Hu on the Perry-Bush rift, Ramshaw on the adult diaper wars, Ramsey's interview with conservative budget-slasher Arlene Wohlgemuth, Galbraith on the legislature's water agenda (maybe), M. Smith on Don McLeroy's last stand (maybe), Philpott on the end of earmarks (maybe), Hamilton on the merger of the Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Education Agency (maybe), Aguilar on Mexicans seeking refuge from drug violence, Grissom on inadequate health care in county jails and my conversation with Houston Mayor Annise Parker: The best of our best from November 15 to 19, 2010.Full Story
The Texas State Board of Education is an elected 15-member body that oversees the public education system in Texas. Members run in partisan elections and represent single-member districts for four-year terms.
The governor appoints one member to lead the board as chair. The chair, like other guberatorial appointees, is confirmed by the Texas Senate.
Every 10 years, board members set ...
This week marks the final meeting of the State Board of Education before former chair Don McLeroy's GOP primary opponent, Thomas Ratliff, takes his seat. But the unapologetic creationist and skeptic of the church-state wall says you haven't seen the last of him yet. “Oh, gosh, no,” he says. “I’m thinking that maybe God’s got something else for me to do.”Full Story
Republicans are well ahead in the results for six of seven races for the State Board of Education. The contests are closely watched due to the board's controversial efforts to amend the content allowed in school textbooks earlier this year.
In one of the most-watched races, in the Austin area, Republican Marsha Farney leads her Democratic opponent, Judy Jennings, by 59 percent to 28 percent with 30 percent of the vote counted. In a second closely watched race, in the San Antonio area, the Republican incumbent Ken Mercer leads Democratic challenger Rebecca Bell-Metereau 61 percent to 35 percent with 27 percent of the vote counted. In District 1, the Democratic incumbent Rene Nuñez trails Republican challenger Carlos Garza by 42 percent to 58 percent, with 33 percent of the vote counted.
The Tribune's crack reporting staff — in Houston, Buda and other political hotspots — will be posting the latest news and spin the minute the polls close. Check back and refresh often for updates and photos from the field.Full Story
On Friday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White sat down with me for an interview co-presented by the Tribune and Austin's public broadcasting stations, KUT and KLRU. We talked about whether the big bucks he's raised from appointees qualifies as "government for sale," how he'd cut the shortfall, how he feels about Barack Obama, the health care reform he'd prefer, those lawsuits against the feds and more.Full Story
Thevenot on the fastest-growing charter school chain in Texas, Hu on the continuing legal fights between tort reformers and trial lawyers over the state's windstorm insurance pool, Hamilton on the push for accountability in Texas colleges, Philpott on legislative skirmishing over federal education funds, Grissom on misdemeanor convicts choosing jail time instead of probation that's more expensive for them but cheaper for the state, M. Smith on Bill Flores' challenge in what's billed as the hottest congressional race in the country, Ramshaw looks at scandals that have put some otherwise safe statehouse incumbents in deep electoral trouble, yours truly on the closest and ugliest race on the statewide ballot and Galbraith and Titus on pollution from idling vehicles and why it's so hard to control: The best of our best from September 27 to October 1, 2010.Full Story
Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott's absence from joint hearing at the Capitol today left some lawmakers annoyed.Full Story
Members of the State Board of Education’s hard-right wing appear poised to inject themselves into the national fray over Islamic influence in America with a resolution warning textbook publishers that a “pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias has tainted some past Texas Social Studies textbooks.”Full Story
As chairman of the Select Committee of Public Education in the '80s, Ross Perot took on high school athletics hammer and tongs: “If the people of Texas want Friday night entertainment instead of education," he said, "let’s find out about it." An excerpt from the forthcoming How Things Really Work: Lessons from a Life in Politics.Full Story
After getting shot down in committee, SBOE member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, and other members succeeded Friday in pushing through a plan to purchase school buildings and lease them back to charter schools in a split vote, with two Democrats absent. The decision, however, is contingent upon a favorable attorney general's opinion on the legality of the controversial move — which would pull money from the Permanent School Fund.Full Story
Ramsey's interview with Rick Perry's chief consultant, Stiles on the massive amount of cash that cities are collecting from red-light cameras, Grissom on the coming debate over the Democrats' two-step primary/caucus process, Thevenot on the State Board of Education's latest controversial plan, Aguilar on immigrants deported for minor infractions, Ramshaw on the social conscience (or lack thereof) of medical schools, M. Smith on a nascent voter registration effort in Harris County, Hamilton's interview with the newest state senator, Philpott on Bill White's feistier week, Galbraith on how tighter EPA rules will affect Texas and Hu on questions about the governor's transparency: The best of our best from June 21 to 25, 2010.Full Story
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.Full Story
Forecasters pegging a looming state budget shortfall at $18 billion don't have Gov. Rick Perry particularly worried.Full Story
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.Full Story
Thevenot on the ideological backbiting at the internationally famous State Board of Education; Stiles, Narioka and Hamilton plumb employee salary data in Texas colleges and universities; Grissom looks at the problem of insufficient indigent defense; Cervantes on the push for "veterans courts" emphasizing treatment and counseling over punishment; Aguilar finds border congressmen asking the governor for a fair break on federal homeland security dollars; M. Smith on another BP rig in the Gulf; Ramshaw reports on nurse practitioners trying to get permission slips from doctors; Hu follows up with lawmakers poking at whistleblower allegations of trouble in the state's workers' compensation regulation; Hamilton stops in on Luke Hayes and his efforts to turn Texas into a political powerhouse for Obama; and Ramsey writes on generation changes at the Capitol and on political pranksters: The best of our best from May 17 to 21, 2010.Full Story
You know that prayer that before today's State Board of Education meeting, which some found so inappropriate? It was read by arch-conservative Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond — but not written by her. In a gag on her detractors, she lifted the text from U.S. Supreme Court Justice and liberal icon Earl Warren.Full Story