.
Groups still pushing for changes to Texas social studies textbooks
A week before the State Board of Education is set to adopt new social studies textbooks for Texas public schools for the first time in a dozen years, groups that have taken issue with the books’ content still are calling on some publishers to make revisions.
Science Advocates Call For Textbook Revisions On Climate Change
Educators are calling for changes, but two of the nation’s largest academic publishers are holding firm on how climate science has been presented in textbooks set to be approved by the Texas State Board of Education next week.
More States with High Graduation Rates
As a nation, it is critical that we prepare all students for success in college, careers, and in life. High school graduation is a vital point along that path, and the latest state-by-state graduation rates demonstrate our continued progress as a nation tackling this challenge. This is the third year that states are using a common method, called the adjusted cohort graduation rate, to calculate four-year high school graduation rates. The new data, for the 2012-13 school year, indicate that 18 states have graduation rates at or above 85 percent, up from 16 states in the 2011-12 school year and nine in 2010-2011.
Permian Basin Oil Boom Leading to Increase in High School Dropouts
It is said an education can bring you a better future, but Permian Basin school districts like Midland ISD see some students slipping away. “They start to drop out at ninth grade,” said Deborah Acosta, director of graduation and At Risk Student Population. An abundance of oil brings high paying jobs to the Permian Basin, a big attraction for many. “Money’s the biggest part of it,” said Coleton Stewart, an oil field worker. Loads of money to be made, high school diploma not required.
How Does Texas Stack Up To Other Pre-K Programs?
A new report says Texas faces real obstacles to improve pre-kindergarten education, despite noteworthy efforts in Fort Worth and San Antonio. As part of KERA’s American Graduate Project, one of the study’s lead authors talks about what’s needed.
Texas manufacturers oppose gutting franchise tax
Jockeying over tax cuts intensified Wednesday when the Texas Association of Manufacturers came out against repealing the state’s franchise tax on businesses. In its top 10 priorities list, the group said lawmakers instead should concentrate on property tax relief and spending more on infrastructure, such as roads and water supplies.
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