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

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.

Trump administration could boost voucher push

Donald Trump rallies a crowd of veterans at Drake University on Jan. 28, 2016, while other Republican presidential candidates hold a final Des Moines debate prior to the Iowa caucuses.
Donald Trump rallies a crowd of veterans at Drake University on Jan. 28, 2016, while other Republican presidential candidates hold a final Des Moines debate prior to the Iowa caucuses.

A Trump administration may put wind in the sails of Texas lawmakers pushing for "school choice," allowing parents to use taxpayer money to send their children to charter, private and religious schools. 

State education board focuses again on teaching of evolution

State Board of Education Chair Barbara Cargill questions textbook publishers on the contents of their publications at a meeting in Austin on Monday, October 20, 2014.
State Board of Education Chair Barbara Cargill questions textbook publishers on the contents of their publications at a meeting in Austin on Monday, October 20, 2014.

Language challenging evolution was removed from high school biology standards because it seemed too difficult for students to analyze and evaluate, the state education board was told Wednesday.

Texas education board rejects Mexican-American studies textbook

Carolina Hernandez, a student in the Houston ISD, spoke during a news conference at the Texas Education Agency on Nov. 15, 2016, about a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook that educators and activists have criticized. As Hernandez spoke, she glanced at a box holding 15,000 petitions against the textbook.
Carolina Hernandez, a student in the Houston ISD, spoke during a news conference at the Texas Education Agency on Nov. 15, 2016, about a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook that educators and activists have criticized. As Hernandez spoke, she glanced at a box holding 15,000 petitions against the textbook.

In a 14-0 vote, the Texas State Board of Education rejected the adoption of a controversial Mexican-American studies textbook.

State Board of Education set to vote on Mexican-American studies book

State Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, speaks during a press conference at the Texas Education Agency on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 regarding a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook that educators and activists are calling racist. The advocacy group, Texas Freedom Network, along with educators, and activists are asking the State Board of Education to reject the Mexican American heritage textbook.
State Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, speaks during a press conference at the Texas Education Agency on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 regarding a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook that educators and activists are calling racist. The advocacy group, Texas Freedom Network, along with educators, and activists are asking the State Board of Education to reject the Mexican American heritage textbook.

The State Board of Education will vote this week on whether to accept a Mexican-American studies textbook opponents have called racist and inaccurate.