TEA offers to waive required service days for hurricane-hit districts; House speaker looks to “prevent unintended punitive consequences” of accountability system

TEA offers to waive required service days for hurricane-hit districts, but no change in exam schedule or test-based ratings:   Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath has delivered good news and bad news to hurricane-impacted school districts and their teachers this week. On Tuesday in a formal letter to superintendents Morath announced that waivers of the 187-day […]

House committee hears testimony on vouchers, performance pay, classroom supply reimbursement; AND TRS benefit news

TRS Benefit Bills Get Final House Okay:  Wednesday morning the House gave final approval to two good bills on TRS benefits. The measures now face an uncertain fate in the Texas Senate, which has been less than welcoming of House initiatives for the benefit of school employees. HB 20 by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), passed […]

Federal court ruling deals another mammoth blow to the misuse of standardized testing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2017 CONTACT:  Rob D’Amico, 512-627-1343 Houston ISD’s use of ‘black box’ system for evaluating teachers compared to a ‘house of cards’ Decision follows another legal action nixing state rules on using test scores for teacher evaluations A Thursday ruling in the federal lawsuit filed by the Houston Federation of Teachers […]

Texas AFT Wins Another Major Victory Against Misuse of “Value-Added” in Teacher Appraisal

We are pleased to report another big win in the ongoing battle against the high-stakes misuse of “value-added” methodologies in teacher evaluations. Here’s our press release from earlier today announcing this major new development in federal district court in Houston: A Thursday ruling in the federal lawsuit filed by the Houston Federation of Teachers against […]

Key Lawsuit Win on Teacher Evaluations; News on Vouchers, School Nurses and Retiree Health Care

Nurse-Staffing Notification, Community Schools, Employee Decision-Making, Accountability Bills Gain Ground:  HB 1847 by Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), a good bill requiring parents to be notified when their child’s school does not have a school nurse available throughout the school day, won quick, unanimous approval in the House Public Education Committee yesterday. Strong testimony by school […]

Texas AFT reaches lawsuit settlement with TEA Commissioner Mike Morath on teacher evaluation requirements

Now, as part of a negotiated settlement to the Texas AFT lawsuit, the commissioner has agreed to strike from state rules any reference to specific measures of student performance, including so-called “value-added data based on student state assessment results.”

Voters on Tuesday Passed Key Education and Labor Ballot Measures

Besides making a host of personnel decisions for every office from president to school board at the polls on Tuesday, voters also passed a remarkable array of pro-public-education and pro-worker ballot measures across the country and here in Texas. The biggest headline story nationally was the defeat of a charter-expansion referendum in Massachusetts. This hard-fought […]

The Fight against Testing Inertia on the State Level

The Texas Next Generation Commission on Assessments and Accountability is expected to hold its final meeting on recommendations for changes in the use of standardized testing in Austin tomorrow. The recently published draft of their final report to the Legislature falls short of the broad challenge to the misuses of standardized testing that many educators, […]

Out-of-State Charter Chain’s Bid for Metroplex Campus Rejected

The Athlos charter chain, based in Idaho, has once again seen its bid for a Metroplex charter site vetoed by the State Board of Education, despite initial approval by the commissioner of education. SBOE members voted 7 to 6 against the Athlos proposal after members in the majority voiced ongoing concerns about the Athlos model […]

SBOE Deals with Charter Expansion, Testing

The 15-member elected State Board of Education meets in Austin this week to consider a lengthy agenda that includes charter expansion and an ongoing review of the validity and reliability of standardized state tests used to measure student and school performance. Commissioner of Education Mike Morath has given preliminary approval to three charter applications, including […]