For more than six years, Shana Halvorsen has been fighting an uphill battle against the special education system in Houston ISD, which she said would not provide adequate services for her daughter and ultimately placed the 15-year-old in a private school away from her neighborhood peers. The mother has watched superintendents and special education directors come and go during those years, each of them making promises to fix a system with well-documented and long-standing problems. Now, following state intervention in the district that was in part prompted by these failures, Superintendent Mike Miles and his team are charged with bringing the system into compliance with state and federal laws. While some families were eager to see the district held accountable through a state takeover, parents and advocates for special education students in HISD say they remain skeptical of the new administration and its ability to turn around the broken system. Some parents said they believe Miles has so far neglected to prioritize the monumental task or articulate in public a clear plan for improvement. Instead, some say, he has implemented a standardized curriculum and instructional practices that lack clear protections for the special education population. view article arw

The Houston ISD Board of Managers voted Thursday to uphold the former administration's decision to keep a program for profoundly disabled students at T.H. Rogers School after an outcry from parents who protested plans for the program's removal. The vote was in response to a grievance filed by parents of students at Rogers's Preparing Students for Independence (PSI) program earlier this year, after the district already walked back plans to move PSI students from Rogers to their neighborhood schools. Parents said they followed through with the grievance because they wanted a promise from the new district leadership that they would honor the former administration's decision. "That's all we want is to be heard, don't think that you can give us something and we're just supposed to ride with it," said Anitra Washington, the mother of a student in the PSI program. "At least they heard us this time, with open hearts and open ears." view article arw

Mental health — many say it's the crisis of our time, fueled by a cocktail of culprits from COVID-era isolation to social media. Some, however, speculate it starts much earlier and reining it in begins with parents. "Children's anxiety and depression have been going up, but they've been going up in parallel with something else, which is a lack of independence as kids' lives have become more adult-run, adult-structured," Lenore Skenazy, the New York mom who pioneered the "Free-Range Kids" movement, told Fox News Digital. "They leave school, they're in a car, they're taken to a class, they're taken to a game, it's run by an adult. They come home, their homework is overseen by an adult. Their reading log is signed by an adult. Then they go to bed and then the next morning they're taken again to school. There's just very little time left for anything that we would call self-directed." view article arw

A trifecta of powerful globalist organizations is rigorously executing a plan to teach kindergarteners about sexuality and "empower" children to say yes to sexual encounters, according to agency documents reviewed by The Epoch Times. Critics say this amounts to children being "groomed" for sex under the banner of human rights and education, while pedophilia is promoted and parental rights are undermined. Experts told The Epoch Times that the push for these programs to be accepted in nations around the world could lead to the practice of having sex with "consenting" children being viewed as acceptable. Proponents of the programs say they seek to ensure that children's "rights" to sexual pleasure are protected. view article arw

hen officers from the Texas National Guard showed up to their 7 a.m. meeting with federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations in El Paso, they didn’t arrive empty-handed. Six military intelligence officials turned over a list of names at the February 2022 meeting. The Texans were part of an intelligence directorate supporting Operation Lone Star, Gov. Greg Abbott's state-run border mission. The officers, which included the group’s top two leaders, told federal agents they’d secretly infiltrated invite-only WhatsApp group chats filled with migrants and smugglers and wanted their help investigating the targets they’d identified, according to a sworn statement attached to a whistleblower complaint filed later that month. The Homeland Security officials in the meeting rebuffed the Texans on the spot — with one official saying that they were an investigative body and “not an intelligence agency,” the whistleblower recalled. view article arw

Some had children and other family caretaking responsibilities. Others started and stopped degree programs, racking up debt for careers they thought they wanted at 17. Now, dozens of young adults in Brooklyn have moved into their own apartments or been able to provide healthcare for their children as they jumpstart sustainable careers as computer scientists, carpenters, healthcare and IT technicians, education specialists and chefs. Paid $500 to participate in a six-week ‘13th grade’ Alumni Lab, Bushwick’s Math, Engineering, and Science Academy Charter High School grads are showing the country a model for engaging disconnected youth, those unemployed and not attending college. “Life has not gone as they were led to believe it would,” s view article arw

Descendants of a prominent white family and a formerly enslaved couple are fighting over ownership — and the oil and gas royalties that would come with it — of an 147.5-acre tract that has bound and divided generations of their families. A few miles southeast of where a two-lane farm road cuts across Highway 80 lies a sliver of land — 147.5 acres, to be exact — holding the stories of two Texas families, one Black and one white.  For almost 100 years, each family has held a half-interest in the property in northeast Karnes County. One family stayed on it, sinking deep roots and growing its wealth. The other vanished from it, scattering across Texas and beyond, succeeding generations often unaware they owned a share of the scrub-studded parcel. view article arw

Double billing, rejected automatic payments and expensive late fees are the most frequent complaints about a toll system with different operators and rules across the state.   Double billing, rejected automatic payments and expensive late fees are the most frequent complaints about a toll system with different operators and rules across the state. view article arw

From the halls of Southwest High School in San Antonio to her groundbreaking role as Killeen Independent School District’s first female superintendent, Dr. Jo Ann Fey’s journey through Texas’ educational landscape has been nothing short of transformative. Fey began her journey 26 years ago at the Southwest Independent School District on San Antonio’s Southside. Her tenure there witnessed significant transformations, especially during her five years as principal at Southwest High School. During her career, Fey has achieved numerous milestones. view article arw

Despite a record-breaking $33 billion-dollar budget surplus, the 88th Texas Legislative Session concluded in a dead end for critical public education issues. As it stands, Texas teachers remain underpaid, the basic allotment did not increase, and special sessions hold the threat of private school vouchers. Local school districts are facing a number of issues during this period of historic inflation with no additional funding from the state. Bob Popinski, Senior Director of Policy at Raise Your Hand Texas, said the lack of state funding is putting superintendents and school board officials in a financial bind, causing districts to dip into their fund balances and adopt deficit budgets as they struggle to pay teachers’ salaries among a number of other inflated costs. “Our schools are in dire need of funding,” he said. “With double-digit inflation and 77% of teachers considering leaving the profession, we need to focus on the 5.4 million kids and nearly 400,000 teachers and get that right first.” view article arw

After years of noncompliance, the Texas Education Agency has fulfilled all its needed requirements to comply with federal law regarding special education, according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Education. The letter, issued Wednesday and addressed to TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, said the U.S. Education Department's Special Education Program's office decided to remove the special conditions it had placed on the state agency after it completed its requirements to meet federal standards. “TEA will continue to work with families, advocates and school leaders to improve services and refine processes to ensure that students with disabilities attending Texas public schools receive the highest quality education possible,” the TEA said in a statement, calling its accomplishment a "milestone." view article arw

   Talia Natterson is a sophomore at Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences, a private school in Los Angeles, California. She writes for her school publication, Crossfire.