Topic: Resources

Texas Ranks an Abysmal 44th in Child Health and Well-Being, Annual Study Finds

Texas ranks 44th among the states in overall child health and well-being, according to data released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in its 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The data book examines how children are doing in four key domains—economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. "Texas accounts for one of every 11 kids in this country,"...

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TRS-Care Funding, Pension Study Among TRS Board Topics

The trustees of the Texas Teacher Retirement System agreed on July 20 to limit their initial base-line request for state funding for the TRS-Care program for retired school employees to a level that actually falls below the amount required in state statute. By limiting their formal legislative appropriation request for the second year of the coming biennium to half of...

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State Board of Education: Simmering Issues

The fractious State Board of Education generally kept its controversies below the boiling point this week, but there were signs of simmering discontent with key aspects of state education policy. A prime example:  Board members debated and then reaffirmed their stance that implementation of new state curriculum standards should be held up until necessary instructional materials are funded and provided....

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Study Shows Poor Outcomes for Students in Virtual Schools

A new national study reinforces serious questions that have been raised in other recent reports about the viability of virtual schools as a means to improve student achievement. The new report by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado shows that students at K12 Inc., the nation's largest virtual-school company, are falling further behind in reading...

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State Senate Education Committee Hears Supportive Testimony on Regional Service Centers

Supportive Testimony on Regional Service Centers:  Last year the Texas legislature targeted regional education service centers for significant cuts in state funding. The Senate Education Committee in particular questioned the value of services provided by the 20 regional centers, even though the centers are relied on by many districts--especially smaller rural districts--for training and other specialized resources they cannot afford...

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State’s Approach to Revenue and Budget Needs Reform, Says New Independent Study

Reforming State’s Revenue/Budget Practices Proposed: An independent national group called the State Budget Crisis Task Force has come out with a critique of the way Texas and other states under study deal with tax and budget matters. Among the especially significant proposals from the task force, as noted by our friends at the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities are...

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Report looks at what makes high-poverty schools effective

A new Education Trust report out this week validates what every teacher knows is necessary to strengthen public schools and the teaching profession, says AFT President Randi Weingarten. "Building a culture of collaboration and shared responsibility among teachers, principals and administrators; focusing on continuous professional development for teachers; and ensuring teachers have the time, tools and trust they need to...

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Value Added or Values Misplaced?

Despite a broad scholarly consensus counseling against reliance on so-called "value-added" calculations for high-stakes employment decisions, a number of states and school districts around the nation have plunged headlong into the use of such measures to evaluate, reward, and punish teachers. One of those school districts is Houston ISD, where the Houston Federation of Teachers, Texas AFT's teacher affiliate in...

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Last Call for Responses to Texas AFT Spring Survey on 2012-2013 Budget-Cut Impacts

Last fall more than 3,500 individuals responded to a Texas AFT survey on the impact of state budget cuts on their schools.  The survey received widespread media coverage and helped continue the dialogue about the harmful effects of $5.4 billion in cuts to public education.  Now’s your chance to weigh in again with a follow-up survey that gauges planned cuts...

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Sen. Lucio’s Town Hall in Harlingen Spotlights Need for Change at Capitol

The harmful impacts of the 2011 state legislative session on public education do not sit well with Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., and he is determined to hold the legislature to account for what it did and to try to fix it in the 2013 session.  Hence the Brownsville Democrat has been holding a series of town halls across his Rio...

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