Reporting suspected abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services has always been an affirmative duty in Texas, and even more so for educators who bear additional responsibility to convey their concerns timely on behalf of students. One way that this duty is made less intimidating is the assurance that the identity of the reporter will be kept confidential. In this age of government transparency through Public Information Act requests and parent inspection of student records under FERPA, just how confidential can these reports stay? This is a common concern voiced by educators, and with good reason: doing the right thing under the reporting statute seldom wins friends.

Let’s ponder a couple of things after the Texas primaries proved again that well-funded candidates win — and win by big margins. If money plays a role to boost a candidate’s chance to win, why wouldn’t money play a role to provide a better education system?  We have been told repeatedly that there is enough — even too much — money in public education, and we just need to be more efficient. I propose public education has become so efficient, it cannot meet the needs of children. view article arw

Court records indicate that a state district judge and the Brownsville Independent School District were unable to resolve a dispute that resulted in a federal lawsuit during a March 6 grievance hearing. On Nov. 30, 2017, 404th State District Judge Elia Cornejo-Lopez, in her capacity as a parent of students attending the school district, filed a lawsuit against BISD accusing administrators and trustees of mistreating her children and retaliating against them after she filed a grievance against the district, alleging that it violated her child’s constitutional rights when it didn’t allow her child to take an AP Psychology class but allowed another similarly situated student to take an AP Chemistry class. view article arw

A panel of three U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judges ruled Tuesday that most of the state’s immigration enforcement legislation, Senate Bill 4, can remain in effect while the case plays out, handing a victory to Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican supporters of the law.  As passed, Senate Bill 4 allows local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest and punishes local government department heads and elected officials who don’t cooperate with federal immigration "detainers" — requests by agents to turn over immigrants subject to possible deportation — in the form of jail time and penalties that exceed $25,000.  view article arw

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’ hand-picked committee released its delayed report on the future of the state’s economy Tuesday, and it’s a ringing condemnation of last session’s transgender bathroom bills as unneeded and dangerous to the state’s economy as well as Austin’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. view article arw

Houston police took a wanted kidnapping suspect into custody Tuesday night after a chase that spanned from Houston to La Marque. It is unclear what started the pursuit, although Houston police officers started chasing the suspect shortly before 8 p.m. along the Gulf Freeway. The pursuit reached speeds up to 90 mph as the suspect and officers raced south on the freeway toward Galveston. view article arw

Empower Texans, a Tea Party group known for waging aggressive campaigns against establishment Republicans, is suing in federal court to prohibit three district attorneys and the attorney general from launching any criminal investigations into the strategy it used to attack state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, in the GOP primary. view article arw

Educators are supposed to stay out of politics. That’s what they are supposed to do. But a handful of Texas school districts have been acting very differently.  Three of them have been accused of political advocacy, and according to reports emails have been uncovered encouraging staff to switch parties and influence last week's Republican primary. State Senator Paul Bettencourt tells KTRH this is shocking. view article arw

The family of a teen who accused a Killeen police officer of brutality during an arrest outside of a school bus in April 2016 will receive $38,525 after attorney fees and expenses as part of a settlement agreement approved Monday.   Following a hearing in the U.S. Western District Court in Waco, attorney Rob Ranco of the Austin-based Komie & Morrow law firm, who represented the Killeen teen’s family, said the settlement offered a speedy resolution to the suit. view article arw

Oh, Henny Penny. This looks like a serious miscalculation in the making. I'm talking about the Richardson school board's hardline response to a lawsuit challenging the district's at-large election system — which not only will cost taxpayers a bunch of money, but also may further erode the trust of minorities in the district. In its legal response to the suit filed in late January by former trustee David Tyson, the only minority ever elected to the school board, the district denies that its election system violates Sec. 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and that it is "broken or discriminatory." view article arw

Houston ISD’s special education department still struggles to provide adequate special education students, despite changes made after a Houston Chronicle investigation found the district systematically denied hundreds of students services at the state’s behest, according to an outside audit. In a 133-page audit released Thursday, associates with the American Institutes for Research found 10 areas in which the district needs to improve its special education services. Among the most significant are ongoing issues with inconsistent interventions and special education identification practices; tailoring Individual Education Plans, or IEPs, to fit students’ specific needs; a persistent achievement gap; a lack of qualified special education staff members; a lack of data-driven decision making; and issues with communicating new policies and procedures. view article arw

Louisiana's attorney general has filed a lawsuit accusing a local school board of stifling public debate at a meeting in January disrupted by the video-recorded arrest of a teacher being handcuffed on a hallway floor. Attorney General Jeff Landry's lawsuit accuses the Vermilion Parish School Board of violating the state's Open Meetings Law at its meeting Jan. 8 in which a teacher criticized a district superintendent's pay raise. Teacher Deyshia Hargrave, whose arrest sparked outrage after the video spread online, called the suit good news for "anyone who speaks at public meetings." view article arw

A Harris County man alleges he was struck by a driver after exiting a school bus. Jared Bush filed a complaint on Feb. 15 in the Harris County District Court against Spring Independent School District and Claudia Galvan alleging negligence. According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on March 7, 2016, he was exiting the Spring ISD's bus and was injured when he was struck by defendant Galvan's vehicle, who carelessly attempted to pass the stopped bus.  view article arw

More than 350 employees with Rockdale Independent School District had their personal information stolen. District officials said an employee responded to an email from a scammer pretending to be the superintendent. view article arw

After a near hour-long closed-door meeting Wednesday in U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s chambers, attorneys for the Brownsville Independent School District and a local judge who sued the school district agreed on a date to hold a grievance hearing. view article arw

Three civil rights groups sent a letter to the Needville Independent School District Superintendent Curtis Rhodes Tuesday, February 27th, expressing their constitutional concerns over his threat to suspend any student who misses class to protest current gun laws. Kali Cohn, an attorney with the ACLU of Texas, said that Needville administrators can’t censor political speech or punish students more harshly for missing school to take part in a political protest than they would for any another unexcused absence. view article arw

An Angelina County jury sentenced a former High School student who held a cord in front of a teacher’s neck back in October of 2016 to five years of probation Friday morning. As part of the terms of Tevin Dewayne Sanders’ probation, he will be required to spend Spring Break in jail. view article arw

AUSTIN — As the attorney general's office tries to sniff out educators electioneering for candidates on the taxpayers' dime, House Speaker Joe Straus is standing up for teachers becoming more engaged in this year's primary election.  In an email to supporters Friday, the San Antonio Republican said some elected leaders and their allies are trying to discourage teachers from voting because they feel threatened by educators encouraging civic engagement. view article arw

A link to the final order is at the bottom of this article. -js - Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that a final judgment was entered affirming a victory for Texas homeowners and taxpayers in the Kilgore Independent School District. The judgment finalizes the Gregg County Court’s grant of all relief requested by the attorney general in the local option homestead exemption case involving Kilgore ISD’s violation of Texas Senate Bill 1. It is estimated that the school district taxed citizens $4 million or more over what was legally permitted. view article arw

Mario Perez knew that his currency with the esteemed law firm of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson was his ability to persuade school board members, city councilmen, and other public officials to award contracts to the law firm. The Texas-based law firm specializes in the collection of delinquent accounts on behalf of cities, school districts, and other municipalities, and does it well, handling the chores for governments in 22 states. view article arw

AUSTIN -- Ahead of one of the most important Texas elections of the year, Attorney General Ken Paxton's office is cracking down on schools and districts he worries are telling people how to vote. But one school district is pushing back. Lewisville Independent School District officials are refusing to take down its video encouraging educators to use their "teacher voice" and vote in the election for candidates who support public education, despite a cease and desist letter the Texas attorney general's office sent them last week. view article arw

Texas track coach Mario Sategna was fired "without cause" despite a record of multiple men's and women's Big 12 championships, according to documents released by the school Thursday. Sategna had been under a previous ethics and misconduct investigation in 2016 but was allowed to return with no explanation of the probe or what it found. Before that investigation began, Sategna had notified Texas officials he was taking a personal leave. view article arw

A Pasadena ISD student, who was suspended for allegedly using drugs after she fainted in class, returned to school. Jazmin Garcia, 15, was suspended in January from Pasadena Memorial High School for being under the influence of an unidentified substance. view article arw

A Donna Independent School District teacher has resigned after being accused of soliciting sex from an undercover agent posing as a minor. Fidel Castillo Jr., 47, of Donna was charged with online solicit of a minor sexual conduct, a second-degree felony, on Saturday. Castillo, a teacher at Donna Independent School District, submitted his resignation on Monday, said Sandra Quintanilla, a spokeswoman for the district. view article arw

Granbury ISD wins realignment appeal

February 2108:37 AM

Granbury ISD announced Tuesday it had won its appeal with the UIL's latest realignment that had originally placed them in District 4-5A with Rider, Wichita Falls High School, Aledo, Abilene Cooper and Abilene Wylie for basketball and volleyball. With the ruling, Granbury will now be placed in District 5-5A with Arlington Seguin, Burleson, Burleson Centennial, Crowley, Everman, Mansfield Legacy and Mansfield Timberview. It is very similar to the district Granbury is in currently for all sports except football. view article arw

UIL denies San Angelo ISD’s appeal

February 2108:37 AM

The UIL has denied San Angelo ISD's appeal. They will remain in District 3-6A for all sports. view article arw

Appeals by the Fort Worth school district to move undersized schools out of Class 6A — the largest in Texas — were denied by the UIL on Tuesday, and San Angelo Central will stay in a district with four Tarrant County teams for the next two football seasons. The Feb. 1 UIL Realignment placed Fort Worth Trimble Tech and FW Young Men’s Leadership Academy — schools without attendance zones — in 6A with Fort Worth Paschal.  view article arw

HOLLIDAY - The Holliday Independent School District Superintendent responded to the Texas Attorney General's Office cease and desist letter for illegal electioneering on Friday.  In the statement Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Dyes said, "It is puzzling why the Attorney General felt compelled to target Holliday ISD, a small school district in Archer County, and appears to be just another example of heavy handed politics out of Austin.  "Dyes also said he would comply with the request and said Holliday ISD is encouraging everyone to vote in the March 6 primary. view article arw

A financial settlement has been reached between former Troup head football coach Dennis Alexander and Troup ISD in relation to his 2015 suspension and ultimate dismissal, Alexander told the News-Journal Monday afternoon. view article arw

Encouraging students to vote is Texas law. The election code states: "A high school deputy registrar shall distribute an officially prescribed registration application form to each student who is or will be 18 years of age or older during that year" read more arw

The Texas attorney general issued a cease and desist letter to Holliday ISD for "unlawful electioneering." The local school district was among three districts cited by Ken Paxton Wednesday – the others being Brazosport and Lewisville ISDs – for violating the Texas Education Code. view article arw

The Texas attorney general's office has accused Brazosport ISD Superintendent Danny Massey of violating state law by advocating for political candidates using public resources. In a cease-and-desist letter, an assistant attorney general told Massey to remove several Twitter posts and retweets in which Massey showed support for candidates running for office. Time stamps on some Twitter posts show they were sent during normal school hours on weekdays, leading the attorney general's office to conclude Massey engaged in illegal "electioneering." view article arw

Community members and a Houston ISD trustee on Wednesday advocated suing the state over a recently passed education law that could lead to a state takeover of the district's school board. Several speakers and Trustee Jolanda Jones called for filing a lawsuit during a community meeting at Cullen Middle School, the second such gathering held to address proposals for major changes at 10 low-performing Houston ISD schools. Those proposals were made in response to a law commonly known as HB 1842, which gives the Texas Education Agency an option to wrest control from school boards if they don't improve academic performance at long-failing campuses. view article arw

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday issued cease and desist letters to three school districts alleging "unlawful electioneering" in the run up to the March 6 primary. Lewisville ISD was the only North Texas district to receive a letter. view article arw

McKinney ISD announced it will not hold its high school graduation ceremonies at Prestonwood Baptist Church. The district said ceremonies took place at the church for more than a decade. Instead, graduation will be held at the Allen Event Center at 200 E. Stacy Road. In a Feb. 8 letter addressed to parents with graduating students, the change comes due to "a variety of reasons including proximity, availability, attendance capacity, and convenience." view article arw