The Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, sent a letter to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) Board of Trustees regarding the retiree health care program, TRS-Care. Patrick is asking the TRS Board not to raise retiree premiums for TRS-Care. This letter was bolstered by a similar letter from Senator Joan Huffman (R – Houston), Chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee. Senator Huffman’s committee is charged with oversight of matters related to TRS in the Texas Senate. The board is considering raising the health care premiums for non-Medicare participants by $50 per month starting in Jan. 2019. The board is scheduled to meet Sept. 20, 2018. view article arw

A growing num ber of people have reported that a state law is forcing them to choose between their political beliefs and payment for their labor.  To make extra money while attending the University of Texas at Austin, Obi Dennar often worked as a judge for high school debate tournaments. In October, after working a two-day tournament at Klein High School near Houston, Dennar noticed a clause in his contract that he’d never seen before.  “Contractor hereby certifies and verifies that neither Contractor, nor any affiliate … boycotts Israel, and contractor agrees that Contractor … will not boycott Israel during the term of this agreement,” it read. view article arw

Texas needs to find up to $3.2 billion in the next three years to provide special education services to students who were previously denied them. A 2016 Houston Chronicle investigation and a subsequent federal audit found that the Texas Education Agency illegally set up an 8.5 percent benchmark, or de-facto cap, on the number of students receiving special education services. The cap was in place for more than a decade, and was well below the national average of 13 percent.  view article arw

The chancellor of the Texas Tech University System announced his retirement Monday, effective Aug. 31 -- just four days after the first day of classes at the school's flagship campus in Lubbock. Chancellor Robert Duncan made the announcement in an email to Texas Tech system employees Monday. view article arw

A special Texas Senate committee devoted to fighting school violence has recommended improving mental health resources for students and increasing funding for a program that arms some members of school staff, but shied away from any measures aiming to limit access to guns.  Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, formed the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security following the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School south of Houston. Committee members heard testimony during four meetings in June and July on ways to improve school safety infrastructure, address mental health issues among students and consider controversial "red flag" policies that would take guns away from those deemed a risk to others. view article arw

THIS WEEK: About two-thirds of Texas high schools are not following a state law that mandates giving all eligible students the opportunity to register to vote, according to a new report. That means hundreds of thousands of potential voters have been left off the rolls. view article arw

Accepting his party’s 2014 gubernatorial nomination, Greg Abbott vowed to kill an educational resource already cut. In the same breath, he promised to stop Texas from embracing academic standards that were already curbed. “I will drive a stake through the heart of CSCOPE and will never allow common core in Texas,” Abbott said. Four years later, we found little has happened on Abbott’s watch to further leash either initiative, which led us to a fresh rating on the Abbott-O-Meter, the PolitiFact Texas tool for gauging the Republican leader’s record. view article arw

The Trib looks at the AG race

July 3108:31 AM
 

There’s case that this is the second-most interesting statewide race on the ballot. Three years ago almost to the day, a Collin County grand jury indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for securities fraud. As the state’s top lawyer turned himself into a jail in his hometown of McKinney and smiled for his mug shot, Democrats couldn’t help but feel optimistic. The last time Texas elected a Democrat for attorney general was over two decades ago. Paxton’s legal troubles could potentially serve, they hoped, as the springboard to breaking that streak. view article arw

Accepting his party’s 2014 gubernatorial nomination, Greg Abbott vowed to kill an educational resource already cut. In the same breath, he promised to stop Texas from embracing academic standards that were already curbed.  “I will drive a stake through the heart of CSCOPE and will never allow common core in Texas,” Abbott said.  Four years later, we found little has happened on Abbott’s watch to further leash either initiative, which led us to a fresh rating on the Abbott-O-Meter, the PolitiFact Texas tool for gauging the Republican leader’s record. view article arw

AUSTIN — Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a TV interview that he would be “happy to debate anybody on the issues” as he seeks re-election this fall, but he is now backing off that offer by refusing to debate Democrat Justin Nelson as voters decide who to hire as the state's top lawyer.  Paxton instead “will communicate directly with the voters,” his campaign spokesman, Matt Welch, wrote in an emailed statement Thursday in rejecting Nelson’s invitation to debate. view article arw

The already remote chances that Texas lawmakers would make it easier to disarm gun owners suspected of being dangerous took what likely will be a fatal hit when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he'd battle any effort to pass such a measure. "I have never supported these policies, nor has the majority of the Texas Senate," said Patrick, who presides over the Legislature's upper chamber and sets its priorities. "A bill offered last session garnered little support." view article arw

Mike Collier has been publicly trying to get a rise out of the usually bombastic Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick ever since he launched his campaign to unseat him in June 2017. More than a year later, he’s largely failed to do so.  It’s not for a lack of trying. At the Texas Democratic Convention in Fort Worth in June, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor lit up the arena with a speech that took several whacks at Patrick. view article arw

When Burnet Middle School teacher and Interact Club sponsor Sara Te set out a little more than two years ago to help students fit in on campus, she never thought it would lead to testifying before a Texas Senate committee. But it did just that. Te testified July 18 before the Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security about how Burnet Middle School has benefited from Sandy Hook Promise Foundation programs such as “Start With Hello” and “Say Something.” She also shared with senators how the campus and Burnet Consolidated Independent School District uses the foundation’s Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, which allows students and staff to anonymously report at-risk behavior so school officials and/or first responders can intervene before someone hurts themself or others. view article arw

In politics today, there are red states, blue states and even purple states. Lately, though, some Texas political incumbents are looking a bit ‘yella.’ view article arw

Decision on rate of return Friday could further erode ability to offer cost-of-living increases  What: Retired school employees from across Texas will hold a news conference on the steps of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas building Thursday to highlight how a TRS Board vote expected the next morning on an “assumed rate of return for investments” could leave them with little chance for any increases to their modest pensions. read more arw

Hours after a Texas Senate committee mulled "red-flag" laws at the request of the governor, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested in a news release Tuesday that any such law would be dead on arrival in the upper chamber in the next legislative session. As mass shootings continue across the nation, more and more states have adopted laws that allow courts to order the seizure or surrender of guns from people who are deemed dangerous by a judge. After the fatal shooting at Santa Fe High School in May, Gov. Greg Abbott held multiple roundtable discussions and then released a school and gun safety plan, which included a page requesting that the Legislature consider red flag laws. view article arw

Three years ago almost to the day, a Collin County grand jury indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for securities fraud. As the state's top lawyer turned himself into a jail in his hometown of McKinney and smiled for his mug shot, Democrats couldn't help but feel optimistic. The last time Texas elected a Democrat for attorney general was over two decades ago. Paxton's legal troubles could potentially serve, they hoped, as the springboard to breaking that streak. What perhaps no one could have foreseen back in 2015 was the dizzying array of twists and turns the legal case against Paxton would undergo. Three summers later, there is still no trial date in sight and one is unlikely to emerge before Election Day. view article arw

The state’s Republican leadership is once again crossways with some prominent Texas business organizations and companies — this time over the fate of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. A pro-business coalition has weighed in to oppose a federal lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The suit seeks to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an initiative during President Barack Obama’s administration known as DACA that has provided young immigrants with work permits and protection from deportation. view article arw

The following is a continuation of the conversations from the 6/27/18 post, “Mexico Doesn’t Send Us Its Best,” and the 7/18/18 post, “Mexico Doesn’t Send Us Its Best – Part 2.”  view article arw

Texas is at the top of the list of states with the largest cut in K-12 and higher education funding since the 2008 recession, according to a groundbreaking report by the American Federation of Teachers.  Governments in 25 states have shortchanged public K-12 education by $19 billion over the last decade, the report found. “A Decade of Neglect: Public Education Funding in the Aftermath of the Great Recession”​ details for the first time the devastating impact on schools, classrooms and students when states choose to pursue an austerity agenda in the false belief that tax cuts will pay for themselves. view article arw

Members of a special Texas Senate committee devoted to preventing school violence acknowledged in a hearing Wednesday the importance of school counseling and mental health care, but questioned whether it's financially feasible to expand those services statewide.  In the third of its four scheduled meetings, the Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security looked at possible contributors to violence ranging from social media to video games to shortages of school counselors in the state. view article arw

Last week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick sent out a press release with the headline that said Patrick had volunteered to donate 10 metal detectors to Santa Fe ISD. While reading the press release, two things stood out. No. 1, Patrick knows exactly what is going on in Santa Fe and has since early in the morning of May 18. He admitted in his press release that a private company had already agreed to donate metal detectors to the Santa Fe school district and added his goal since May 18 was to do whatever was necessary to make the school safe. view article arw

When Texas lawmakers return for a regular legislative session in January, two big things will be different: The governor will have a stronger hand in state law and policy than ever before, and the state’s financial condition will be better than expected. view article arw

School starts in about a month for students, meaning teachers are preparing their classrooms for a year of instruction. Retailers nationwide have already launched their back-to-school promotions, including a 15 percent discount for teachers at Target and Walmart's new TeacherShop program. view article arw

With Dallas ISD poised to send millions of property tax revenue back to the state, and looming budget woes likely if the Legislature doesn’t address public school funding in a substantive way, four DISD trustees have taken an unusual step of raising their voices in a partisan Texas House race. view article arw

The Texas Commission on Public School Finance met Tuesday morning to hear discussions from the TEA and Legislative Budget Board on public education funding sources and trends, including the varying, and somewhat controversial, measurements of the state and local share of overall funding.   read more arw

Well stated Sean Cain- js - Recently, a high ranking, politically appointed education official was addressing an audience of school administrators. Here was the gist of his message to the most motivated of school leaders, the ones who were at a professional conference, out of town, during the Summer. view article arw

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced last week that he would personally donate “up to 10” metal detectors to Santa Fe ISD, the school district where eight students and two teachers were killed by a mass shooter in May. As a step to prevent mass shootings in Texas schools, it doesn’t do much: It’s a bit like introducing extra pre-flight screening, but only on the route that United 93 flew. As a political measure, it’s odd, too, because it primarily redirects attention to what the Legislature isn’t doing. It’s best understood as a personal, psychological gesture. In other words, it is very Dan Patrick. view article arw

July 3, 2018- 9:30 a.m  Capitol Extension, State Capitol Building - Room E1.026  Agenda    read more arw

You can always tell when it's election season because many politicians start reaching for the hot buttons in order to rally their base. Such seems the case when Attorney General Ken Paxton recently sent a letter to the Fort Worth school district demanding that it hand over its sixth-grade human sexuality curriculum, which includes lessons around gender identity and sexual orientation. No doubt the curriculum was a local controversy before Paxton got involved. Some adults have complained that the district should have directly involved parents before launching the class and even suggested that they were denied access to the lessons. view article arw

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 9:30 a.m. Room E1.026, Capitol Extension, State Capitol Building - Agenda read more arw

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is demanding Fort Worth ISD show him a sixth-grade sexuality and gender curriculum that has been taught for about five years now. In a letter to the school district, the sixth-largest in the state, Paxton said the district had told some parents that their kids could not bring the textbook home for the parents to check out, and the parents weren't allowed to make copies of the course's curriculum, which 22 other districts in Texas also use. view article arw