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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State Sen. Mario Gallegos, Jr., D-Houston,  gestures at the Senate Committee on Education on July 20, 2010.
State Sen. Mario Gallegos, Jr., D-Houston, gestures at the Senate Committee on Education on July 20, 2010.

Gallegos, HISD Spar on Data-Based Firings

In the latest clash between the Houston Independent School District and those who question its use of "value-added data" to grade and sometimes fire teachers, state Sen. Mario Gallegos Jr., D-Houston, grilled an HSID representative at Tuesday's Senate Education Committee hearing over what he decried as a transparency issue for the district.

State Board of Education Considers Renting to Charters

Hoping to tackle the long-standing challenge of financing charter school facilities, the State Board of Education is considering taking on a novel and controversial role: landlord. SBOE member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, wants to use $100 million from the $23 billion Permanent School Fund to buy properties and then lease them back to charter schools, which have historically struggled with capital costs. Critics say the elected board can't possibly fulfill the mandate of the Fund — to invest for maximum return — while at the same time cutting charters a good deal. 

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Jun 14, 2010

M. Smith's interview with the new chair of the Texas GOP, Philpott on Republicans and Tea Partiers living in harmony, Aguilar on Immigration and Customs Enforcement's not-yet-released strategic plan, Ramshaw's tragic tale of out-of-state kids in Texas treatment centers, Grissom on how budget cuts could impact juvenile justice, Stiles' awesome new population app, Galbraith on the decline of the Ogallala Aquifer, Hamilton's interview with the commissioner of higher education and the debut of Hu's new video debate series: The best of our best from June 14 to 19, 2010.

McCown, Heflin Debate Texas Budget Shortfall

The executive director of the progressive Center for Public Policy Priorities and the director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, debate the best way to dig out of Texas' multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of May 31, 2010

Ramshaw on geriatric care in state prisons, with Miller's photo essay inside those walls; M. Smith interviews the state's newest Supreme Court justice, Debra Lehrmann; Aguilar finds fewer Mexicans seeking asylum in the U.S; Galbraith sorts out the politics of pollution and whether our air is dangerous to breathe; Thevenot discovers authorities writing tickets for misbehavior to elementary school kids; Philpott reports on early hearing about political redistricting; Kreighbaum examines fines levied against polluters and finds they're often smaller than the economic benefits of the infractions; and Stiles and Babalola spotlight some of our data projects from our first seven months online: The best of our best from May 31 to June 4, 2010.

School District Cops Ticket Thousands of Students

With the rise of get-tough juvenile crime policies across Texas, the municipal courthouse has become the new principal’s office for students who fight, curse their teachers or are generally “disorderly” — even in elementary schools. Campus police in the Austin, Houston and Dallas ISDs, among others, write thousands of citations per year, with young students tickted egularly and minority students targeted disproportionately. Fines of $250 or $500 are not uncommon, court officials say.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of May 24, 2010

Ramsey on what the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll says about the governor's race, education, immigration, and other issues; Grissom on a far West Texas county divided over Arizona's immigration law; Ramshaw talks health care reform and obesity in Texas with a legendary Dallas doctor; M. Smith on the Collin County community that's about to break ground on a $60 million high school football stadium; Aguilar on the backlog of cases in the federal immigration detention system; Philpott of the Green Party's plans to get back on the ballot; Hu on the latest in the Division of Workers' Comp contretemps; Mulvaney on the punishing process of getting compensated for time spent in jail when you didn't commit a crime; Hamilton on the fight over higher ed formula funding; and my sit-down with state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin: The best of our best from May 24-28, 2010.

Dr. Kenneth Cooper
Dr. Kenneth Cooper

Texas Tribune Interviews Dr. Kenneth Cooper

The world-renowned Dallas doctor who essentially invented jogging as exercise talks with the Tribune about health care reform, the crisis of obesity in Texas, and what lawmakers must do to shore up the physical-education legislation they passed last session.

Clockwise from top left: an architect's rendering of the new stadium; Allen players after the 2008 state championship in Houston; Allen students at a game in the current stadium; the front of Allen High.
Clockwise from top left: an architect's rendering of the new stadium; Allen players after the 2008 state championship in Houston; Allen students at a game in the current stadium; the front of Allen High.

Texas' $60 Million High School Football Stadium

Allen High School is a study in bigness: A 5,000-student campus with a 650-member marching band supporting a football team that draws 8,000 fans to away games. And now — the pinnacle of suburban spoils — the Collin County community will break ground on an 18,000-seat stadium, the largest occupied by a single team. Pricetag: $60 million.

UT/Texas Tribune Poll: Doubts About Public Schools

More than two-thirds of Texans say their confidence in the state's public schools ranges from shaky to nonexistent, according to the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. A majority of Texans believe that crime, low academic standards, lack of parental involvement and not enough funding are "major" problems that public schools face — but two-thirds say "too much religion in the schools" is not a problem.

Former State Board of Education members Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar at a meeting in March 2010.
Former State Board of Education members Don McLeroy and Cynthia Dunbar at a meeting in March 2010.

SBOE's Dunbar Prays for Constitutional Revision

In a morning prayer to open the State Board of Education meeting, social conservative member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, mixed worship with a constitutional argument against the separation of church and state — previewing the politically charged debate to come later today, as conservatives tackle their last big agenda item before approving the state social studies standards.

Texas School Board Fights Church-State Separation

At a public hearing today, the State Board of Education's social conservative bloc is expected to launch attacks on the church-state “wall” as part of hundreds of changes to the social studies curriculum standards, which could provide the outline for tests and textbooks years into the future. The board expects to take a final vote on the entire curriculum on Friday.

Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, at the Texas Tribune offices in October.
Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, at the Texas Tribune offices in October.

SBOE to Debate Additional Amendments

When they meet in Austin next week, social conservatives on the State Board of Education — some now lame ducks — may be going even further with amendments challenging the separation of church and state, entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, landmark desegregation cases and the work of muckraking journalists such as Susan B. Anthony and W.E.B. Du Bois. Another amendment amplifies a long-running effort to resuscitate the reputation of communist-hunting Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Apr 26, 2010

Stiles and Thevenot's searchable database of more than 5,800 public schools, Thevenot on why smaller high schools are better, Garcia-Ditta on the possible unification of Big Bend National Park with Mexico, Grissom on what's likely to happen on immigration reform this year (nothing), Hamilton on how Admm Bobby Ray Inman is managing a crisis, Hu on the health care reform straw man, Ramsey on the no-shoo-in-for-the-experienced-guy special election in Senate District 22, Philpott on the likely post-Arizona immigration brawls, Ramshaw on the emergence of concierge care as a response to health care reform, Aguilar on how Texas will soon become Cuba's top U.S. trading partner, Stiles and Babalola's searchable database of more 160,000 inmates in Texas prisons, M. Smith on the depressing fact that every single U.S. Attorney position in Texas is now vacant, and my on-camera sit-down with Texas Transportation Commission chair Deirdre Delisi. The best of our best from April 26 to 30, 2010.

This map of Texas school districts visualizes the percentage of students rated by the state as economically disadvantaged.
This map of Texas school districts visualizes the percentage of students rated by the state as economically disadvantaged.

Maps Visualize Texas School Demographics

We've created three new maps for visualizing district-level demographics in Texas schools. 

More Than 5,800 Texas Public Schools Ranked

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We've built a searchable database of public school rankings based on data collected by the Houston-based nonprofit Children At Risk. In contrast to the Texas Education Agency's "ratings," which rely almost entirely on the percentage of students passing the TAKS test, the rankings blend 12 different measures for elementary schools, 10 for middle schools and 14 for high schools — including TAKS results, ACT and SAT scores, AP exams, attendance rates, graduation rates and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students on every campus. How does your school stack up?