This is one of the most important posts you will read today, this week, this month. If you want to understand the hoax of so-called “education reform,” read this post. Share it with your friends. Tweet it. Put it in Facebook. It rips the veil away from the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Thomas Ultican has found the beating heart of the Disruption movement, the organization where plans are hatched and funded to destroy public schools. He tells the story of the NewSchools Venture Fund, where very wealthy people collaborate to undermine and privatize one of our most essential democratic institutions: our public schools.  He begins this important post: view article arw

"Reading is the foundation of all learning. Our students have to read on grade level," said Leslie Williams, Deputy Chief of REO. Dallas ISD schools may be closed for the summer, but there are a wide variety of summer programs and activities for students to improve their confidence, reading comprehension, and learn more about their culture.  One of these programs is Creating Accelerated Performance (CAP), a collaboration between the Racial Equity Office (REO), Teaching and Learning, and School Leadership, which operates from June 1–18, and aims to help students improve their reading skills and gain confidence about themselves. view article arw

MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) — After listening to the concerns of students and parents at a meeting Tuesday night, the superintendent of the Marble Fall Independent School District told the crowd he has changed his mind, and that high school students’ grades during the COVID-19 pandemic should count toward their class rank and overall grade point average. view article arw

The Arlington ISD Board of Trustees adopted a resolution during Thursday night’s meeting that the Texas Education Agency’s high-stakes accountability ratings should be suspended for the 2020-21 school year to allow districts to focus on making up the gaps caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that closed schools in March. view article arw

LA JOYA, Texas – The summer camps put on by FIRST RGV to give students the chance to build robots would sometimes draw hundreds of attendees. One of the main features of our success over the past five years with summer camps was the camaraderie built up as students worked in collective spirit in a “gracious professionalism” environment that encourages students to compete but work with their competitors to be successful as well.  Now, because of the coronavirus, students are going to have to design them at home, on their own. view article arw

Four years ago, Lubbock ISD and Texas Tech University teamed up to create the Early College High School program. This program gives students the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credit hours in high school.  Out of 170 students that graduated from Estacado on Saturday, 47 were a part of the first graduating class of the Estacado Early College High School program. view article arw

Little Elm ISD is making sure the COVID-19 pandemic doesn't prevent the district from helping students who may need it the most.  The district is moving forward with plans to provide at-home learning options this summer to the more than 2,000 students that are coded “at risk.”  At its last meeting the Board of Trustees approved the purchase of the Texas At Home Summer Learning Packets. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency has closed an investigation against Spring Hill ISD related to a new football scoreboard the district bought in 2017. Superintendent Wayne Guidry said in a written statement TEA found no misconduct by the district. In 2019, the district received a letter from TEA saying it was the subject of a TEA special accreditation investigation of allegations of fiduciary violations against at least two school trustees. The probe was related to the district’s $490,526 purchase of a scoreboard for the football stadium in April 2017.  The letter said TEA would investigate complaints that trustees Frank Bufkin and Mike Henry violated their fiduciary duties as school board members through their involvement in the purchase of the scoreboard by not disclosing any actual or potential conflicts with the district, which would be a violation of Texas Local Government Code 176.003. view article arw

Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District has announced its start date for the upcoming 2020 – 2021 school year. Teachers will report to work beginning August 4 with students starting around a week later on August 10.  The academic calendar was approved last week, according to Edinburg CISD public information officer Romeo Cantu. As to whether or not the students will be back inside the schools or continue virtual learning, he says the district is still waiting for guidance from the Texas Education Agency.  Other school districts in the Rio Grande Valley are also waiting for word from the agency. In the meantime, school districts in McAllen and Brownsville have sent out surveys to parents asking for feedback. view article arw

NEDERLAND — Toni Clark has had perfect attendance for 13 years.  The recent Nederland High School graduate braved tropical storms, explosions, a global pandemic, flu season and a rough strain of food poisoning to complete a feat few make it through.  It took a lot of hard work and determination. view article arw

Bey’Ounce Banks wrapped up her final year in high school with the highest honor possible — valedictorian.  The 18-year-old graduated with her fellow classmates Saturday at Memorial Stadium. In a pre-recorded message to the class of 2020, Banks expressed her pride and gratitude. view article arw

VERNON, Texas (TNN) - Felicity Ortega is the first female wrestler in the history of Vernon ISD and Texoma to sign an athletic scholarship for wrestling.  Ortega will be going to Wayland Baptist University but the road there wasn’t all easy.  She started wrestling at just around 10 years old and credits her brother for piquing her interest.  Ortega never stopped wrestling but she was afraid she might not be able to pursue her passion after she was injured. She didn’t let that keep her down though. view article arw

STEPHENVILLE, Texas – The top 25 percent of the graduating class at Clifton High School has scholarship opportunities and guaranteed admission thanks to an agreement announced on Monday night.  Tarleton State University and the Clifton Independent School District have joined forces to provide annual scholarships and admission to Clifton’s top graduates. view article arw

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz said during a board presentation June 1 that the district is working toward a blended approach for classes for the 2020-21 school year.  Options under consideration by the district include limitations created by following safety guidelines as well as those required by the Texas Education Agency.  While the district typically follows a 22-to-1 student to teacher ratio within a classroom, Cruz said that classrooms next year could be limited to 6-8 students each due to social distancing requirements and available space. Similarly, the district may have to reduce its bus capacity from 60 students down to 12-14 per route, which would make transporting its estimated 23,000 students who rely on buses challenging. Serving an estimated 75,000 meals a day could also be difficult, as would finding places for students to eat on campus while keeping a safe distance from one another. view article arw

When schools went remote in mid-March, a lot was happening. Administrators and faculty along with students and their families were grappling with the rise of the pandemic with no clear understanding of where things were heading. All were pushed to adapt to the rapidly changing situation as the classroom was forced into an unfamiliar online format.  It seemed like just as students, families and faculty finally began to adjust to the new reality, the period of structured learning ended. Summer has begun, and though it is a time that students typically relish their freedom from school, it is important now more than ever that families ensure that their children’s learning doesn’t stop. view article arw

Good Read! - js - The health and economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is a watershed moment for colleges and universities state and nationwide, Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller said.  In a May 28 phone interview, Keller said there have been a lot of articles about digital learning and about the cost institutions are facing.  “ This is the most significant disruption to campus operations since World War II. but higher education is going to have a special role and responsibility to play in driving the recovery, so it’s not exactly like any other part of the state budget because this isn’t just a cost center,” he said. “We know that a lot of the jobs that folks have lost aren’t coming back and we have a lot of people who are going to need to reskill and upskill to be able to get back on their feet and help drive the recovery. I do think we have a strong collection of higher education leaders from community and technical colleges to universities to university systems that recognize (that) and they are already talking about what their responsibilities will be in driving the recovery.” view article arw

Fort Bend ISD recently announced the top two students for each of the district’s 11 high school Class of 2020 graduates.Fort Bend County Judge KP George, who served as district trustee before winning election as county judge, urged students to continue striving for excellence.  “Congratulations to our future leaders,” Judge George said in a telephone interview Friday. “I encourage you to strive higher and work harder, so you can achieve your hopes and dreams to build a better future for all. We need you more than ever.” view article arw

CEDAR HILL, TX – The Cedar Hill ISD Board of Trustees approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday to create a special partnership with Tarleton State University, one of the most well-respected institutions of higher learning in North Texas. view article arw

Teachers have long been worried about "summer slide," the learning loss some students experience over summer break, but this year they fear it could be worse due to "COVID slide."  The sudden closure of El Paso classrooms in March and shift to remote learning could put students further behind and erase academic progress made earlier in the year. view article arw

MAY 29, 2020 — When Marisa Perez-Diaz M.Ed. ’16 was sworn into office as Texas’ State Board of Education District 3 member in 2013, she knew the goal for her new role was to build an equitable education for all students. And it’s something she’s been working toward ever since taking her seat on the board, which she won against the incumbent with 67% of the vote.  Perez-Diaz’s passion for child advocacy began when she worked as a social worker for the state Department of Family and Protective Services. view article arw

When I made the decision last fall to return to teaching high school after a decade working in higher education, I could not have foreseen that a big part of my job this year would be preparing students for the first-ever online Advanced Placement exams.  I teach three sections of the AP English Literature and Composition course at a public charter school in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. I also study and write about large-scale assessments. So I feel invested in giving my students not only the subject-matter knowledge but also the testing savvy to ace their AP exams. And I’ve thought a lot about how the College Board’s pioneering attempt went. view article arw

COVID-19 forced them to shorten the graduation ceremony, but Carthage ISD's PACE Academy turned commencement into an intimate celebration of its students on Thursday.  The school hosted its Second Chances graduation at the high school's multi-purpose building, having seniors wait outside with their parents before, one-by-one, they were allowed inside the indoor field to receive their diplomas and a few words of encouragement from Principal Michael Baysinger. view article arw

Austin Independent School District's search for a successor to outgoing Superintendent Paul Cruz has underlined equity concerns – both old and new ones – for some community members. On Tuesday, May 26, a sizable group of parents, caregivers, and advocates released a letter to AISD's board of trustees outlining those concerns and calling for better community engagement and transparency as the board conducts its search during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The letter's signatories – calling themselves the AISD Equity Coalition – argue that recent AISD actions have "highlighted long standing inequities and resulted in a loss of trust in the current leadership" and left some parents and community members "feeling shut out and marginalized." AISD plans to find Cruz's replacement by his last day, Aug. 31 – a timeline that the district has previously said renders an interim president unnecessary. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency rolled out an optional end-of-year assessment earlier this month, giving parents and school districts the opportunity to gauge the progress students made in the weeks since schools were shut down as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.  But in Southeast Texas, many districts are opting not to participate in the assessment, citing satisfactory passing rates and the need for a break after months of chaotic change. view article arw

The COVID-19 pandemic makes clear that policy without data is a disaster or, at best, a recipe for the occasionally effective. One-size-fits-all policies satisfy few, rob us of the ability to tailor support by subgroups of people and bring a host of unintended consequences. People across the political spectrum agree that we need robust access to high quality testing — for both the active virus and the antibodies — so that we can determine and prioritize the right interventions and guidelines. view article arw

A fully elected board now governs Edgewood Independent School District for the first time since mid-2016, when the Texas Education Agency intervened in the Westside district for governance issues that left trustees deadlocked on important issues like hiring a superintendent and filling a board vacancy.  On Tuesday night, trustees Dina Serrano and Luis Gomez took their oaths of office to sit on the governing board, joining trustees Stella Camacho, Timothy Payne, Martha Castilla, Joseph Guerra, and James Hernandez.  Serrano and Gomez were elected in November 2018, but had to wait their turn to cycle onto the board, in line with TEA’s prescribed transition process from an appointed board of five to an elected board of seven. As part of that process, the last two members of the TEA-appointed board of managers, Frank Espinosa and Roy Soto, will cycle off the board.   (27) view article arw

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, parents of prospective Chicago Public Schools students may be considering where to enroll their children in school this fall.  Let me be one voice that says: Choose your neighborhood school.  I am a developmental psychologist who studies how people flourish in educational environments. And while parents these days put in a lot of work to find that perfect school fit, I believe most of them don’t think broadly enough. view article arw

On April 13, exactly one month into COVID-19 school closures, San Antonio Independent School District reported a daunting statistic: After weeks of phone calls, text messages and emails, teachers were still searching for more than 4,000 missing students.  Facing the same troubling dilemma as their colleagues around the country, the school district’s board of trustees called on campus leaders to use every relationship they had to find the missing children and, if possible, stay in contact.  It worked. Over the course of the next month, most of the missing students — more than 96 percent, according to a district spokesperson — were located. view article arw

DALLAS — The official end of school for Dallas ISD students is Wednesday, but nearly all at-home distance learning wrapped up last week. District leaders have come up with a new setup to help encourage reading during the summer.  Students will be receiving five books in the mail to help them with access to free reading material.  view article arw

Leaders of the state’s two largest school districts worry their students are falling behind during the COVID-19 shutdown. Dallas and Houston superintendents shared their efforts Thursday to ensure their kids keep learning.  Houston and Dallas school districts enroll a total of 370,000 students. With the shutdown, leaders looked first to ensure basic necessities, like meals, served by the millions to students each week. They managed to keep getting food to kids. Both superintendents also worried about keeping kids on track academically view article arw

WACO, TX — Over 30 Waco ISD families who have recently completed the district’s Parents as Teachers program will be celebrated with a staff-led parade at their homes.  The event will take place this Tuesday and Wednesday, May 26 and 27, starting at 10 am. However, parade setup begins at 9 am on both days. view article arw

More than 80 Katy Independent School District 2020 graduates have signed on to serve in the United States military, beginning in June. They will miss their graduations but are no less recognized for it.  The district created a special online video to celebrate them and certify that they had finished high school.  The young men and women are set to serve in the Air Force, Air Force Academy, Air Guard, Army, Army National Guard, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard, Naval Academy, Navy, Texas Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserve.  “These talented and brave young men and women have chosen to defend our country’s freedoms, safety and long-term security,” said Courtney Doyle, Katy ISD Board of Trustees president, in the video.  Two enlistees from Mayde Creek High School and their commander met at the school on Thursday, May 21, to talk about their time at Mayde Creek, their future service in the Navy and their plans. view article arw

NEEDVILLE, Texas (KTRK) -- Needville ISD said it plans on moving forward with its in-person graduation this Friday. In a statement released by the district, the graduation ceremony will continue on as planned "for the most part" on Friday, May 29 at 7 p.m. at Blue Jay Stadium.   Superintendent Curtis Rhodes said social distancing guidelines will be enforced and each graduate will only be allowed to invite three guests. view article arw

On Wednesday, Marlin ISD announced Dr. Darryl Henson will be the district's new superintendent. Dr. Henson is a big city guy from Houston with big restructuring plans. Two qualities that may be just what Marlin ISD needs to turn things around. In February the district lost its accreditation due to poor test scores. Meanwhile parents were left wondering if their students would have to find a new school, but there's hope on the horizon. view article arw

The College Board's annual Advanced Placement exams were moved online due to coronavirus concerns, but glitches on the testing website are requiring some students to either email their test results or take a makeup exam. Online AP testing began May 11 for students nationwide, including those at Plano ISD. Three different tests are being held daily through May 22. Between May 11-15, some students were unable to upload their completed tests to the AP website, according to Trevor Packer, the senior vice president of AP and instruction at the College Board. view article arw