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The Brief: Best way to improve education? Texans want to cut standardized tests

Texans who were polled rank cutting standardized tests the best way to improve public schools.

Children from charter and private schools all over Texas turned out for the 85th legislative session's National School Choice Rally on Jan. 24, 2017.

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Tribune today

Education is pretty good, but Texans have some suggestions
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Texas counties see price tags on both sides of "sanctuary" debate
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House member marks one-year anniversary of filing zero campaign finance reports
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Analysis: Sex trafficking series shows Texas vexed by long-term challenges
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Texas Republicans pitch new voter ID law
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Judge: Texas can't kick Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid
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Texas congressional Democrats fear "dreamers" will lose benefits
Texas Democrats in Congress are bracing for the possibility of the Trump administration ending benefits for people who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children.

Austin senator — a Baylor alum — takes aim at university sexual assault
Sen. Kirk Watson's proposed bills would require universities to provide an anonymous online sexual assault reporting process and would prohibit administrators from punishing victims who reveal they were drinking underage at the time of an attack.

Trump administration directs Border Patrol, ICE to expand deportations
The Trump administration moved one step closer to implementing the president’s plans to aggressively rid the country of undocumented immigrants and expand local police-based enforcement of border security operations.

What you need to know

While 47 percent of Texans think state schools are either excellent or good, 42 percent say they are either not very good or terrible, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll

  • Texans who were polled rank cutting standardized tests the best way to improve schools. The second-most-common answer was increasing public funding for schools, followed by a tie for third: creating a school voucher system and increasing the pay of public school teachers. 
  • But vouchers don't have broad support among Texans polled. Just 35 percent of Texans support “proposals that would redirect state tax revenue to help parents pay for some of the cost of sending their children to private or parochial schools.”
  • There's not a majority view on public schools. Only 8 percent of Texans rate the education system excellent while another 8 percent rank it terrible. 

To get more education news in your inbox, subscribe to Trib+Edu: Your guide to state and regional education policy news and events.

News from home

Help us report on sex trafficking in Texas: Over the past five months, The Texas Tribune has investigated the hidden world of sex trafficking. Now, we want to hear about your experiences.

What we're reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

Mexican officials riled by Trump's new deportation memos, Politico

Wichita Falls bans cell phone use by drivers, Texoma's Homepage

Garland: Baylor will not be a 'sanctuary campus,' Waco Tribune-Herald

Demonstrations press Cruz to listen to constituents, The Houston Chronicle ($)

Beto O'Rourke is a Mexico-loving liberal in Texas. Can he really beat Ted Cruz?The Washington Post ($)

Hundreds plan to protest bathroom bill at 'queer dance freakout' outside Texas governor's mansion, The Dallas Morning News ($)

For your calendar 

Join us in person or online Thursday for a conversation with state Rep. John Zerwas, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. 

Quote to note

"From solo entrepreneurs, to mom-and-pop storefronts and small tech start-ups, to the multi-national corporations that call the Lone Star State home, there is a belief you can succeed here. The Texas jobs record proves it, almost singlehandedly pulling the nation out of recession after the financial collapse."

— Bill Hammond of Texans for Free Enterprise about bringing rate competition to title insurance in Texas via TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Cassi Pollock. If you have feedback or questions, please email We're a nonprofit newsroom, and count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.

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