Tribpedia: Public Education

Tribpedia

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 ...

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Business Leaders Sound Alarm About Education Cuts

Lawmakers will soon take an ax to the state budget, but business leaders are hoping one big-ticket item will be spared. At its annual conference in Austin this week, the Texas Association of Business sounded warnings about potential cuts to public education. Erika Aguilar of KUT News reports.

Pre-K Programs Vulnerable as Schools Confront Cuts

Just how important is full-day pre-kindergarten for the state’s youngest and most disadvantaged kids? Is it more important than after-school tutoring? Than canceling music and art classes? As public school officials brace for a proposed $10 billion less in state funding, that’s one decision they'll have to make. “It's choosing between bad and worse and bad and bad,” says one superintendent. “It's definitely not a good day when we are sitting around talking about whether class size going up could help salvage all-day pre-K, or vice-versa.”

Barton Hills Elementary is one of eight that may close in Austin Independent School District.
Barton Hills Elementary is one of eight that may close in Austin Independent School District.

What Should Districts Do With Empty Schools?

Texas public schools are facing what could be $10 billion less in state financing — a stark prospect that could empty school buildings across the state as districts consolidate campuses to reduce costs. What should happen to these structures, which are built with taxpayer money? 

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 1/17/11

The Trib staff on the sweeping cuts in the proposed House budget, Grissom on what's lost and not found at the Department of Public Safety, Galbraith on the wind power conundrum, Hamilton on higher ed's pessimistic budget outlook, Stiles and Swicegood debut an incredibly useful bill tracker app, Ramsey interviews Rick Perry on the cusp of his second decade as governor, Aguilar on a Mexican journalist's quest for asylum in the U.S., Ramshaw on life expectancy along the border, M. Smith on the obstacles school districts face in laying off teachers and yours truly talks gambling and the Rainy Day Fund with state Rep. Jim Pitts: The best of our best from January 17 to 21, 2011.

Thousands of Job Cuts May Be Just the Beginning

With some top state leaders warning that Texas’ dire fiscal situation will lead to the loss of several thousand state jobs, House budget writers will release their first draft budget today. As Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, big job cuts may be just the beginning.
House and Senate bills filed from 11/8-1/4.
House and Senate bills filed from 11/8-1/4.

Word Cloud Shows Lege Priorities So Far

A new word cloud visualizes the bills filed so far according to their Texas Legislative Council assigned categories. After education, which accounts for more than a quarter of the bills, the top categories are elections, criminal procedure, vehicles and traffic, and taxation. 

Key Education Mandates Could Be Cut to Save Money

Get acquainted with a phrase that will be oft-repeated in the upcoming 82nd Legislature’s brawls over public education: unfunded mandate. To help schools cope with any reduced funding, lawmakers will look to relax state regulations that create costs local school districts bear on their own or with limited help from the state. But will dropping these requirements hurt educational quality?

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Dec. 20, 2010

Ramshaw on how hard it is to sue over emergency room mistakes, Galbraith on paying for roads in an era of fuel-efficient vehicles, Aguilar on a disagreement about gun regulation, my interview with tort reformer Dick Trabulsi, Grissom on Perry's parsimonious pardoning, Hu and Chang interactively look at House committee chairs, M. Smith on an election challenge and who'll settle it, Ramshaw and Stiles on Dallas County's blue streak and Hamilton on a Valley school district that leads the nation in preparing kids for college: The best of our best from Dec. 20 to 24, 2010.

Students in the Hidalgo Independent School District physics classroom work on a project on acceleration with a sloped ramp in a regular science class at Hidalgo Early College High School.
Students in the Hidalgo Independent School District physics classroom work on a project on acceleration with a sloped ramp in a regular science class at Hidalgo Early College High School.

Early College Concept Takes Hold in Hidalgo

In the 1980s, when the state’s education accountability systems were first put into place, Hidalgo’s high school was ranked among the bottom 10 percent of all schools in academic performance. Today, its students graduate at higher rates than the state average, and 98 percent complete a recommended or distinguished curriculum — all thanks to an unprecedented level of collaboration between local leaders in public and higher education that has permeated Hidalgo for the last five years and is taking hold elsewhere in the Rio Grande Valley, providing new opportunities in some of the country’s poorest counties.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 12/13/10

Ramsey on what a GOP supermajority means, Ramshaw on a crime victim not eligible for crime victims' compensation, M. Smith on grave matters and state regulation, Hamilton on the college pipeline at San Antonio's Jefferson High, Hu on a senator's anticlimactic return, Grissom on the coming closure of juvenile lockups, Aguilar on the return of residents to their drug-war-torn Mexican town, Galbraith on next session's energy agenda, Philpott on the legal fight over federal health care reform and Stiles on the travel expenses of House members: The best of our best from Dec. 13 to 17, 2010.

TCAC adviser, Allison Najera and Cynthia McCarty, head guidance counselor at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio
TCAC adviser, Allison Najera and Cynthia McCarty, head guidance counselor at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio

A New Kind of Guidance Counselor Comes to Texas

The interim principal of San Antonio's Thomas Jefferson High believes that the current juniors will be the school’s first with a 100 percent graduation rate and that many will go on to respected universities. One key factor: Allison Najera, a 2010 University of Texas graduate placed at Jefferson through a new program: the Texas College Advising Corps.

Crowded classroom in Edgewood School District, San Antonio, TX
Crowded classroom in Edgewood School District, San Antonio, TX

In Light of Budget Gap, Public Education Faces Cuts

The budget shortfall — estimated to be as much as $28 billion — will require the Legislature to take a paring knife and possibly a machete to government agencies and programs. The largest single consumer of state dollars is public education, so it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which funding for teacher salaries, curricular materials and the like isn’t on the chopping block, especially if lawmakers want to make good on their promises of no new taxes. But where is that money going to come from? 

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 11/29/10

M. Smith and Butrymowicz of the Hechinger Institute on charter schools and public schools making nice in the Valley, Ramsey's interview with House Speaker candidate Ken Paxton and column on the coming budget carnage, Hu on the Legislature's disappearing white Democratic women, Grissom on the sheriff who busted Willie Nelson, Hamilton talks higher ed accountability with the chair of the Governor's Business Council, Aguilar on the arrest of a cartel kingpin, Ramshaw on the explosive growth in the number of adult Texans with diabetes, Philpott on state incentive funding under fire and Galbraith on the greening of Houston: The best of our best from November 29 to December 3, 2010.

PSJA Southwest High School english teacher, Cindie Rivera, talks to small groups on Greek and Roman mythology in her classroom at PSJA Southwest High School in Pharr, Texas Tuesday November, 23, 2010.
PSJA Southwest High School english teacher, Cindie Rivera, talks to small groups on Greek and Roman mythology in her classroom at PSJA Southwest High School in Pharr, Texas Tuesday November, 23, 2010.

Charter and Public Schools Align in the Valley

Public schools have long had a strained relationship with their charter cousins, which battle them for students and money and boast loudly about their relative success. But in the Rio Grande Valley, a federal grant has the largest public school district partnering with Teach For America and a network of charter schools to create a teacher training center with hopes of luring quality educators to one of Texas' most poverty stricken regions — and keeping them there. In the process, the competitive tension is being replaced by a spirit of constructive collaboration.

Lawmakers Look to Cut Texas Education Budget

"Efficiency" is the buzzword heading into the 2011 legislative session. Lawmakers say they want to make sure the dollars spent on K-12 education are being spent as efficiently as possible — and that anything deemed inefficient could end up the chopping block. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.