EDUCATION: Public Education

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 Texas 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 State Board of Education 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.

Across Texas, growing clusters of unvaccinated children

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Georgia Moore, front left, was diagnosed with leukemia, and had to undergo chemotherapy that affected her immune system. She had to stay home from school because her parents worried unvaccinated kids might make her sick.
Georgia Moore, front left, was diagnosed with leukemia, and had to undergo chemotherapy that affected her immune system. She had to stay home from school because her parents worried unvaccinated kids might make her sick.

Even though statewide levels of vaccinations remain high, public health officials are increasingly worried about the geographic areas where parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children. 

Texas foster youth struggle to get college degrees

Briana Dovi, who graduated from University of Texas at Arlington, is one of the few foster youths in Texas that has taken advantage of the free tuition waiver provided by the state.
Briana Dovi, who graduated from University of Texas at Arlington, is one of the few foster youths in Texas that has taken advantage of the free tuition waiver provided by the state.

Although Texas offers free tuition waivers and other benefits to ease foster youths' transition to higher education, the number of students using the resources has declined.

Houston schools measure lags, Austin transit bond leads

As the doors open at 7 a.m. on Election Day 2016, people stream into the George Washington Carver Library in Austin, Texas to cast their vote.
As the doors open at 7 a.m. on Election Day 2016, people stream into the George Washington Carver Library in Austin, Texas to cast their vote.

Harris County elected a Democratic district attorney, Houston ISD voters thumbed their noses at the Texas school finance system and Austin voters backed a $720 million transportation bond.

GOP operative John Colyandro to lead "school choice" lobbying group

Executive director of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute and the Texas Conservative Coalition, John Colyandro gives testimony during a September 13, 2016 Select Committee on State & Federal Power & Responsibility
Executive director of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute and the Texas Conservative Coalition, John Colyandro gives testimony during a September 13, 2016 Select Committee on State & Federal Power & Responsibility

Longtime GOP political operative John Colyandro has been tapped to head a new organization that will aggressively push Texas lawmakers to approve education savings accounts.

 

Teaching to the sext: How Texas educators tackle a NSFW election

Ronny Risinger teaches an AP government class at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy (LASA) in Austin, Texas on November 2, 2016. Lillian Hotz sits in the front row of his class.
Ronny Risinger teaches an AP government class at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy (LASA) in Austin, Texas on November 2, 2016. Lillian Hotz sits in the front row of his class.

Texas teachers are finding plenty of lessons for students in the 2016 presidential election, but discussing some of the racier news requires a careful approach. 

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