Topic: Higher Education

Gubernatorial Candidate Wendy Davis Lays Out More of Her Proactive Education Agenda

Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator from Fort Worth who seems to be gaining momentum in the race for governor, laid out more of her education platform at an appearance Wednesday in the Rio Grande Valley.  In a roundtable discussion with area students at the Texas State Technical College campus in Harlingen, she focused on promoting pathways to education beyond...

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“Outcomes-Based” Funding–NCLB for Higher Education?

In the name of “college affordability and value,” the U.S. Department of Education is actively pushing a plan to develop outcomes-based ratings for U.S. colleges and universities by 2015. A further goal is to tie consequences—i.e., federal funding—to outcomes by 2018. A recent announcement from USDE explains:  “As part of the proposal to pay colleges and students for performance, the...

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Of Misleading Comparisons and False Narratives—Debunking the “Skills Gap”

A new international survey of adult skills purports to show that American workers are slipping behind those in other industrial countries. The "Skills Outlook 2013" report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development tells us that American adults are at best only average performers, badly outclassed by those in Japan and other nations. But what the report really shows,...

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Wondering About ACT Test Results Touted by Texas Education Agency

The Texas Education Agency was proud to announce this week that Texas students taking the ACT college-admission test did better than ever this year. Commissioner of Education Michael Williams said not only the scores for all students combined but also those for white, Hispanic/Latino, and African-American subgroups were at all-time highs, matching or exceeding nationwide averages. The data show “we...

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Health Coverage for Adjunct Faculty Wins Final Passage

We are pleased to report the final passage on Friday afternoon of HB 2127, the bill by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) and Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) that would expand eligibility of adjunct faculty at public institutions of higher education to buy into the state Employees Retirement System health plan. The bill still needs the governor’s sign-off to become law. Thanks...

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Adjunct Health Coverage Advances in Senate

HB 2127 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), a bill to expand access to state health coverage for adjunct faculty at institutions of higher education, was passed by the Senate State Affairs Committee today without amendment on a bipartisan vote, with only one dissent (by Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville). The bill now needs to be placed on the agenda for the...

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Send New Letters on Nurse-Staffing Notification, Adjunct Health Coverage

You can help schoolchildren and their parents by sending a letter in support of SB 418 by Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), a bill to require notice to parents when their child’s school does not have full-time nurse staffing. Parents deserve to know; it’s a health and safety issue, pure and simple. If they don’t know of nurse-staffing gaps, they cannot...

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Update on Status of Major Issues in Legislature with Two Weeks Left to Go

Budget Talks:  Senate and House negotiating teams will meet Monday morning, May 13, to discuss recommendations for parts of the overall state budget, but health and education items are not on the agenda for this formal meeting. There has been little apparent progress in either the House or Senate toward restoring additional education funding so that cuts will not continue...

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House Passes Expansion of Health-Insurance Access for Adjunct College Faculty

HB 2127 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) would expand access to state health insurance for adjunct college faculty, including adjunct librarians. The bill breezed to passage on the House floor Friday by voice vote on second reading. It still must win final passage on third reading, presumably when the House meets again on Saturday, May 4. The Senate companion to...

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Part-Time Faculty at Community Colleges Make Good Case for Health Coverage

Currently some adjunct faculty members are able to buy into their college’s employee health-care plan—ERS HealthSelect for community-college employees. The member pays the full premium with no sharing by the state. To be eligible, a faculty member must (1) have taught at least one course in each of the six previous regular semesters and (2) be assigned a teaching load...

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Texas AFT Testifies on Restoring, Enhancing State Funding for Higher Ed, Health Care

Texas AFT spokesmen were busy testifying at budget hearings today at the state capitol. Ted Melina Raab spoke out in support of restored and enhanced funding for higher-education employees’ group health insurance and restored educational-aide scholarships, while Dwight Harris testified in favor of expanded health benefits for Texas children and their families. Both Melina Raab and Harris stressed the remarkable...

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