State House and Senate Differ on Changes Needed in A-F Rating System for Schools

After 2 a.m. Thursday morning the Texas Senate produced a bill tweaking but not fundamentally fixing the A-F  rating system for public schools slated for its first real use in the coming school year. The A-F grades for schools have been highly controversial in the minority of states where they have been adopted, and the […]

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 […]

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.”

Special Education survey reveals yet another example of how Texas is underfunding services to our most vulnerable children.

A Texas AFT statewide survey of Texas educators and parents highlights the barriers to Special Education services that many schoolchildren confront because school districts often lack the resources for evaluating and providing these students with the necessary educational services to which they are entitled by law.

USDOE Schedules Listening Sessions on Concerns over Special Education Services

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education has scheduled several “Listening Sessions” in Texas next week to “provide members of the public an opportunity to comment on the timely identification and evaluation of students with disabilities, as well as the delivery of special education and related services to all eligible children.” The move […]

Your Input Needed to Identify Issues Surrounding Special Education Services

Is the underidentifying of students with special needs a problem in your school district? What are some of the reasons that students have been denied special education evaluations and/or services? These are just two of the key questions in a survey we are launching today on special education services. You can take the survey here. […]

We Repeat: Tell TEA We Need a Real Turn Away from Test-and-Punish Accountability

Bear with us—we want to make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to tell the Texas Education Agency you should have real input on our state’s post-NCLB options to scale back high-stakes testing, not just an ill-designed online survey. See our message from Monday, repeated below, and note that you only have until Friday, […]

Tell TEA You Want Meaningful Input on Post-NCLB Testing, Not an Ill-Designed Online Survey

The more we look at the Texas Education Agency’s online survey inviting comment on how the state should implement new testing flexibility offered by federal law, the less satisfied we are that the survey will produce anything meaningful. Let us explain and then recommend something you can do about it. First, the background:  The new […]

Have Your Say on Changes Needed in Testing and Accountability

The new federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act—dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—allows states the freedom to make a sharp turn away from the test-and-punish model of accountability promoted by the discredited No Child Left Behind Act. But in many states educators are finding state policy leaders reluctant to use their newfound freedom to […]