Public education

 Jacob Villanueva

Dropout problem drags Texas down

“I represent a district that has 80 percent renters, 70 percent of people speaking a first language other than English, where there’s a high school with 42 languages and 40 percent turnover of the student body every year — now tell me how you plan to calculate the dropout rate,” Rep. Scott Hochberg said. “I will stipulate that it’s too big — let’s just start there. I wish we fought over solutions as much as we fight over the number.”

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 Photo courtesy of the Howson family

Disabled students restrained, injured in public schools

Texas educators routinely pin down students with disabilities to control them, according to state data. Disability rights advocates say the restraints point to a crisis in special education, and that teachers are resorting to physical violence because they aren't properly trained.

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TribBlog: Permanent School Fund Rebounds. But Will Schools Benefit?

The state’s permanent school fund, which spins off money for textbooks and the like each year, has recaptured billions of dollars after a frightening downward spiral this spring. Trouble is, the increase in the fund may produce no increase at all in education spending. The real beneficiaries of the fund often are the state legislature and its priorities outside education.

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 Caleb Bryant Miller

Reluctantly out in front

Most elected officials greet a chairmanship with some excitement. Gail Lowe, the Lampasas Republican who recently became the chair of the State Board of Education, is approaching her new title with some apprehension.

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