Topic: Resources

Impact of State Budget Cuts—Class Sizes Ballooning, Local Tax Rates Headed Back to the Max; Help Us Tell the Story by Filling Out Our Survey

While the legislative perpetrators of $5.4 billion in state budget cuts for Texas public education try to sell the myth that there were no cuts at all enacted this year, the reality of those cuts is hitting home in school districts and classrooms across Texas. In grades K-4, state class-size limits of 22 pupils per teacher in each classroom have...

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Help Document the Impact of State Education Cuts: Take Texas AFT Survey Online

Help us gauge and chronicle the impact of $5.4 billion in state education cuts by  taking a short online survey.  Texas AFT wants to know how these cuts already are affecting the schoolchildren, parents, teachers, other school employees, and neighborhood schools in your community.  We intend to share this information far and wide with lawmakers, the media, and everyone concerned...

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Paraprofessionals, Have Your Say: Working With Students With Disabililties

A new question has been posted this week on the “AFT Voices” Web site, specifically directed to paraprofessionals who deal with students with disabilities. Here’s the question:  “What is the most pressing issue facing paraprofessionals who work with students with disabilities?”  You can have your say by leaving a comment at this site:  http://www.aft.org/voices/singlequestion.cfm?qid=112. To see all the prior questions...

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Sizing Up a Proposed Federal Teacher-Prep Initiative

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education out today calls for greater accountability on the part of teacher-preparation programs and for grant programs targeted to increase diversity within the teaching corps and to aid states in establishing rigorous certification systems. The American Federation of Teachers said today that the feds are right to make improvements in teacher preparation...

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Poverty Data Show Rising Need for Community Supports for Student Success

A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau showed a sharp increase of 2.6 million in the number of Americans living below the poverty line ($22,314 for a family of four).  A total of 46.2 million Americans were in poverty in 2010—15.1 percent of the U.S. population. The percentage is even higher among children—22 percent living in poverty. That’s 16.4...

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U.S. Higher Education: High Quality Undercut by Disinvestment

Sometimes it seems as if the powers that be are committed to a policy of disinvestment in higher education.  Here in Texas we have just entered a new two-year budget period in which the Texas legislature and governor have eliminated 43,000 college scholarships from the main state program of college grants that are intended to make higher education affordable for...

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National AFT Leader, in Austin on Back-to-School Tour, Spotlights Teachers and Bus Drivers “Making A Difference Every Day”

AFT Executive Vice President Lorretta Johnson was in Austin on September 7, where she visited with drivers at a school bus barn and toured an elementary school where an innovative partnership involving teachers, administrators, and the business community supports the efforts of successful educators who are helping to raise student academic achievement. Johnson's visit to Austin was part of the...

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Teacher Appreciation: Admired Yet Under-Appreciated

A private foundation’s new survey on public regard for teachers in America shows that teachers are held in high esteem indeed, notwithstanding what you might suppose when you see all the teacher-bashing stories carried in the mass media. We spotted a report on this new national survey by our friends at the AFL-CIO and decided it deserved your notice. The...

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Topics the Legislature Should Address in Interim Studies Before Next Session

One of the powers of the Speaker of the House and the lieutenant governor, who presides over the Texas Senate, is to direct committees of their respective chambers to conduct interim studies of particular topics. They generally make at least a show of consulting their committee chairs and members in the process of coming up with the so-called interim “charges”...

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Official Report: New Texas Charter Schools Found Wanting

The charter-school lobby can’t be happy about the latest official analysis and evaluation of charter schools’ performance prepared by the independent Texas Center for Educational Research for the Texas Education Agency. The new TCER study of new charter schools reaches sobering conclusions about the performance of Texas charter campuses. The study, entitled “Evaluation of New Texas Charter Schools (2007-10): Final...

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Affordable Home Loans and Down-Payment Help for Texas Educators

The Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation on August 4 announced a new, lower mortgage interest rate of 4.50 percent plus a 3-percent grant to help with down payment and closing costs. This new rate deal is effective on the TSAHC's Professional Educators Home Loan Program. For more information, visit www.tsahc.org, or contact Paige McGilloway at (888) 638-3555, extension 3561. The...

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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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