Topic: SBOE

State Board of Education Notes—Testing, Testing

The State Board of Education meetings in Austin last week featured a noteworthy discussion relating to the new testing regime for state accountability, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).  Board member Thomas Ratliff, Republican of Mount Pleasant, aired a proposal to restore some local control over the weight given in grading to state-mandated end-of-course exams, which are...

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Constitutional Change on the November Ballot: Permanent School Fund

Proposition 6 on the November 8, 2011, ballot is a state constitutional amendment that would make more funding available for public schools in the short run—at the cost of depositing less money in the Permanent School Fund, the state’s endowment for public education, and earning less investment income in the long run. The ballot proposition is based on House Joint...

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SBOE Member Criticizes Excessive Testing

Thomas Ratliff, a Republican State Board of Education member from Mount Pleasant, is getting media attention statewide with a new opinion piece attacking excessive standardized testing. His comments are worth quoting: “Did you know that this year our public schools will spend almost one out of every five days conducting tests for the state of Texas? Yes, that’s right.  An...

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SBOE Members Weigh Charter Applications, Other Issues

Today the State Board of Education tentatively approved eight new applicants for state contracts to operate charter schools. Three were approved to set up operations in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, three in Houston, and one apiece in Mission and Austin. The eight were the survivors of a competition that started with 32 applications screened by review committees; 15 applicants qualified...

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SBOE Meeting With New Charter-School Applicants: Questions Worth Asking

On Tuesday, August 30, a committee of the State Board of Education will hold interviews with eight applicants for state charters to open new charter-school operations. Questions have been raised by education activists and freedom-of-information experts regarding the legal sufficiency of the published notice of the subject matter of this meeting. The notice published by the Texas Education Agency does...

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Be Forewarned: Schools May Have Done Better in 2011, Yet Ratings May Drop

State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff, Republican of Mount Pleasant, has come out with a timely warning of what to expect from state accountability ratings for 2011 due out later this month. Ratliff is a moderate politically, but he is quite fired up about the misleading nature of the Texas accountability system, for reasons that he shares in the...

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Flawed Social-Studies Standards Earn a “D” in National Study

A conservative-leaning think tank has come out with a scathing report on the quality of the new social-studies standards adopted amidst much controversy last year by the State Board of Education. (Texas AFT strongly opposed these social-studies standards.) The Thomas B. Fordham Institute this week denounced the new Texas curriculum guidelines as a “politicized distortion of history offering misrepresentations at...

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Changes May Be On the Way at the State Board of Education

The State Board of Education meets next week in Austin with a number of new members likely to give deliberations a somewhat more moderate cast. One of them, Thomas Ratliff of Mount Pleasant, knocked out one of the leaders of the extreme-right faction on the Board in a hard-fought Republican primary last year. Another, Democrat Michael Soto of San Antonio,...

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Revised Educators’ Code of Ethics Gets a Pass at State Board of Education—Over Objections of Educators

Over the objections of Texas educators, the State Board of Education today allowed a problematic revision of the educators’ code of ethics to take effect. Texas AFT and other statewide educator organizations took a stand against the revision emanating from the separate State Board for Educator Certification, because of changes that in key respects left educators without fair notice of...

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Texas AFT Testifies on Proposed Changes in Educators’ Code of Ethics

At a committee hearing of the State Board of Education today in Austin, Texas AFT laid out the reasons why the State Board should reject a proposed revision of the professional educators’ code of ethics. Our testimony elicited a curious, three-part reaction. On the one hand, some Board members acknowledged that there are indeed problems with the ethics-code revision, which...

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