Nearly 27,000 students in Mississippi’s capital will find out this week which of two agencies — each with a history of poor performance and allegations of mismanagement — will be running their schools for the foreseeable future. Gov. Phil Bryant is weighing whether Jackson Public Schools, the state’s second-largest district, with a $206 million budget and more than 4,000 staff members in 58 schools, will remain under local control or be taken over by the Mississippi Department of Education. It is a decision that raises long-standing issues of race and inadequate school funding — and has prompted a federal lawsuit. view article arw

AUSTIN -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott complained Wednesday that U.S. House leaders are poised to sidetrack the state's request for an additional $18.7 billion in Hurricane Harvey aid, and challenged the Texas congressional delegation to get a "stiff spine" and fight for the funding.  A bill scheduled for a House vote Thursday provides $36.5 billion in disaster aid for victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate, and for those fighting wildfires across California and other western states. view article arw

Stay strong. Luis Juarez, a Dallas fifth-grade teacher, knew that was his only choice.  “The moment parents see me break down and lose hope, they are going to lose hope. They know if Mr. Juarez still has hope, they are going to have hope, too.”  And, yet here it was. For Juarez and many others, a dreaded announcement:  view article arw

Here are two views of Mick Zais, the new Deputy Secretary of Education selected by Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump. First, from Politico: “TRUMP TAPS NEW NO. 2 FOR THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT: The president on Tuesday night announced he’s nominating Mick Zais to be deputy secretary at the Education Department. Zais checks off a lot of conservative boxes – as superintendent of schools in South Carolina, he refused to participate in the Obama administration’s signature Race to the Top program, which encouraged states to adopt more rigorous academic standards like the Common Core in exchange for federal grants. view article arw

Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas nearly bankrupted the State with his theory that cutting taxes would cause a huge economic boom. Taxes were cut but there was no boom. Meanwhile, the schools of Kansas were underfunded.  The state Supreme Court ordered the legislature to fix school funding. The legislature tinkered. Back and forth. Yesterday the Kansas Supreme Court ordered the legislature again to meet their constitutional obligation to fund the schools. view article arw

Last Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited Harvard University to speak on school choice. She delivered a strong speech (a fact easily lost amidst the reflexive caterwauling). She articulated points that aren’t made often or forcefully enough. This was noteworthy because DeVos has not always been an especially effective advocate for her cause, tending to lean on unfortunate talking points and failing to explain the practical, intuitive case for choice as part of a broader educational vision.  view article arw

A Massachusetts school district says one of its librarians didn't have permission when she tried to reject a book donation from Melania Trump. Cambridge Public Schools says an editorial letter written by librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro represented her opinions and was not an official statement on behalf of the school district. view article arw

Texas education officials have submitted their plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal law passed in 2015 that gives states more authority to set accountability standards.  The Texas proposal largely aligns with already-established procedures and state laws, including the "A-through-F" grading scale and accountability standards set by state legislators in the past three years.   The Every Student Succeeds Act rolls back some federal oversight put in place by No Child Left Behind, which Congress and then-president George W. Bush enacted in the early 2000s. Each state is required to submit a plan laying out its academic-achievement accountability system, procedures for improving low-performing schools and goals for graduation rates, among dozens of tasks. view article arw

Texas education officials have submitted their plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal law passed in 2015 that gives states more authority to set accountability standards.  The Texas proposal largely aligns with already-established procedures and state laws, including the "A-through-F" grading scale and accountability standards set by state legislators in the past three years.   The Every Student Succeeds Act rolls back some federal oversight put in place by No Child Left Behind, which Congress and then-president George W. Bush enacted in the early 2000s. Each state is required to submit a plan laying out its academic-achievement accountability system, procedures for improving low-performing schools and goals for graduation rates, among dozens of tasks. view article arw

TEA submits student success plan

September 2805:38 AM
 

The Texas Education Agency submitted its Every Student Succeeds Act consolidated plan to the U.S. Department of Education Tuesday.  ESSA replaced the controversial No Child Left Behind Act in 2015. No Child Left Behind included a number of federally-mandated performance measures.  ESSA requires states to submit their own plan for improving and measuring student success. The plan is supposed to offer a comprehensive overview of how the state will use federal funds to make students successful, and it is subject to federal review.  Belton Independent School District Superintendent Susan Kincannon said she is concerned about some aspects of the plan. view article arw

A favorite teacher, a janitor always friendly with the kids, the two women who patrolled the halls and greeted children at the school's gates, a best friend's little sister. These people feared or confirmed dead Wednesday were top on the mind of 12-year-old Luis Carlos Herrera Tome. The Enrique Rebsamen school, the Mexico City private school he attended for eight years, had fallen around him less than 24 hours earlier amid a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. The only thing he wanted to do was go back, to help somehow. view article arw

The three-story school structure had pancaked into a pile of concrete slabs. The bodies of 21 children and four adults had been pulled out. But still sounds came from the collapsed structure early Wednesday — nobody knew if they were survivors pounding for help, or simply the noises of shifting rubble. After a wing of the Enrique Rebsamen primary and secondary school collapsed in Tuesday's magnitude-7.1 earthquake, rescuers dug at the pile of rubble and soldiers wedged in wooden beams to try to prevent it from crumbling further. view article arw

Superintendent Kent Scribner is using Facebook to defend students who are pursuing an education through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, saying plans to phase it out could replace dreams with deportation. “If the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA) is allowed to expire, it would have a devastating effect on members of the Fort Worth ISD family,” Scribner wrote in a message posted Monday night.  view article arw

A big deadline is looming for anyone needing to reapply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA. With President Donald Trump phasing out the program, the Austin Independent School District is holding a workshop Wednesday to get everyone informed. The government has set Oct. 5 as the deadline for anyone who has DACA to reapply in order to keep their work authorization for another two years.  view article arw

AUSTIN -- A special task force of federal and state environmental specialists has been tasked with monitoring toxic chemical sites and landfills in Houston and other areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday.  Acknowledging growing concerns in the Houston area about flooded chemical plants and toxic Superfund that were inundated and possibly damaged by the killer storm, he said the two primary regulatory agencies that oversee chemical issues -- view article arw

The Brief: DACA is ending, maybe

September 0608:39 AM
 

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals' days appear numbered, but the fight over what that exactly means for the more than 800,000 recipients of the program — including more than 120,000 Texans — is still up in the air.  The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals' days appear numbered, but the fight over what that exactly means for the more than 800,000 recipients of the program — including more than 120,000 Texans — is still on the horizon. Here's what you need to know:  view article arw

They grew up in America and are working or going to school here. Some are building businesses or raising families of their own. Many have no memory of the country where they were born. Now, almost 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or overstayed their visas could see their lives upended after the Trump administration announced Tuesday it is ending the Obama-era program that protected them from deportation. view article arw

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is promising billions to help Texas rebuild from Harvey-caused epic flooding, but his Republican allies in the House are looking at cutting almost $1 billion from disaster accounts to help finance the president’s border wall. The pending reduction to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief account is part of a massive spending bill that the House is scheduled to consider next week when lawmakers return from their August recess. The $876 million cut, which is included in the 1,305-page measure’s homeland security section, pays for roughly half the cost of Trump’s down payment on the U.S.-Mexico border wall that the president repeatedly promised Mexico would finance. view article arw

The U.S. Department of Education today activated its emergency response contact center in response to the devastating impacts of Hurricane Harvey. The Department’s K-12 and Higher Education stakeholders who are seeking informational resources as well as those seeking relief from Department-based administrative requirements should contact the Department toll free at 1-844-348-4082 or by email at HarveyRelief@ed.gov. view article arw

The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey has people wanting to do anything they can to help and St. Martin High School is doing their part by adopting a school in Texas. view article arw

Commissioner of Education Mike Morath today advised that the public comment period for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated state plan for Texas ends Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Comments can be submitted to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) via email at essa@tea.texas.gov. The draft plan can be viewed here. view article arw

Since the Every Student Succeeds Act was made law in late 2015, the Texas Education Agency has been working to fit state and federal regulations together into one system.  The first draft of the state's plan, all 75 pages of it, was completed last month and has been made public for interested stakeholders and public policy experts to review and provide comment. view article arw

In Tulsa and around the state, the school year is beginning.  Despite the best efforts of principals and superintendents, many schools will be starting the year without enough teachers for their classrooms and with far too many teachers who aren’t fully qualified for the jobs they will be doing.That’s a shame. Every child deserves a fully qualified teacher from Day 1.  But no one should be surprised. Our competitors in the labor market — schools in Texas, Arkansas and Kansas — are offering better salaries and more respect.  If you’re an Oklahoma teacher, there’s plenty of rational economic and psychological reasons to pull up stakes and head for Plano, and some very high profile teachers are doing just that. Former Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Shawn Sheehan and his wife, also a Norman teacher, announced this year that they’re taking off for Texas. view article arw

The Oklahoma City school board will consider a resolution that could lead to a lawsuit against the leaders of Oklahoma's Legislature over school funding. School Superintendent Aurora Lora and board member Mark Mann said Thursday the resolution will be presented to the board next week. view article arw

In the last year, there's been a big drop in support for charter schools, while other forms of school choice are getting a little less unpopular. That's the top line of a national poll released today. President Trump and his education secretary Betsy DeVos have put school choice front and center on their education agenda. The general idea of "choice," however, takes many forms. view article arw

A group opposed to an Arizona law that marked the nation's most ambitious expansion of a private school voucher program said Monday it has collected enough signatures to stop the measure from taking effect this week, allowing voters decide its fate in the 2018 election if the signatures are validated. view article arw

Dress codes plague millions of people across the country, as higher-ups in businesses determine what can and cannot be worn throughout schools, restaurants, sporting events, and even malls. Now the latest clothing ban is being administered against teachers in Georgia’s Douglas County School System, who were recently told that capris are unacceptable work attire. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency released Monday its draft plan for implementing the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The public now has until Aug. 29 to read it and provide feedback.  The preliminary plan aims to align the state's education policies with federal law, specifically in the the areas of accountability and school improvement. view article arw

The bill would require transgender students in public schools to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate, and not the one they identify with. Taylor also added a few unrelated programs to the bill, including $60 million for charter schools, $60 million for facilities funding for traditional public schools, and $150 million for a hardship grant program for struggling small, rural schools that relied on a now-expired state aid program. view article arw

There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It's the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility. Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason, says in an article in the Washington Post, "Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture; a disjunction between Americans' rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism."  view article arw

A Mississippi school district has been ordered to desegregate its schools after what the Justice Department called a five-decade-long legal battle. The Cleveland School District, about two hours northwest of Jackson, was told that it must consolidate its schools in order to provide real desegregation for students in the city of about 12,000. view article arw