Tribpedia: Public Education

More tax dollars are spent on public education than on any other governmental program in the state. Public elementary and secondary education in Texas is financed by a combination of state, local, and federal revenue, a system that has produced inequities among the state's 1,030 traditional school districts and 207 charter operators.

As of 2010, more than 4 ...

State Rep. Rob Eissler (c, top), R-The Woodlands, and State Rep. Borris Miles (c, bottom) wait for a ruling on HB400 point of order on April 26, 2011.
State Rep. Rob Eissler (c, top), R-The Woodlands, and State Rep. Borris Miles (c, bottom) wait for a ruling on HB400 point of order on April 26, 2011.

House Finally Kills Class Size Bill

In what may be the Democrats' first concrete victory of the session, the House at last sent HB 400 to its grave when it failed to take up the controversial education legislation before its midnight deadline.

What if Texas Doesn't Pass a School Finance Bill?

With little more than two weeks left of the 82nd legislative session, a growing chorus of voices is asking: What happens if lawmakers can’t agree on school finance reform? For many across the education community, it may be that limping along under the current system until the next legislative session is preferable to the deep funding cuts and permanent policy changes that a new bill would bring.

Wendy Kopp: The TT Interview

The founder of Teach for America and Highland Park High School alum on why she's (generally) positive about the direction of public education in America, how budget deficits in states across the country have changed the way TFA operates, and how Texas school districts should cope with the deep funding cuts they're facing. 

Substitute teacher Nemir Naayem watches the hallways at Austin Premiere Academy during TAKS testing.
Substitute teacher Nemir Naayem watches the hallways at Austin Premiere Academy during TAKS testing.

Bill Would Help Texas Schools for Troubled Students

A bill in the Legislature aims to fix the formula for assessing completion and dropout rates at dropout recovery charters, but some academics question whether that will just make it easier for school districts to jettison their problem children.

Full Video: TPPF's Higher Ed Reform Panel

At a panel hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Bill Powers, the president of the University of Texas, and Robert Strawser, an accounting professor at Texas A&M University and the speaker of its faculty senate, responded to the conservative think tank's proposed higher education reforms. They were defended by Ronald Trowbridge, a senior fellow at TPPF and a former vice president of Hillsdale College in Michigan. Here is the full video.

AUDIO: Rene Nunez Voicemail

Did former State Board of Education member Rene Nunez violate state law when he encouraged four current board members to extend the contract with the company managing the state's $25 billion Permanent School Fund?

July 18, 2008 - Rene Nunez, former Texas State Board of Education board member.
July 18, 2008 - Rene Nunez, former Texas State Board of Education board member.

Did Former SBOE Member Violate State Ethics Law?

Former State Board of Education member Rene Nunez encouraged four current board members to extend the contract with the company managing the state's $25 billion Permanent School Fund — despite a state law that prohibits former members from trying to influence official action for two years after leaving office. Did he violate the law?

Is Poverty the Key Factor in Student Outcomes?

Michael Marder, the co-director of the University of Texas' UTeach program, which trains secondary school math and science teachers, looks at public education data and explains the significance of poverty, why he thinks charter schools are not necessarily the answer and how public education is like a Boeing airplane.

Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, on the floor of the Texas Senate on April 28, 2011.
Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, on the floor of the Texas Senate on April 28, 2011.

Senate OKs Teacher Evaluations

 

The Senate passed a bill today designed to ensure that all public school educators make the grade — by creating a teacher evaluation system. 

State Rep. Borris Miles (l), D-Houston, raises a point of order on HB400 the education bill sponsored by State Rep. Rob Eissler (r), R-The Woodlands, on April 26, 2011.
State Rep. Borris Miles (l), D-Houston, raises a point of order on HB400 the education bill sponsored by State Rep. Rob Eissler (r), R-The Woodlands, on April 26, 2011.

Technicality Slays House Bill on Class Sizes — for Now

The House was set to debate a bill that would scrap a 27-year-old law mandating a 22-to-1 student-teacher ratio in kindergarten through fourth grade today — but before it got the chance, state Rep. Borris Miles, D-Houston, derailed the legislation with a point of order.

Students at Townview wait for the bus on Tuesday in South Dallas.
Students at Townview wait for the bus on Tuesday in South Dallas.

In Dallas, Magnet Schools Bear Brunt of Budget Cuts

Dallas' top-notch magnet schools are at the heart of an identity crisis that has sent fissures through the state’s second-largest district, pitting parents of magnet school students against an administration they view as unfriendly — and sparking emotional debates about how scarce financing should be spent during a time of financial reckoning throughout the state.

Annotated Documents: Texas Superintendent Contracts

As Texas schools brace for what could be as much as an $8 billion gap in state funding, some in the Legislature are questioning what school districts spend on administration — and in particular, on their superintendents. We’ve annotated the contracts of the ten highest paid superintendents, along with those that lead the state’s ten largest districts, so readers can view their pay in the context of retirement benefits, performance incentives and perks.

House Bill on Student Testing Reopens a Familiar Debate

House Bill 500 makes significant modifications to the 2009 legislation that created a new, tougher testing regime set to roll out in the state's public schools in 2011. The goal — reduce costs and ease the concerns of school districts that large numbers of students may fail to graduate. The bill reveals a divergence between Rep. Rob Eissler and Sen. Florence Shapiro on how the state should hold students and educators accountable.

Carol Strayhorn announces for governor, June, 2005.
Carol Strayhorn announces for governor, June, 2005.

A Texas-Sized Budget Problem Deferred — to Now

The 2006 tax swap — lowering local school property taxes and creating a new state business tax to make up the difference — is at the center of the state’s current budget troubles. It was never an even swap, and the architects are still pointing fingers over what and whom to blame for the “structural deficit” in state finances.