Tribpedia: Michael Williams

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick meets privately with Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, on the dais during a break in Senate proceedings Jan. 21, 2015.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick meets privately with Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, on the dais during a break in Senate proceedings Jan. 21, 2015.

High School Seniors Who Fail Exams May Still Graduate

The roughly 28,000 public high school seniors who still need to pass a state exam to get their diplomas this May could get a lifeline from Texas legislators. State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, is looking to fast-track a bill that would give school officials the option to graduate students who have failed state exams. 

 

Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams answers a question at TribLive on Jan. 10, 2013.
Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams answers a question at TribLive on Jan. 10, 2013.

Feds Tell Texas to Try Again on Teacher Evaluations

Rejecting a proposed Texas educator evaluation system, federal officials raised concerns about the lack of information tying standardized test results to measuring educator performance. The rejection puts the state's No Child Left Behind waiver in danger.

Fourth and fifth grade students at the Austin Discovery School.
Fourth and fifth grade students at the Austin Discovery School.

New Math Standards a Hurdle for Some Students and Teachers

As new, more rigorous math standards hit Texas elementary and middle schools this year, school officials are reporting that they lack the resources to help teachers learn the new material. State officials adopted the revised standards to better prepare students for high school and college.

Students in Yvonne McDaniel's English for Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL, class participated in English-language exercises during summer school at McCallum High School in Austin on July 31, 2013.
Students in Yvonne McDaniel's English for Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL, class participated in English-language exercises during summer school at McCallum High School in Austin on July 31, 2013.

Lawmakers Might Address Graduation Hurdles

If roughly 47,000 high school seniors in December fail a final chance to pass the state exams required to earn a diploma, their last shot at graduating with their peers in the Class of 2015 may depend on the quick movement of state lawmakers.

A reading assistant reads on the classroom floor with a small group of fourth graders at Wanke Elementary School in San Antonio on March 9, 2012.
A reading assistant reads on the classroom floor with a small group of fourth graders at Wanke Elementary School in San Antonio on March 9, 2012.

Struggling With State Exams, Students Still Advance

As policymakers continue to question whether standardized exams adequately track student achievement, most of the state's fifth- and eighth-graders who fail their state reading and math exams will likely move on to the next grade anyway.  

Pre-kindergarten students at the Dallas Independent School District's Cesar Chavez Learning Center.
Pre-kindergarten students at the Dallas Independent School District's Cesar Chavez Learning Center.

With Pre-K Grant, Texas Switches Gears on Federal Cash

In a shift for a state that has shunned other federal education initiatives like Common Core and Race to the Top, Texas will participate in a signature Obama administration program focused on early learning. The news has already become a political football.

Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA-TV's "Inside Texas Politics" on August 31, 2014.
Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey on WFAA-TV's "Inside Texas Politics" on August 31, 2014.

Inside Texas Politics: Lawyering Up

On this week's edition of WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics, we talked about Thursday's ruling by a Travis County district judge that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional, the delay in raising standards on state exams, Gov. Rick Perry addition of a sixth attorney to his legal team and more.

Education Commissioner Michael Williams, a former railroad commissioner, is shown at a TribLive event on Jan. 27, 2011.
Education Commissioner Michael Williams, a former railroad commissioner, is shown at a TribLive event on Jan. 27, 2011.

Education Commissioner: "The System Needs to Catch Up"

UPDATED: Asked why the state had delayed a transition away from lower passing standards on state exams, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams told state lawmakers Tuesday that classroom instruction had failed to meet the rigor demanded by the new tests. 

Nearly All Texas School Districts Meet State Ratings

In the second year of a new school accountability system, nine out of ten Texas districts met state standards, according to ratings released by the Texas Education Agency on Friday. The percentage of individual schools meeting the standards is lower — 82 — an indication that many of the state's low-performing schools are clustered within the same districts.

Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams answers a question at TribLive on Jan. 10, 2013.
Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams answers a question at TribLive on Jan. 10, 2013.

Williams Discusses Decision to Approve Charter

UPDATED: Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams told State Board of Education members Wednesday that when he approved an Arizona-based charter school's expansion into the Dallas area, he was following the spirit of a 2013 law intended to encourage high-quality charter operators to come to the state. 

Texas' improvement on national academic measures has begun to stall in recent years. In 2013, for the first time in 15 years, math and reading scores went down or stayed the same for black and Hispanic students in both fourth and eighth grades. The scores also went down for Anglo students in some areas.
Texas' improvement on national academic measures has begun to stall in recent years. In 2013, for the first time in 15 years, math and reading scores went down or stayed the same for black and Hispanic students in both fourth and eighth grades. The scores also went down for Anglo students in some areas.

Academic Gains Slowing; No Consensus on Why

For years, Texas policymakers have pushed for increasingly advanced science and math course requirements, along with standardized test-driven accountability, to improve academic performance at public schools. And over the last decade, students have made steady progress on a number of academic measures. But that improvement has begun to stall.

A public education rally at the Capitol on March 11, 2013, sponsored by the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.
A public education rally at the Capitol on March 11, 2013, sponsored by the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

Houston Teachers Sue Over Student Test-Based Evaluation

Seven teachers, backed by the Houston branch of the American Federation of Teachers, are suing the Houston school district over a new approach tying standardized test results to pay and employment decisions. 

 

Gov. Rick Perry after signing House Bill 5, an education reform bill, before a crowd in the Governor's Reception Room on June 10, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry after signing House Bill 5, an education reform bill, before a crowd in the Governor's Reception Room on June 10, 2013.

Perry Signs High School Curriculum, Testing Bill

Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 5 on Monday, ending weeks of speculation that he might veto the high-profile education legislation that adjusts high school graduation standards. The governor said the measure reflected an "appropriate balance between a need for rigorous academics and flexibility" and had "come a long way" to address the concerns of its critics.