It goes without saying; we want all students to succeed at learning so they can grow into productive members of the community. So this spring when Victoria school district opted to partner with University of Houston-Victoria’s education department to help two of the school district’s campuses improve and help their students succeed, we agreed it was a good idea. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott, in a call to arms for Republicans to turn back a Democratic blue-wave, pledged Friday to curb spiraling property taxes, protect gun rights and continue adding new jobs if re-elected. "We are dealing with a battle for the soul of Texas itself," Abbott said to cheers from the more than 8,000 delegates to the GOP state convention at a downtown, just blocks from the revered historic mission where blood was shed in Texas' fight for independence from Mexico more than 180 years ago. view article arw

A panel of Texas Senate members on June 11 and 12 received input about ways to improve security on public school campuses. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, formed the legislative body’s Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Safety following the May shooting at Santa Fe High School in which a student shot and killed 10 people and injured 10 others. view article arw

The Denton ISD school board gave the community a glimpse into what they’ll be pushing for during the next state legislative session.Board members approved a resolution during their Tuesday night meeting outlining topics they’ll advocate for when lawmakers meet in Austin again in 2019. The district will send the resolution to the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) in the hopes that the statewide organization will include some of their initiatives in its own legislative platform. view article arw

An interesting read - js - Early in her career, U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas kept correcting supporters who congratulated her on being the second Texas woman — after Barbara Jordan — to get elected to Congress.  But she wasn't the second. And Barbara Jordan was not the first.Another woman nearly lost to Texas history broke that glass ceiling in 1966. view article arw

Austin ISD Board Preps for Lege

June 1408:25 AM

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees discussed at a work session on Monday their policy goals for the upcoming legislative session. Director of Intergovernmental Relations & Policy Oversight Edna Butts walked the board through the proposed list, which she'll convert into a series of one-page cheat sheets that district staff and trustees can refer to when working with lawmakers. view article arw

Wylie ISD’s Assistant Superintendent testified in front of a senate committee dedicated to school safety on Tuesday about the State of Texas' School Marshal Program. This comes after a series of round table discussions that Governor of Texas Greg Abbott held after the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe last month. view article arw

Nearly three weeks after a shooter killed 10 people at a high school southeast of Houston, lawmakers gathered at the Texas Capitol on Monday to discuss new school safety measures that might prevent another tragedy — and stopped short of rallying behind ideas like adding metal detectors to schools or updating school architecture.  “It’s going to be very difficult to stop every incident,” said state Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, discussing the variety of situations in which students could be harmed. view article arw

A special appointed committee held the first of two meetings at the Capitol to discuss ways to secure public schools in Texas. Lt. Govenor Dan Patrick appointed the committee to address issues surrounding school violence. Monday, the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security heard testimony from law enforcement, school district officials and a metal detector company. They revisited several ideas from Governor Greg Abbott's 40-page school security plan that was released last month. view article arw

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus further instructed House committees Friday to study several issues related to school security and firearm safety. The new committee charges continue the Texas House’s response to the tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School last month. After Speaker Straus and other members of the House participated in Governor Greg Abbott’s roundtables on school safety, Speaker Straus on Wednesday asked the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence to study a “red flag” law that would provide a legal process for temporarily removing guns from someone considered potentially dangerous by family members or law enforcement. view article arw

Nearly three weeks after a shooter killed 10 people at a high school southeast of Houston, lawmakers gathered at the Texas Capitol on Monday to discuss new school safety measures that might prevent another tragedy — and stopped short of rallying behind ideas like adding metal detectors to schools or updating school architecture. “It’s going to be very difficult to stop every incident," said state Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, discussing the variety of situations in which students could be harmed.  view article arw

As Texas lawmakers took their turn Monday to consider ways to prevent school shootings, they found little consensus on whether schools should be equipped with metal detectors or teachers should be allowed to carry guns. view article arw

The Texas Senate’s new committee on school security will hold its first meetings this week, offering more discussion on topics such as arming school staff and changing  school design. But that’s not what some superintendents and students think should be lawmakers’ top priority. view article arw

It can take years for poor policies affecting major parts of our state to begin to show effects. Public education has been the red-headed stepchild of lawmakers for the past decade in Austin and it’s starting to show. But we’d best start recognizing it, Tom Luce, education reform advocate and founding partner of a prominent Dallas law firm told audiences at the ElevatEd conference held Monday at Southern Methodist University. view article arw

Pine Tree ISD’s new chief said he is excited to be back in East Texas after being away for about 15 years. Superintendent Steve Clugston has replaced TJ Farler, who retired as the district leader after seven years. Clugston said his East Texas roots run deep, because he’s taught students or led schools in Alto, Simms and Beckville ISDs. view article arw

efore she had a baby so sick he couldn’t leave the hospital for his first year, Hannah Mehta never dreamed she would need help from a government health care program.  She and her husband had good corporate jobs, private health insurance and a big brick home in Flower Mound.  But Aiden, one of the triplets she had given birth to in 2007, had congenital defects and anomalies that mystified doctors. His organs weren’t in the right places, his lungs were collapsed, and he couldn’t breathe or eat on his own. He underwent several surgeries before his first birthday. view article arw

If you’re more interested in policy than in politics, you might be thinking less about the upcoming elections and more about things like sports gambling and the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on that topic, about the failure of state governments to keep up with inflation in public education, about the effects of e-commerce on retail stores, and what that might mean for sales and property taxes. First, congratulations: You really are a nerd, just as your family and friends probably suspected. view article arw

Central Texas school district officials offered mixed reviews of Gov. Greg Abbott’s school security plan, with many applauding his suggestions to improve mental health services but not embracing his idea toarm more teachers with guns. Already grappling with dwindling state education spending in recent years and with no long-term funding allocated for Abbott’s plan, district officials also said they were concerned about paying for security upgrades.  “While we applaud the spirit of the governor’s intent … we are operating under a school finance system that’s undeniably broken and doesn’t account for the provision of basic educational services at today’s costs for all students, let alone support costs for mental health, safety and security needs,” said Nicole Conley Johnson, Austin school district’s chief financial officer. view article arw

Is the pendulum of Texas politics finally swinging back toward the center? Hard to imagine how the leaders of the Lone Star State could push further to the right. Our lieutenant governor, a former conservative talk show host, threw gasoline on a prairie fire of anti-gay fervor by prioritizing legislation regulating bathroom use by transsexuals. Our governor deployed the Texas State Guard to appease nutjob conspiracy theorists claiming the Jade Helm military exercise was a pretext for the Obama administration to imprison political dissidents in tunnels buried beneath abandoned Wal-Marts. view article arw

After 15 people died in the 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West, after at least seven first responders became ill from the fumes at last year’s Arkema chemical plant fires outside Houston, after four contractors were hurt in an April explosion at an oil refinery in Texas City, the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded — inexplicably — that we’re safe enough. The EPA is gutting a slate of Obama-era regulations that aimed to reduce the disasters at plants using dangerous chemicals. The agency’s recent announcement came after the Trump administration stalled for a year and a half on implementing the safeguards. view article arw

Hey, Texplainer: To serve in Austin or D.C., do you have to live in your district? Almost every election cycle, certain candidates for the Texas Legislature and Congress face allegations they don’t live in the districts they’re trying to represent. And this year is no different. Deanna Metzger, the Republican who will challenge state Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas, this fall, faced allegations that she actually lived in Fort Worth. view article arw

As a rule, if a progressive shares any part of Betsy DeVos’s agenda, chances are he or she is not a progressive. Progressives usually support public schools governed by a democratic entity; progressives believe that teachers should have the right to bargain collectively and to seek better funding and better working conditions for the students and staff; progressives think that all teachers should be well educated and certified; progressives believe that educators, students, and families should be treated with respect; progressives believe that civil rights law should be enforced; progressives work towards a society that is fair and just to all its citizens. Progressives do not defend racial segregation. That’s my peroration. view article arw

Two days after Gov. Greg Abbott released a 40-page school safety plan, Texas House and Senate leaders ordered their committees to study ways to limit shootings and increase protections in Texas public schools before students return in August. After a Santa Fe High School student went on a shooting rampage last month, Abbott released a list of suggestions for preventing future massacres. Some are possible with immediate funding; others need future state legislation. Outgoing Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, both Republicans, asked lawmakers in their respective chambers to study many of the suggestions in the governor’s plan. view article arw

Less than two weeks after a shooting at Santa Fe High School left eight students and two teachers dead, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday issued a 43-page report on school and firearm safety replete with plans to “harden” schools, increase the number of armed personnel, better identify potential shooters and make modest adjustments to state gun laws. Abbott did not rule out the possibility of a special session of the Legislature to act on some changes in law he is recommending. “A special session is not a debating society. A special session is for passing laws,” Abbott said. “If there is some consensus on laws that can be passed, I’m open to calling one.” view article arw

DALLAS — Less than two weeks after 10 people were killed in a southeast Texas school shooting, Gov. Greg Abbott laid out a wide-ranging school safety plan — including programs for mental health screenings, expanded school protections and even a few, narrow measures regulating gun usage — and left the door open to calling lawmakers back to Austin to pass some of those priorities. "If there is consensus on some laws that could be passed, I am open to calling [a special session]," Abbott said. view article arw

Upon receiving their property tax notices, Texas homeowners seem ready to channel Peter Finch in the 1976 movie “Network” by throwing open their windows and yelling, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” But at whom should that ire be directed?  Some wolves in sheep’s clothing at the Texas Capitol are pointing their fingers at your locally elected officials and pursuing legislation to tightly restrict cities. But don’t be fooled; it’s the wolves themselves who have driven up your property taxes. view article arw

Scot Rice found her behind the cafeteria, near the dumpsters. His wife, Flo, a substitute teacher at Santa Fe High School, had managed to crawl out the back door. There she lay, still, quiet, playing dead, just like they'd be taught in their safety drills. Scot tried to run to her but police yelled at him to get back. "I could see her laying on the ground motionless," Scot Rice said. Bullets whizzed past and he and his daughter took cover. Police returned fire, schoolyard turning into a war zone. Scot felt helpless, watching Flo from afar. Just then, a school district police officer stopped, leaned down and took her into his arms. Scot said today, every day, "I'm here to honor that officer." view article arw

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is hosting three roundtable discussions this week in response to the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. The first roundtable, held Tuesday, focused on "school and community safety." The meeting was private, but afterward Abbott read reporters “a list of suggestions and ideas that came out of" the discussions. He said these ideas will help Texas lawmakers come up with new policy to stop gun violence.  view article arw

When was the last time Democrats filled a room in Gillespie County? I probably was not the only person wondering that when the curious squeezed into the Hill Country University Center H-E-B Community Room recently to hear Mike Collier, candidate for lieutenant governor. The turnout was heavy on educators and more than a few centrist Republicans. They heard a reasonable candidate who is running against sitting Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in the November general election. view article arw

Advocates on both sides of the gun control debate met with Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday to talk about protecting Texas school kids. The conversation also included mental health experts. "The mental health to me is such an important component of all this, particularly early detection of a mental health issue," Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, said ahead of Wednesday's meeting. view article arw

When children are murdered at school, the conversation gets candid, even with sensitive subjects. A magnified focus on student communication and parent involvement are just some of the many ideas that came pouring out of Gov. Greg Abbott’s round table discussions on shootings and school safety. Hays County Lt. Jeri Skrocki described the discussions as nonpolitical and constructive. view article arw

At the end of last summer’s special legislative session, an angry Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick vowed that the Texas House members who blocked his agenda — especially the so-called bathroom bill and a measure restricting property tax increases — “are going to have to explain that to the voters.”But in Tuesday’s runoff elections and in the March 6 primary, GOP voters overwhelmingly rejected candidates aligning themselves with the agenda Patrick pushed in the state Senate, which he leads, and instead chose business-backed centrist Republicans associated with retiring House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio. view article arw

The makeshift memorials were growing larger by the hour outside Santa Fe High School last Saturday, the balloons holding up valiantly while the floral bouquets were already beginning to wilt in the early summer heat. In the aftermath of the murder of eight students and two adults at the school by Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, the familiar yellow caution tape had been wrapped around the school's perimeter. On a weekend night, there were still some cars in the school parking lot, eerily unaccounted for. There were the usual blood drives and fundraisers for funeral expenses, and it seemed as if every church and bank sign in town was offering a single message: Pray for Santa Fe. view article arw

Less than a week after the Santa Fe school shooting in Southeast Texas left 10 dead, Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday convened a roundtable school-safety and security discussion. “I am seeking the best solutions to make our schools more secure and to keep our communities safe,” Abbott said in a statement. “I ­look forward to hearing from all sides of the debate, and from expert perspectives on these issues.”  But Ed Scruggs, vice chairman of Texas Gun Sense, called for state leaders to take steps now. view article arw

Governor of Texas Greg Abbott is hosting a series of roundtable discussions this week as a response to the deadly school shooting in Santa Fe that left 10 dead and at least 13 injured last week and an administrator from Wylie ISD attended the first roundtable discussion on Tuesday. The roundtable discussion was a closed-door meeting where different entities brainstormed ideas to make sure that students and teachers are safe in schools in Texas. view article arw