Tribpedia: Texas Education Agency

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 ...

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 3/21/11

M. Smith on the continuing controversy over Beaumont's school administrators, Tan on the deepening divide over the consequences of the House budget, Hamilton on the latest in the fight over higher ed accountability, Grissom on young inmates in adult prisons, Aguilar on the voter ID end game, Tan and Hasson's Rainy Day Fund infographic, Ramsey on the coming conflict over school district reserves, M. Smith and Aguilar on Laredo ISD's missing Social Security numbers, Galbraith on environmental regulators bracing for budget cuts and Ramshaw on greater scrutiny of neonatal intensive care units: The best of our best content from March 21 to 25, 2011.

Beaumont attorney Micheal Getz is running for city council and a vocal opponent of the school board.
Beaumont attorney Micheal Getz is running for city council and a vocal opponent of the school board.

Deep Rift in Beaumont, Texas, on School Leadership

Beaumont's Carrol A. Thomas, who was widely praised when first hired, has recently become the focus of criticism for his leadership — criticism his supporters say is racially motivated. In May, residents will vote on a ballot initiative to make two of the school board’s seven seats at-large positions, which some view as an opportunity to reclaim control of an institution still central to the life of a struggling city.

Short of Funds, Texas Eyes School Reserves

The state’s 1,030 school districts have  — in total — $10.2 billion in reserves and another $2.1 billion in unspent federal stimulus money. Facing a reduction in state education spending of between $4 billion and $10 billion, many school districts have said they will be forced to lay off teachers and other staff and even close schools. Can they use their reserve funds to avoid such draconian cutbacks? It's not that simple.

SSNs of Laredo ISD Students Missing In Data Breach

A disk holding the Social Security numbers of thousands of current and former students in the Laredo Independent School District — a total of 24,903 — has gone missing, according to the Texas Education Agency. TEA officials say they first learned of the possible security breach in January, when the University of Texas at Dallas contacted them looking for sensitive data university researchers had requested from Laredo ISD. That data, which was supposed to be delivered to the TEA first, never made it to the agency.

State Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, speaks to the press about two school finance measures filed on March 8, 2011
State Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, speaks to the press about two school finance measures filed on March 8, 2011

What $9.8 Billion in Texas School Cuts Looks Like

School districts won't know exactly what nearly $10 billion in state cuts means to them until lawmakers pass a new school finance bill. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune takes a look at the first bill of the session that gives districts an idea of what to expect.

State Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, discusses the details of two school finance measures on March 8, 2011.
State Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston, discusses the details of two school finance measures on March 8, 2011.

What $9.8 Billion in Texas School Cuts Looks Like

School districts won't know exactly what nearly $10 billion in state cuts means to them until lawmakers pass a new school finance bill. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune takes a look at the first bill of the session that gives districts an idea of what to expect.

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.

AISD Asks for Help in Deciding What to Cut

The Austin Independent School District says it will need to cut tens of millions of dollars from its budget over the next several years — and it wants local parents to help figure out where to start the trimming. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.
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?