Tribpedia: Texas Education Agency

Tribpedia

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) oversees primary and secondary public education for the state, including setting accountability standards. The Commissioner of Education, Michael L. Williams, manages the TEA, and the agency works in conjunction with the State Board of Education (SBOE) in setting curriculum standards.

According to its website, the TEA:

  • manages the textbook adoption process;
  • oversees development of the ...

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Texas Capitol on Feb 22nd.
Texas Capitol on Feb 22nd.

Texas Lawmakers Debate How to Curb School Bullying

More than 15 anti-bullying bills have been filed this session. But while the legislation is supported by teacher organizations and advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League, it has drawn opponents as diverse as the American Civil Liberties Union and the archconservative Liberty Institute, who question how effective any new state law will be in curbing aggression in schools. 

State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, on July 20, 2010.
State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, on July 20, 2010.

Budget Cuts Have Some Calling for STAAR Delay

Texas school districts are bracing for budget cuts and layoffs in the coming months. But as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, the cuts have some worried about 2012, when the state will roll out STAAR, a new testing system.

"Rube Goldberg" School Finance System Faces New Test

Cutting $10 billion from the state’s bill for public education could push more than two-dozen school districts from the group that receives state financing into the group that writes checks to the state to even things out between richer and poorer districts. That’s dangerous political territory, but familiar terrain for Texas lawmakers.

Students at Austin Discovery School work on a project at the Texas charter school on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011.
Students at Austin Discovery School work on a project at the Texas charter school on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011.

Texas Charter Schools Eye Permanent School Fund

The single biggest hurdle facing charter schools in Texas, advocates say, is finding adequate facilities. Some lawmakers want to give charters the same backing of the state’s Permanent School Fund for facilities bonds that traditional public schools already have. That would help them secure far better interest rates to buy property and avoid costly rent and interest payments. Among the biggest opponents: the traditional public schools.

The Weekly TribCast: Episode 67

This week's episode of the TribCast features Evan, Ross, Ben and Matt going over the "super-majority" in the Texas House and how that could lead to federal court challenges, the coming Census numbers, the Howard/Neil election fight and the public ed budget battle.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Ft. Worth at the 2010 Texas Democratic convention in Corpus Christi, Tex. on June 26.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Ft. Worth at the 2010 Texas Democratic convention in Corpus Christi, Tex. on June 26.

Texas Democrats Blame Republicans for Budget Blues

Texas governors have limited control over what the state budget ultimately looks like. They can veto items in the final budget and, as Gov. Rick Perry did Tuesday, use the bully pulpit of the State of the State address to lay out priorities. Perry's speech was part pep rally, part budget proposal, with a dash of national politics. And, as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, Democrats weren't charmed.

Athletics: Where Budget Balancers Fear to Tread?

With Texas public schools facing cuts of as much as $10 billion in state funding, predictions of the consequences have been dire: teacher layoffs in the six figures, bigger class sizes, fewer instructional days, slashed support for at-risk students. One topic conspicuously absent from the conversation: athletics. Are lawmakers and school boards fearful of treading on the hallowed turf of high school football? Perhaps, but the unhappy answer, at least for gridiron lovers, is that nothing is safe — not even sports in the land of Taj Mahal stadiums. 

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 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.

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 11/15/10

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.

Will the State Board of Ed Fund New Textbooks?

The State Board of Education is scheduled to vote Friday on approving the purchase of new textbooks at a cost of almost half a billion dollars. But state legislators are facing a budget gap of as much as $28 billion in the next biennium, and some observers fear that textbook spending could be on the chopping block. Nathan Bernier of KUT News reports.

House Democrats Push Back Against Perry Policies

Tension between Texas and the federal government has been a major focus of Rick Perry's re-election campaign. But on Monday, two top Democratic leaders in the Texas House ganged up on Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott and, by proxy, the governor over the recent federal education funds fight. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.

What Drives High Achievement At Harmony Charters?

Harmony Public Schools is the largest and fastest-growing charter school network in Texas, with eight new schools open this year and a total of 33 schools statewide serving about 16,500 students. Founded by Turkish academics, Harmony boasts small classes, a worldly faculty with advanced degrees and outstanding TAKS scores — which is why, perhaps, it's one of just three charter operators given permission by the Texas Education Agency to open new schools without going through the usual bureaucratic channels.