Aliyya Swaby

Aliyya Swaby started as the public education reporter in October 2016. She came to the Tribune from the hyperlocal nonprofit New Haven Independent, where she covered education, zoning and transit for two years. After graduating from Yale University in 2013, she spent a year freelance reporting in Panama on social issues affecting black Panamanian communities. A native New Yorker, Aliyya misses public transportation but is thrilled by the lack of snow.

Recent Contributions

Unlikely allies: some homeschoolers fighting to kill school choice bill

School board member Corinne French and homeschooling advocate Nicki Truesdell were surprised to find themselves on the same side of the debate around private school choice in Texas.
School board member Corinne French and homeschooling advocate Nicki Truesdell were surprised to find themselves on the same side of the debate around private school choice in Texas.

Rural conservatives and homeschoolers are joining forces with public education advocates against Senate Bill 3, which pushes private school choice. Their state senators are not all on the same page.

House budget proposal would defund Gov. Abbott's pre-K program

Gov. Greg Abbott signs House Bill 4, which adds funding for pre-kindergarten, into law at the Anita Uphaus Early Childhood Center in Austin on May 28, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott signs House Bill 4, which adds funding for pre-kindergarten, into law at the Anita Uphaus Early Childhood Center in Austin on May 28, 2015.

The House has proposed cutting all funding for a pre-K grant program that Gov. Greg Abbott has discussed as a priority this legislative session — setting the stage for a battle in the Legislature.

Texas parents: Help us understand your school choices

Students enter a classroom one one of the 11 Houston-area campuses of Yes Prep, a public charter school system serving 7,000 low-income students.
Students enter a classroom one one of the 11 Houston-area campuses of Yes Prep, a public charter school system serving 7,000 low-income students.

As we examine school choice proposals before the Legislature, The Texas Tribune wants to hear directly from families who would be affected by changing state and national policies. 

In preliminary vote, State Board of Education keeps controversial evolution standards

State Board of Education member Barbara Cargill attends a meeting of the board on Feb. 1, 2017 in Austin.
State Board of Education member Barbara Cargill attends a meeting of the board on Feb. 1, 2017 in Austin.

A day after hearing from scientists begging them to remove controversial language from science standards that some say opens the door to creationism, State Board of Education members took a preliminary vote Wednesday to do the opposite.

State Board of Education to debate language in state standards on evolution

State Board of Education members work their way through proposed revisions to social studies textbooks at a meeting with publishers in Austin on Monday, October 20, 2014.
State Board of Education members work their way through proposed revisions to social studies textbooks at a meeting with publishers in Austin on Monday, October 20, 2014.

State Board of Education members will hear public testimony Tuesday on science curriculum standards that teach students to discredit evolution. They will discuss potential amendments to the standards Wednesday.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick calls for House, Senate vote on school choice this session

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaks during a rally at the Capitol for school choice January 24, 2017. Both Gov. Greg Abbott and Patrick spoke in favor of expanding school choice options. Students, educators, activists and parents marched on the south lawn to show their support for expanding school choice options during National School Choice Week.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaks during a rally at the Capitol for school choice January 24, 2017. Both Gov. Greg Abbott and Patrick spoke in favor of expanding school choice options. Students, educators, activists and parents marched on the south lawn to show their support for expanding school choice options during National School Choice Week.

At a "National School Choice Week" rally Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott urged the Legislature to take a vote on school choice legislation this session.

Federal officials plan second round of investigation on Texas special ed

Vanessa Tijerina addresses a U.S. Department of Education panel about her 13-year-old special needs child on Dec. 13, 2016, in Edinburg, Texas. Federal education officials toured Texas to hear community members' experiences with special education, as part of an investigation into whether Texas is capping services for students with disabilities.
Vanessa Tijerina addresses a U.S. Department of Education panel about her 13-year-old special needs child on Dec. 13, 2016, in Edinburg, Texas. Federal education officials toured Texas to hear community members' experiences with special education, as part of an investigation into whether Texas is capping services for students with disabilities.

Continuing its investigation into whether Texas capped special education services, federal officials will visit Texas districts and schools the week of Feb. 27.

Expecting spike in special ed students, advocates push for better services

Jean Gearhart gives a tearful statement with her husband Troy Gearhart to the panel about her special needs child. U.S. Department of Education officials held a meeting in Edinburg on their tour of Texas to hear community members' experiences with special education.
Jean Gearhart gives a tearful statement with her husband Troy Gearhart to the panel about her special needs child. U.S. Department of Education officials held a meeting in Edinburg on their tour of Texas to hear community members' experiences with special education.

Texas is expected to increase the number of public school students receiving special education services, and disability rights advocates are aiming to improve the overall quality of those services.