EDUCATION: Public Education

Senate Shapes Plan for Private School Scholarships

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick listens to debate on SB 8  franchise tax reform measure during Senate action March 25, 2015.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick listens to debate on SB 8 franchise tax reform measure during Senate action March 25, 2015.

In its quest for school choice legislation, the Senate is backing away from traditional vouchers and heading toward a plan that would use donations to fund scholarships for low-income students trying to get out of weak schools. 

Budget Debate Tackles School Funding, Incentive Programs

State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.
State Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, carries literature laying out House Bill 1 as he prepares to discuss the appropriations bill on the House floor March 31, 2015.

With more than 350 proposed amendments before then, the Texas House is likely to go well into the evening before getting to a final vote on the $210 billion budget. Early discussions addressed school funding and incentives programs.

Senate Passes A-F Grading System for Schools

Then-state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, is shown on the second-to-last day of the first-called special session during the 82nd Legislature on June 27, 2011. Taylor was elected to the Texas Senate in 2012.
Then-state Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, is shown on the second-to-last day of the first-called special session during the 82nd Legislature on June 27, 2011. Taylor was elected to the Texas Senate in 2012.

Public schools in Texas would begin receiving grades on an A-through-F scale to reflect their performance under a bill that won preliminary approval in the state Senate on Monday. The grading would begin in the 2017-18 school year.

Long Legislative Road for Voucher Bills Begins

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick listens to debate on SB 8  franchise tax reform measure during Senate action March 25, 2015.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick listens to debate on SB 8 franchise tax reform measure during Senate action March 25, 2015.

A preview of the looming battle over school vouchers played out Thursday as a state Senate panel considered two proposals to provide state financial support to parents who want to send their children to private schools.

Talk Turns to Standards as Lawmakers Weigh Pre-K Bills

Students in Pre-K teacher Josefina Pineda's class sing to practice their language skills at the Dallas Independent School District Cesar Chavez Learning Center in Dallas, Texas.
Students in Pre-K teacher Josefina Pineda's class sing to practice their language skills at the Dallas Independent School District Cesar Chavez Learning Center in Dallas, Texas.

As legislators considered several early education bills Tuesday afternoon, testimony was dominated by a debate over what standards school districts should meet to get additional state funding for pre-kindergarten programs.

 

Early Education Push Earning Lukewarm Reviews

Pre-K teacher Josefina Pineda teaches her students the concept of "push" by having them join hands and push back and forth in her classroom at the Dallas Independent School District elementary school Cesar Chavez Learning Center in Dallas, Texas.
Pre-K teacher Josefina Pineda teaches her students the concept of "push" by having them join hands and push back and forth in her classroom at the Dallas Independent School District elementary school Cesar Chavez Learning Center in Dallas, Texas.

When Gov. Greg Abbott named improving pre-kindergarten programs as a top priority, it signaled a dramatic move in the state’s approach to early education. But so far, the change has been mostly in tone.