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

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.

Bills would continue graduation committees for students who failed STAAR

State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston.
State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston.

State Sen. Kel Seliger and state Rep. Dan Huberty have filed bills that would keep individual graduation committees, which allow students to graduate even if they fail required exams. The law creating these committees will expire in September.

School finance, testing fiasco topped 2016 education news

Protesters at a press conference held by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in May, 2016 calling on Fort Worth Independent School District Superintendent Kent Scribner to resign over the district's bathroom guidelines for transgender students.
Protesters at a press conference held by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in May, 2016 calling on Fort Worth Independent School District Superintendent Kent Scribner to resign over the district's bathroom guidelines for transgender students.

School districts lost a court case that could have forced the state to reform its school finance system, and federal officials toured Texas to investigate claims that special education services were arbitrarily capped. 

Texas electors cast 36 votes for Trump, 1 for Kasich and 1 for Ron Paul

Elector Christopher Suprun, who said he will vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich instead of Donald Trump, is sworn in at the Texas Capitol as a member of the Electoral College on December 19, 2016.
Elector Christopher Suprun, who said he will vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich instead of Donald Trump, is sworn in at the Texas Capitol as a member of the Electoral College on December 19, 2016.

All but two of Texas' 38 electors voted Monday to officially put Donald Trump in the White House, with one elector casting a ballot for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and another voting for a fellow Texan, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.

South Texans claim school districts withheld 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.

Rio Grande Valley parents and educators told federal and state officials Tuesday that school districts lacked knowledge and resources to get students special education services that comply with federal law.

Feds, TEA to tour Texas for public comment on special ed

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath discusses public education issues with Tribune CEO Evan Smith at the Austin Club in Austin, Texas on May 17, 2016.
Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath discusses public education issues with Tribune CEO Evan Smith at the Austin Club in Austin, Texas on May 17, 2016.

U.S. Department of Education and Texas Education Agency officials will hit five Texas cities to ask the public about their experience with special education, part of an ongoing investigation of the state's services.