Texas saw its sales tax collections rise in September, with revenue of $2.01 billion, an increase of 2.7 percent over the same month last year. September was the 42nd consecutive month in which sales tax revenue has increased. Sales tax is a key source of revenue for state government, as it is used to pay for a number of services, from schools to prisons.
This week is Safe Schools Week. See article below for information and ideas to increase awareness of your school’s safety policies.
Group pushing STAAR tests alternative to meet
A group of Texas school districts is moving ahead with its effort to come up with a new way to evaluate students, even after a major setback. The Dallas Morning News reported (click here) that members of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium will meet Thursday in Dallas. The consortium supports an alternative to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, known as STAAR.
TEA, Texas School Safety Center Partner for Oct. 20-26 Safe Schools Week
TEA and the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) have joined together for the 2013 Texas Safe Schools Week, Oct. 20–26. In a joint Safe Schools Week proclamation, Commissioner Williams and TxSSC Director Dr. Calder urged all school districts to practice emergency drills, review emergency plans and highlight the importance of safe and secure schools – not only during this week but throughout the year.
CEPEDA: SHOULD DEALING WITH SHOOTERS BE PART OF TEACHER-TRAINING?
Every once in a while, horrifying violence rocks our national sense of school campus innocence. It’s cold comfort, but chances are our local school’s staff has been trained to respond in the most effective manner should the unimaginable occur. As an observer of education trends, I take this for granted. But to people who don’t understand the level of preparedness that schools now practice, proposed laws protecting the teachers and staff who have to execute emergency protocols can be alarming and confusing. Last week a reader sent me an article about an Indiana proposal to expand the “castle doctrine” law — aka, that state’s “stand your ground” law — to school grounds in order to protect any person who might resort to deadly force in order to prevent a school massacre.
VALLEY BECOMES PROVING GROUND FOR INNOVATION IN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING
Data from last year showed an achievement South Texas had never before reached in education, but there was little, if any, news about it, said Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Superintendent Daniel King. The moment was a singular example of a trend experts point to in the Rio Grande Valley, but some said it hasn’t been highlighted much outside education circles. Despite its challenges, or perhaps because of its challenges, the region has become a place where innovative education models are fostered. Some examples include McAllen and IDEA, which have strong technology components, to PSJA, which has juggled several new concepts.
Creationists on Texas Panel for Biology Textbooks
One is a nutritionist who believes “creation science” based on biblical principles should be taught in the classroom. Another is a chemical engineer who is listed as a “Darwin Skeptic” on the Web site of the Creation Science Hall of Fame. A third is a trained biologist who also happens to be a fellow of the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based center of the intelligent-design movement and a vice president at an evangelical ministry in Plano, Tex.
Why did no child left behind tutoring fail
After hundreds of millions in federal dollars were spent on No Child Left Behind tutoring in Texas, it is difficult to find anyone willing to call the program an unqualified success. And there is disagreement on why the program didn’t meet expectations.
ECISD CATE program produces success
El Campo ISD’s Career and Technology Program or CATE prepares students for viable careers right out of high school, possibly earning considerably more than minimum wage. “Our Medical Billing and Coding course can earn a student a certification at the state level with the potential of earning $80,000 per year out of high school,” High School Assistant Principal Todd Fuechec said.
S.A. doctor leading the drive for baseline concussion testing
A local doctor says a 20-minute computer test could prevent serious brain damage and even save the lives of high school athletes. Dr. Evan Ratner of Impact Urgent Care is offering the baseline concussion test for free to all high school athletes at his San Antonio clinics. He said he offered the test to local school districts for free but was turned down.
Largely Unchecked, Tutors Got Millions Through Program
In late September, a lesser-known No Child Left Behind program that set aside millions in federal funding to provide remedial help for struggling students from low-income families quietly came to a close in Texas. During a news conference to announce that the state had been granted a general waiver from the 2001 federal education law, Education Commissioner Michael Williams cast the change as one of many that would give districts more authority over their underperforming schools.
Explanations Vary as Tutoring Program Falls Short
This is the second story in a series on how the state spent millions tutoring its poorest students — and has little to show for it. Among the many reforms in the massive education legislation that Congress passed in 2001 was a program that would provide tutoring to children from low-income families. Proponents hailed the program as an academic lifeline that would level the playing field for students trapped in underperforming schools.
In Texas, a Struggle to Get Schools to Identify Dyslexia
School districts in Texas are required to provide accommodations and services to students diagnosed with dyslexia. But getting districts to recognize a student’s learning disability can sometimes prove challenging.
Texas merit pay plan for teachers quietly disappears
It was the largest program of its type in the nation just a few years ago, hailed by Republican leaders as the wave of the future in education. But Texas’ once-vaunted teacher merit pay plan is no more. What remained of the plan after massive funding cuts in 2011 has been converted this fall into a new state grant program that will pay for innovative education in a few dozen poor schools. Nearly half of Texas teachers — about 180,000 educators — received bonuses under the incentive pay plan two years ago for higher test scores and student achievement. That was slashed after legislators made unprecedented funding cuts in education to ease a budget crunch. Funding for bonuses was cut 90 percent.
Tutoring Company in Texas Draws Fire as State Pulls Back Services
When two of Marcos Sifuentes’s children received free laptops from a tutoring program through their San Antonio middle school, the family signed up for wireless access at home for the first time. Mr. Sifuentes added an Internet hot spot to his cellphone plan so they could continue their lessons. But when his son and his daughter tried to log on to the online tutoring program, they received an error message. He called Tutors With Computers, the company that offered the program, and was told his school district would no longer pay for the service.
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