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

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

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

For the first time since the Santa Fe High School shooting, state lawmakers on Monday weighed changing laws to prevent potentially dangerous people from possessing firearms and encourage safer gun storage. Dozens of gun control advocates and opponents packed the Capitol hearing room of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee as lawmakers discussed multiple charges from Gov. Greg Abbott’s school safety plan. Abbott’s recommendations, released less than two weeks after 10 people were shot and killed at Santa Fe High School on May 18, included considering whether penalties are too light for those who provide guns to juveniles who kill people view article arw

San Antonio Independent School District’s narrative about charter school integration into the district radically simplifies reality in the service of private power.  Superintendent Pedro Martinez says public schools and charter schools should work together. In doing so he seeks to transform a complex, deeply political discussion into a one-dimensional misrepresentation in which “reform” is presented as neutral, natural, and disconnected from social and economic developments taking place throughout the nation. view article arw

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Republican-led Legislature in Texas improperly used race to draw a predominantly Hispanic House district in Fort Worth, but overturned a lower court ruling that invalidated other legislative and congressional districts under challenge for allegedly diluting the voting power of black and Latino voters. The mixed 5-4 decision written by Justice Samuel Alito leaves in place much of Texas’ political map for the 2018 midterm elections, upholding political boundaries that have been under court review for nearly a decade. view article arw

“Do not allow the deaths of Texans to fall on your conscience. Do not fail us.” Those were John Kappelman’s closing words to lawmakers who gathered at the Texas Capitol on Monday to examine potential legislation on gun storage and “red flag” orders to remove guns from people deemed dangerous. Kappelman, a recent Austin high school graduate and local organizer for gun control group March for Our Lives, was one of more than 100 people who came to testify at the hearing sparked by the fatal school shooting in Santa Fe last month. view article arw

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today introduced the Student Empowerment Act. This bill would expand 529 College Savings Plans to include K-12 elementary and secondary school expenses for public, private, and religious schools, including homeschool students. This legislation builds on Sen. Cruz’s Student Opportunity Amendment, which Congress passed and the President signed into law in December 2017, by allowing all students – including public, private, religious, and homeschool students – to use 529 savings accounts to cover eligible educational expenses, such as tutoring, standardized testing fees, and educational therapies for students with disabilities. view article arw

Texas House Rep. Brooks Landgraf plans to try again to pass bills to fix the so-called Robin Hood system of school funding and standardized testing. There wasn’t enough support for either during the last legislative session. “I am working to be persuasive with my colleagues on the issues and I have to be very candid about how these policies are playing out in West Texas, but more than just being able to persuade colleagues on the issue, everybody has to understand that we’re dealing with very imperfect policies,” Landgraf said. view article arw

At 11:19 a.m. on April 20, 1999, a shot was fired at Columbine High School in Colorado. The last shot was fired almost an hour later at 12:08 p.m. The two young shooters killed 13 and wounded 23 others before killing themselves. view article arw

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