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Texas Legislature convenes for third Special Session

Senator Jose Menendez with gray jacket and purple tie speaking on Senate floor

Photo: Sen. José Menéndez speaks on the Senate floor Wednesday. On Monday, the Texas Legislature convened for a third special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott to address redistricting, ban vaccine mandates, restrict transgender athletes, appropriate federal stimulus money, and outlaw certain tethering of dogs in unsafe conditions. On Wednesday, just two weeks after his initial announcement of the special...

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Amendments to Texas Educators’ Code of Ethics

December 26 is the effective date of recent amendments by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) to the Educators’ Code of Ethics addressing electronic communication between educators and students, among other topics. SBEC has the power to determine that a violation of the code of ethics has occurred and...

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TRS Experiments Need Review Before Legislative Extension or Expansion

Texas Teacher Retirement System trustees today signed off on the system's legislative wish list for the 2011 session, prominently including proposals to extend TRS authority to hire outside, private investment managers and to invest in futures, options, and similar derivative financial products. Texas AFT legislative spokesman Ted Melina Raab testified...

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Legislators, Opinion Leaders Preview Agendas for 2011

At this week's meeting of the Texas Education Reform Foundation in Austin, the roster of legislators on hand to discuss the upcoming session reflected the strong partisan tilt in Texas politics confirmed by the November election. Every legislator heard from was a Republican. To varying degrees, all bowed in their...

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TRS Pension Fund Shows Big Gains, But Benefit Improvements Still Lag

The Texas Teacher Retirement System’s pension fund has made big gains over the past year. As of September 30, the fund had recorded a gain of more than 12 percent—well above the annual target of 8 percent called for by TRS actuarial consultants, and better than the rate of return...

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Lieutenant Governor, Legislators Discuss Extent of Education Cuts

At a legislative briefing sponsored by the Texas Education Reformation Foundation today, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said he was "more optimistic than a lot of people" about the budget situation for the 2012-2013 biennium. He cited accelerating gains in sales-tax revenue over the last three months as one cause for...

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Senate Education Committee’s Interim Report: Accountability and More

The last couple of Hotlines have laid out many of the recommendations emanating from the Texas Senate Education Committee in an interim report to the 2011 legislature issued last week. You can see the full report at this site:  http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/commit/c530/c530.InterimReport81.pdf. More of the committee’s recommendations are worth noting here. Under...

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Senate Education Committee’s Recommendations: More Gleanings

The previous Hotline described notable committee recommendations, in an interim report intended to guide legislative action in 2011, on the topics of charter schools, teacher evaluation, modification of class-size limits, and educator contracts. Additional topics addressed include: --Teacher pay:  The committee’s interim report calls for providing “flexibility to school districts...

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Billionaire Bill Gates versus Education Historian Diane Ravitch

In a recent magazine article, billionaire Bill Gates, who has used grants from his philanthropic foundation to assume a key role in steering educational policy across the nation, reproaches education historian Diane Ravitch for saying his version of education reform is hurting America’s schools. Unfortunately for Gates, Ravitch has now...

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Coming Up in Congress—A Vote on the DREAM Act

As early as Friday, Congress may vote on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, bipartisan legislation that would ensure thousands of immigrant children who have grown up in the United States can get the post-secondary education they need to contribute to society.  Under the DREAM Act,...

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