Due to a staff and substitute shortage, Mesquite ISD announced on Jan. 14 that it would close until Jan. 19. The district said in a press release that the strain of covering classes in the midst of a substitute shortage has taken a toll on district staff members who are able to work. Additionally, the teachers’ ability to safely monitor students is quickly becoming unmanageable, the district said. Communications Director Elizabeth Fernandez said all classes were cancelled. “It’s like two snow days,” she said. The emergency closure gives district staff five days – including the weekend and Martin Luther King Jr. Day – to stay home, get well and deep clean the district’s campuses and facilities view article arw

State Board of Education Member Ruben Cortez, D-Brownsville, sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday calling for an executive response to the COVID-19 situation in regards to Texas schools.  State Board of Education Member Ruben Cortez of Brownsville  Most notably, Cortez asked the governor to cancel the 2021-22 STAAR test and to deploy state resources — including the Texas National Guard — to address staffing shortages in schools and hospitals created by the coronavirus surge.  In his letter, Cortez called for swift action to address the spike in cases, citing positivity rates and tens of thousands of new cases. view article arw

Austin, TX – December 30, 2021 - Texas State Board of Education Chair, Keven Ellis, has appointed Pam Little (R-Fairview) to serve as a member on the Texas Commission on Virtual Education. The Texas Commission on Virtual Education was created by House Bill 3643 during the 87th Legislature, Regular Session. Little, first elected to the State Board of Education in November 2018, has served as vice-chair of the Committee on Instruction, which oversees curriculum, instructional materials, gifted and talented education, graduation requirements, and education for individuals with disabilities. In January 2021, she was elected by her fellow members as vice-chair of the State Board of Education; her leadership role will run through January 2023.    (04) view article arw

I am an educator, entrepreneur, writer, and scholar. Today, I am humbled and honored to announce I am also a Democrat running for the State Board of Education, District 2. I was born in McAllen, and I grew up in Pharr, Texas in a single-parent household. Through many financial hardships, my mother worked hard to provide for me. No matter how poor we were, my mother always instilled in me the importance of education so I could be the first in my family to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Since age 19, I have dedicated my life to enhancing educational opportunities for students in South Texas. From college access to critical writing to service learning, my lessons have reached thousands of students of all ages. To me, the classroom is a place of opportunity. view article arw

A livestock business owner and former teacher seeks to represent Kerr County residents on the state’s 15-member education board. Tom Maynard, of Williamson County, filed to run for Texas State Board of Education District 10 in the March 1 Republican Primary election. No other candidate filings appeared on the website as of Tuesday. Maynard and his wife operate a real estate appraisal firm and a small livestock operation — they keep goats, he told The Kerrville Daily Times on Monday. Before retiring as executive director of the Texas FFA Association in January 2017 after 17 years, Maynard worked for 13 years as an agricultural science teacher. He taught in Bandera and had business dealings in the Kerr County area, he said. “I know several people in Kerr County,” Maynard said Monday. view article arw

Austin, TX – November 29, 2021 – At the November 2021 meeting, the State Board of Education (SBOE) completed final amendments to the new K-8 Science TEKS. The process of amending the Science TEKS began in early 2020 with high school courses, and now has moved to the early grades. The SBOE will meet again on December 1, 2021, to formalize the vote at second reading for final adoption of the standards. After many hours of testimony, the board approved instructional materials from Goodheart-Willcox for Grades 6-12 health education and for one high school course in physical education. The instructional materials will be introduced to classrooms in the 2022-23 school year, during which time the new Health TEKS are to be implemented. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas — This week, the Texas education board is considering how middle schools teach climate change and sexuality.   The board heard public testimony Wednesday about proposed changes to eighth grade science guidelines. Under the proposed curriculum, students are expected to learn how "natural events and human activity can impact global climate." Many who testified say there's no can about it, but the board preliminarily voted to keep the word in there.  Tuesday, the board declined to preliminarily adopt middle and high school health instructional materials that addressed such topics as contraception, gender identity and self-harm. The board will take a final vote on the materials on Friday. If they don’t approve any of the texts, districts will be left to search for their own materials to teach new health curriculum standards approved last year. view article arw

The Texas State Board of Education has signaled that it won’t endorse middle school health textbooks unless changes are made in how they address such topics as masturbation, abortion, gender identity and sexual orientation. The Republican-led board’s debate over sex education comes as state GOP leaders put increasing pressure on public schools over books and images in libraries and classrooms that they deem inappropriate or pornographic. “If I were to support, I wouldn’t get seated at a restaurant or get my cleaning picked up,” said Jay Johnson, a Republican from rural Gray County in the Texas Panhandle, as he voted against the textbooks. “I think in my constituency, I will be a ‘no’ for this.” The board will cast its final votes on the new health textbooks on Friday, after the publishers have had a chance to revise them. The culture war centered on gender issues and how sexuality is taught in schools has been fought each time the Board of Education sets new requirements for health studies, or reviews new textbooks. view article arw

Last November, the board expanded curriculum standards to include birth control in addition to abstinence education. But members could now leave school districts without recommendations on fulfilling those new requirements.  The State Board of Education has preliminarily rejected three publishers’ sex education materials for students in middle and high school as debates over appropriate books and classroom topics rage between Texas politicians, education officials and parents.  The board is deciding which materials to adopt to fulfill new curriculum requirements that students learn lessons on birth control in addition to sexual abstinence. A final vote on whether to adopt four publishers’ proposed materials is expected Friday.  After listening to over three hours of public comment, the board on Tuesday declined in a preliminary vote to adopt products from publishers Lessonbee Inc., Human Kinetics and Goodheart-Willcox. Several board members opposed the materials’ discussion of masturbation and inclusion of abortion resources. Some said the proposals did not sufficiently promote sexual abstinence or that their constituencies would not support them.    (11) view article arw

The State Board of Education’s decision could leave school districts to fend for themselves on how to teach new health requirements, which include birth control, without approved textbooks.The ongoing battle over “inappropriate content” in Texas public schools raged on Tuesday as the State Board of Education declined to preliminarily adopt middle and high school health instructional materials that addressed such topics as contraception, gender identity and self-harm.  The decision could leave school districts to fend for themselves on how best to address new health curriculum standards approved just a year ago — in a less fevered environment.  Last November, the State Board of Education approved new curriculum standards — called the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS — that included lessons on birth control, not just abstinence, starting in middle school. view article arw

SBOE balks at sex ed books

November 1705:00 AM
 

The Texas State Board of Education has signaled that it won’t endorse middle school health textbooks unless changes are made in how they address such topics as masturbation, abortion, gender identity and sexual orientation. The Republican-led board’s debate over sex education comes as state GOP leaders put increasing pressure on public schools over books and images in libraries and classrooms that they deem inappropriate or pornographic. “If I were to support, I wouldn’t get seated at a restaurant or get my cleaning picked up,” said Jay Johnson, a Republican from rural Gray County in the Texas Panhandle, as he voted against the textbooks. “I think, in my constituency, I will be a ‘no’ for this.” view article arw

When the 15 members of the State Board of Education meet at its regular quarterly meeting this week, the elected group is expected to talk about how climate change and sexuality are taught to middle school students. It’s part of a regular process that takes place every eight years.  But there’s another topic not on the agenda that at least one board member says needs to be discussed, and that’s how much say the board has about what goes on a school’s library shelf.  Last Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott called on both the Texas Education Agency and the state education board for the removal of books with "overtly sexual" content in school libraries and to develop standards for what gets into libraries. The governor chimed in after state Rep. Matt Krause, a Fort Worth Republican, launched an investigation into certain school districts over the types of books students can access. view article arw

VICTORIA, Texas – Ruben Cortez, Jr., from the Texas State Board of Education, or TEA, toured Smith Elementary STEM Academy and O’Connor and Shields Elementary. He toured the campuses to observe STEM programs being taught in Victoria I.S.D schools. Some of the lesson plans have transformed at several V.I.S.D. elementary schools. Some now incorporate STEM lessons that expose the students to more hands-on activities and help engage critical thinking. Teachers use visual aids while teaching, such as Q-tips and clips to go along with their lesson plans. They also use encouragement when the students make mistakes, which is a part of the learning process. Teachers help the students find an alternative solution to their problems. All these elements can be found in the classrooms that Cortez toured. view article arw

Texas may change how your child understands biology when taught in a public high school classroom. The Texas' Board of Education tentatively approved changes to portions of the states Biology curriculum. Instead of asking Texas public school students to “evaluate” scientific explanations for the origins of DNA and the complexity of certain cells, the state will now ask that the students "examine" the scientific explanations for the origins of DNA and complexity of certain cells. In the past, some educators have argued that the word "evaluate" encouraged students to challenge the scientific theory of evolution and opened the door to teaching creationism. view article arw

The Georgetown Board of Trustees has hired Fred Brent as the district's newest superintendent. view article arw