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 ...

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? 

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.

TEA Cuts to Student Services Could Affect Learning

The Texas Education Agency has submitted a proposal to slash 10 percent of its budget to help close the state's coming shortfall, which could be as much as $21 billion. Among the items on the chopping block: outside-the-classroom expenditures that, Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, could have a dramatic affect on student outcomes.

Bus Seat Belt Money Excludes Area That Pushed for It

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After a 2006 bus accident in Beaumont that killed two students and injured several more, parents and legislators successfully demanded the state finance seat belts in school buses. Today, four years later, the Legislative Budget Board finally gave approval for a grant program — but the rules the board set likely will exclude the Beaumont area from getting the money, even though the grassroots movement started there. 

Bill Hobby on the 1984 Education Reform Battle

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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.

'Astrodome' stadium filled with refugees from Louisiana in Houston, Texas, USA, on September 3, 2005.
'Astrodome' stadium filled with refugees from Louisiana in Houston, Texas, USA, on September 3, 2005.

Five Years Later, Houstonians Conflicted About Katrina

Five years after Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana exiles have fundamentally changed Houston, and vice-versa. The uneasy arrangement was a shotgun marriage: Many evacuees had no choice in whether or where they went, and Houstonians had no choice, for humanity's sake, but to take them in.

Some Texas Schools Modify Sex Education

Students are heading back to school this week, and some of them will begin learning about the birds and the bees. The Texas Education Code requires that abstinence be the focus of any sex education curriculum — but as Nathan Bernier of KUT News reports, there are some changes this year to how sex ed is being taught.

Top Texas News for the Week of August 16 to 20, 2010

Galbraith on grass, federal money and efforts to prevent another dust bowl, Ergenbright on school suspensions and who gets punished; Aguilar's interview with Alan Bersin, whose job is to keep the U.S./Mexico border secure, M. Smith on why it would be harder than you think to ditch the 14th Amendment, Adler and me on whether controversy is politically contagious, Ramshaw on the flap over funding for the state's institutions for the disabled (it's not about the money), my meditation on the state's fiscal woes (including a $1.3 billion deficit in the current budget), Philpott on proposed cuts to the state's food stamp program, Grissom on the push by Hidalgo County officials for a special election that might not be legal; Hamilton on the seven Texas universities that are making a play for Tier One status and Stiles on the mid-year cash-on-hand numbers reported by campaigns and political action committees: The best of our best from August 16 to 23, 2010.

The Texas Tribune Weekly TribCast: Ep 41

Ben, Ross, Evan and Matt talk about President Obama's visit to Texas and who didn't want to be seen with him, the battle over strings attached to federal education money, Bill White's donor-appointees and the legal and political definitions of residency.

Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott in March, 2010.
Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott in March, 2010.

TEA: Three-Fourths of Texas Schools Doing Great

In new public school ratings released this afternoon, three-fourths of the state's public schools — graded under a controversial formula called the Texas Projection Measure — now rank "exemplary" or "recognized," the highest two of four categories of performance. Less than two percent of schools are ranked "unacceptable."

Texas School Math Standards Fall Short

A new study suggests that while the state's English curriculum is among the best in the nation, our math curriculum doesn't measure up to a set of new national standards. Matt Largey of KUT News reports.