Topic: Accountability System

Educator Effectiveness and Quality—Project Will Create Metric to Score Teachers’ Ed-Prep Programs

A stakeholder meeting this week in Austin provided an update on a significant initiative under way in Texas to devise a new state measure of educator effectiveness. The Project on Educator Effectiveness and Quality, conducted under a contract with the Texas Education Agency by scholars at the University of Texas, is designed to "develop a metric that measures a teacher's...

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Not Just in Texas: Responding to the Assault on Public Education

Education historian Diane Ravitch recently took stock of the current situation in American education and found reason for hope in spite of what she termed "an unending assault" on the nation's public schools and the educators who work in them. Her appraisal is that across the nation, not just in Texas, we face a "full-fledged, well-funded effort to replace public...

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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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Austin Follies, Part Two: New Instructional-Materials Scheme Will Delay Textbooks

State lawmakers have been busy enacting what they have touted as major improvements in the system for disseminating instructional materials to school districts. But the transition to the new system apparently will mean a delay in the delivery of new textbooks until weeks after the start of the 2011-2012 school year. The expected delay means students and teachers will lack...

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Stopped Dead: Attack on Class-Size Caps, Pay Standards, Contract Rights

Congratulations to all of you who have participated in our session-long fight against bills to gut class-size caps, pay guarantees, and contract safeguards in state law. We are still combing and re-combing through the last few House-Senate conference reports on bills still to be finally approved, but it appears that all attempts to undermine these laws and thereby do lasting...

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Charter Takeover of Neighborhood Schools Defeated

On Tuesday morning a valid point of order by Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, Democrat of San Antonio, forced the withdrawal of legislation that would have authorized private charter operators to take over neighborhood public schools. Though scaled down to affect only Bexar County (San Antonio area), this proposal by Rep. Mike Villarreal, also a San Antonio Democrat, would have established...

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Hitchhiker Bills Start Catching Rides at State Capitol, With Deadlines Coming

On Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor, a House bill on instructional materials was commandeered to carry numerous amendments bearing pieces of other bills that have been unable to pass on their own merits. One such amendment by Sen. Dan Patrick added to HB 6 a short and ugly version of SB 4, the bill on teacher evaluation opposed by...

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After Surprise Attack, Resistance Mounts to Charter Conversion of Neighborhood Schools

On Saturday Rep. Mike Villarreal, Democrat of San Antonio, thought he could bypass resistance to his proposal to convert neighborhood campuses into charter schools.  Just one day after assuring Texas AFT and others that he would not offer such an amendment to SB 738, on Saturday afternoon he did exactly that, without notice of his change of heart. By Monday...

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Battle Stations! Private-School Vouchers Plus Attacks on Class-Size Caps, Pay Standards, and Contract Safeguards Are on House Agenda Tomorrow—Call Your State Rep!

We face at least two major battles on the House floor tomorrow. Battle number one—class size, salaries, contracts: The most comprehensively bad bill of the current state legislative session, HB 400, may have died last Thursday as a freestanding bill, but it is being resurrected tomorrow (Wednesday, May 18) as a House floor amendment to each of two broad budget-related...

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Test-Driven Accountability: Changes Needed

Texas AFT testified today in the Texas Senate on HB 500, a bill by Rep. Rob Eissler, Republican of The Woodlands, that would make some modest changes in the state’s test-driven accountability system. The bill would scale down the number of end-of-course exams a student would have to pass in order to graduate from high school under the new State...

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“Mandate Relief” at the Expense of Students and Teachers—Status Report

Editor's note: HB 400 was delayed to Tuesday, May 10, 9:30 a.m., just after this item was published. Twice now HB 400 has been knocked off the House floor agenda by valid procedural objections upheld by the Speaker of the House. This bill by Rep. Rob Eissler, Republican of The Woodlands, would permanently gut class-size caps, cut teacher pay, and...

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