You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Education

Commentary: Texas Education Agency rankings are a work in progress

Commentary: Texas Education Agency rankings are a work in progress

Scheberle is senior vice president for education and talent at the Austin Chamber of Commerce. On Jan. 6, the Texas Education Agency released a preliminary report card for schools based on its new accountability system. It was a promising start. However, before we read too much into what receiving an “A” or an “F” means on any of the individual performance measures, there are...
H-E-B’s Charles Butt pledges $100 million to train school leaders

H-E-B’s Charles Butt pledges $100 million to train school leaders

H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt has pledged to invest $100 million in the creation of a training and leadership development center in Austin for school district leaders from across Texas. Butt envisions that the Holdsworth Center — named for his mother, Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth Butt, who was an educator and lifelong philanthropist — will support current leaders and develop future...
PolitiFact: Promise on schools morphed into other reforms

PolitiFact: Promise on schools morphed into other reforms

Greg Abbott ran for governor calling for Texas to detach the repeatedly worst-performing elementary schools from local school districts and give them new oversight by grouping them together. In his campaign’s compendium of gubernatorial goals, Abbott said state law should be revised to direct the state education commissioner to launch a Texas Achievement School District for the state’s...
Austin trustees weigh ban on suspensions for youngest students

Austin trustees weigh ban on suspensions for youngest students

Hundreds of students in prekindergarten through second grade — some as young as 4 — are suspended from Austin schools each year. The vast majority removed from school for discipline are boys. Black children, who make up only 7 percent of the district’s students, were 38 percent of all lower-grade suspensions during the past four years. In the same time frame, Hispanics were 48 percent...
Statesman analysis: Texas A-F school grades give boost to charters

Statesman analysis: Texas A-F school grades give boost to charters

Statesman data reporter Dan Hill contributed to this story. Critics of the new A-F grading system for Texas schools have long warned that the state’s letter grades would give an undeserved boost to charter schools. An American-Statesman analysis of the advisory A-F grades issued this month shows that charter schools did fare better compared with their traditional public school peers under the...
Legislature should address state’s biggest crisis: Texas children

Legislature should address state’s biggest crisis: Texas children

If one were looking for a moral theme for the legislative session that convened last week, it would not be bathroom bills nor so-called sanctuary cities. It would be Texas children. Specifically, the welfare of children in the state’s beleaguered foster care system and the more than 5 million children attending public schools. Those are the crisis points. And lawmakers would be wise not to delay...
Lake Travis, Dripping Springs school districts are finalists for award

Lake Travis, Dripping Springs school districts are finalists for award

The Lake Travis school district and the Dripping Springs school board are among the finalists for the 2017 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards. As finalists, the Dripping Springs school board has been awarded $5,000 and the Lake Travis District has been awarded $2,500. The winners, and more cash prizes, will be announced on May 7 at a ceremony at the Austin Hilton. Complete list of finalists: LARGE...
Lawmakers propose easing STAAR testing requirements permanently

Lawmakers propose easing STAAR testing requirements permanently

A state law that has allowed thousands of high school students to bypass state standardized testing requirements to graduate is set to expire in September. Kel Seliger, the Republican state senator from Amarillo who originally proposed the law, has filed a bill that would keep the policy in place permanently. “Even though assessment systems are important, there’s nothing magical about...
Commentary: School choice means accountability to parents

Commentary: School choice means accountability to parents

Bedrick is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute. Burke is the Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation. They are the authors of a new Texas Public Policy Foundation report called “Recalibrating Accountability: ESAs as Vehicles of Choice and Innovation.” We all want an education system that delivers a high-quality education to all children. Ensuring quality...
Commentary: School vouchers would run public education like a business

Commentary: School vouchers would run public education like a business

Godsey is the executive director for the Association of Texas Professional Educators. It’s no surprise that some of our current leaders like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick or President-elect Donald Trump are pushing school voucher programs. They’ve been telling us that was their intention for years. Abandoning our neighborhood public schools, however, isn’t something the vast majority of Texans...
Closure of school for autistic children a blow for students, parents

Closure of school for autistic children a blow for students, parents

David Hall said his 16-year-old son stopped having emotional meltdowns after he started going to a new school for autistic teenagers that opened at the end of August in Cedar Park. Evelyn Kelley said teachers at the school, the Hector E. Ponce Academy, helped her autistic 17-year-old son learn to speak more. But the private school closed Dec. 26 after only four months of operation because it ran out...
Commentary: Why school choice is the wrong choice

Commentary: Why school choice is the wrong choice

Stevenson is an Austin educator. It’s interesting how Democrats and Republicans can often use the same arguments for very different purposes. For example, Democrats appeal to the value of choice when wanting to keep abortion a legal option for women. Republicans reject this argument by wanting to ban the practice on moral grounds. At the same time, Republicans call for choice when it comes to...
Get ready Austin for a strong legislative thumping over local policies

Get ready Austin for a strong legislative thumping over local policies

Austin needs to dramatically sharpen its offense and defense in dealing with the Texas Legislature when it convenes this week to protect many hard-won accomplishments championed by local voters and their representatives. Those include Austin’s regulations on short-term rental properties, requirements for ride-hailing companies to fingerprint their drivers, and, of course, Austin Energy&rsquo...
Commentary: Texas must stop attacks on its border residents

Commentary: Texas must stop attacks on its border residents

Torres is a spokesperson for La Union del Pueblo Entero. Texas state lawmakers must acknowledge that border residents are Texans, too, and we are worthy of the same dignity and respect afforded anyone else living in our state, whether documented or not. We work hard. We ensure our children are educated and our streets are safe. We all take pride in being Texans. But several Republican lawmakers in...
Texas schools and districts get their letter grades from state

Texas schools and districts get their letter grades from state

School districts across the state got lackluster grades under the state’s newest accountability system that debuts Friday. Various Central Texas districts received unacceptable marks of D’s and F’s in certain categories, including Austin, Leander, Hays, Georgetown, Bastrop, Manor, Elgin, San Marcos, Hutto and Dripping Springs, according to a report sent to the Legislature last week...
Texas schools and districts got their letter grades from state

Texas schools and districts got their letter grades from state

School districts across Texas pulled in lackluster preliminary grades under the state’s new letter-grade accountability system that debuts Friday. Various Central Texas districts, including Austin, Leander, Hays, Georgetown, Bastrop, Manor, Elgin, San Marcos, Hutto, Dripping Springs and Elgin received unacceptable grades of Ds and Fs in certain categories, according to a report sent to the Texas...
Newman: Texas is breaking educators

Newman: Texas is breaking educators

Newman teaches English at Western Texas College. Mrs. Jane Doe struggles to get out of bed, get showered and prepare for the day. She’s had only two hours of sleep. This is typical. She arrives at the large Texas high school for which she teaches advanced and regular classes – at 7:15. She has about an hour before school starts. Students are already waiting for her because she encourages...
Commentary: Punitive practices do not keep children safer at school

Commentary: Punitive practices do not keep children safer at school

As the state Legislature returns to work, lawmakers will be tasked with considering how to improve schools throughout Texas. One area of focus will be policies that make schools safer, a focus especially relevant for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youths. Alarmingly, 1 in 4 youths has been bullied at school. Although all forms of bullying need our attention, bias-based bullying, such...
Cruz: Safety is Austin ISD’s concern during possible inclement weather

Cruz: Safety is Austin ISD’s concern during possible inclement weather

Cruz is superintendent of Austin Independent School District. Austin ISD’s responsibilities don’t change with the seasons. Through winter, spring, summer and fall, we are dedicated to educating students and keeping them safe. If predictions of inclement weather are made, safety takes priority. When inclement weather or hazardous road conditions force us to delay the start of school or...
Student-created anti-bullying club is now in every Leander school

Student-created anti-bullying club is now in every Leander school

It’s Friday morning, an hour before classes start, and a group of students is crowded around a teacher’s desk, chatting about the weekend, the upcoming winter break, the latest teen drama, how awful it was to get out of bed this morning. But Erin Stott’s demeanor quickly changes from teasing to concerned when a young, distraught junior catches her eye from the edge of the cluster...
Facebook comments: Jan. 1, 2017

Facebook comments: Jan. 1, 2017

As reported by the Austin American-Statesman PolitiFact editor W. Gardner Selby, Sen. Kirk Watson said during a 2016 Texas Tribune panel discussion that the average Austin homeowner is paying $1,300 to $1,400 for recapture, a term for funds shifted to less property-rich districts elsewhere. PolitiFact rated this claim as True based on information provided by the Austin school district. The average...
Achievements - Sunday, January 1

Achievements - Sunday, January 1

Student earns Eagle Scout rank Jamie Hammang, 18, son of Tom and Amy Dunlop of Austin, has earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest recognition in the Boy Scouts. Hammang built and decorated ten benches and sold them in a silent auction that benefited Camp Bluebonnet, a summer camp for children with Type 1 diabetes. His project raised over $1,500. Hammang is a member of Troop 441, which is chartered...
Commentary: There is only ‘us’ in public education

Commentary: There is only ‘us’ in public education

Tackett is executive director at IDEA Public Schools Austin. “And so, how are the children?” That’s how members of the Masai tribe in East Africa greet each other. And the traditional response, “All the children are well,” signifies that all is right in the village, as long as the children are cared for and safe. Like the Masai, we should care about how all of the children...
State Board of Education chairwoman pleasantly surprises critics

State Board of Education chairwoman pleasantly surprises critics

Donna Bahorich, whose assignment as State Board of Education chairwoman in 2015 garnered backlash from fellow board members and education policymakers, will be up for reappointment in February. But less controversy is expected to shadow her probable confirmation this time. The reason — according to one of the loudest critics of her appointment in 2015, fellow Republican and outgoing Board Member...
All Austin schools to offer daily recess after winter break

All Austin schools to offer daily recess after winter break

Elementary students in the Austin school district will get their 30 minutes of recess after they return from winter break on Jan. 3. Recess had all but disappeared at some schools over the years as educators devoted more time to reading, math and preparation for standardized tests. Unstructured play previously wasn’t required by the district, so it simply wasn’t offered at some campuses...
Texas State dance squad to perform in Trump’s inauguration; online backlash ensues

Texas State dance squad to perform in Trump’s inauguration; online backlash ensues

The Texas State University Strutters have announced they will perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural parade in Washington D.C. next month, triggering a whirl of negative reactions on social media.  Several Twitter users criticizing the university dancing squad’s decision to participate in the event reported being blocked by the Strutters. On Thursday evening, the group&rsquo...
3 Central Texas high schools to establish workforce training academies

3 Central Texas high schools to establish workforce training academies

Three Central Texas high schools have received about $1.2 million in grants from the state to establish workforce training academies on their campuses. Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that 19 high schools statewide, including Reagan and LBJ early college high schools in Austin and the Manor High School Career and Technical Education Center, will receive a total of $7.1 million to establish innovative...
Austin school district freezes transfers to 23 schools for next year

Austin school district freezes transfers to 23 schools for next year

             The Austin Independent School District late Monday released the names of 23 campuses that will be frozen to transfers during the 2017-18 school year.  In a statement, the school district said it has determined which schools should be frozen to transfers because the number of enrolled students is, or is expected to be above capacity...
Austin district calls on lawmakers to repeal A-F school rating system

Austin district calls on lawmakers to repeal A-F school rating system

School districts across the state are giving their own failing grades to the state’s new accountability rating system, which will make its debut later this month. On Monday night, the Austin district board members approve a resolution that calls on the Texas Legislature to repeal the A-F letter grade rating system that is based largely on state standardized testing performance and goes into...
AISD passes resolution asking lawmakers to repeal A-F rating system

AISD passes resolution asking lawmakers to repeal A-F rating system

9:15 p.m. update: The Austin school board Monday night approved a resolution that calls on lawmakers to repeal the A-F letter grade rating system. The new accountability rating system, expected to be released in coming weeks, is heavily based on the state’s standardized test, STAAR. EARLIER: School districts across the state are giving their own failing grades to the state’s new accountability...
Commentary: DeVos will be breath of fresh air for parents, students

Commentary: DeVos will be breath of fresh air for parents, students

Teachers unions and the education establishment reacted with predictable scorn when President-elect Donald Trump last month named Betsy DeVos as his nominee for secretary of education. But parents have one simple reason to be optimistic: DeVos has been a champion for educational choice across the country. Her support for school choice goes beyond mere lip service. She has worked to advance viable...
Commentary: DeVos’ hostility to public schools should be a disqualifier

Commentary: DeVos’ hostility to public schools should be a disqualifier

Lynn, a longtime civil rights advocate, is executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. In the United States, 90 percent of children attend public schools. These young people and their families rely on this system, which is funded by tax dollars and is answerable to democratically elected school boards. In many communities, the public school system is the glue that holds...
PolitiFact: Average Austin homeowner sending $1,300 to other schools

PolitiFact: Average Austin homeowner sending $1,300 to other schools

For years, Austin taxpayers have indirectly helped fund schools elsewhere in accord with the state’s more than 20-year-old system for equalizing aid among school districts with what can be vast differences in taxable property wealth. Kirk Watson, the Democratic state senator from Travis County, attached an ear-catching figure to those costs during a November 2016 Texas Tribune panel discussion...
School officials denied special education services, parents say

School officials denied special education services, parents say

Frustrated parents criticized the Texas Education Agency and several school districts Thursday night, accusing them of intimidation, lying and racking up high attorney fees to get out of providing special education services to their children. More than 100 people signed up to address state and federal officials during an hours-long and often heated listening session coordinated by the U.S. Education...
Texas special education forum, 12.15.16

Texas special education forum, 12.15.16

Court grants restraining order in school ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ case

Court grants restraining order in school ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ case

A state district judge on Thursday granted a temporary restraining order against the Killeen school district’s decision to tear down a Christmas decoration depicting “Peanuts” cartoon character Linus in “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” according to the Texas attorney general’s office. Earlier this month, clinic aide Dedra Shannon put up the decorations on the Patterson...
Court grants restraining order in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” case

Court grants restraining order in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” case

4:30 p.m. update: A state district judge granted a temporary restraining order against the Killeen school district’s decision to tear down a Christmas decoration depicting Peanuts character Linus in “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” according to the Texas Attorney General’s office. A middle school employee put up the decorations on the school nurse door, with a drawing of Linus...
Former Austin education leader Will Davis dies

Former Austin education leader Will Davis dies

Will Davis, an accomplished insurance lawyer who maintained a parallel volunteer career serving on the Austin school board, the State Board of Education, Baylor University’s governing board and the Austin Community College Board of Trustees, died Monday at Brookdale Westlake Hills at the age of 87. The cause was Parkinson’s disease, said Will Davis Jr., his son. The elder Davis cut his...
Austin district properties fetch up to $90 million in bids

Austin district properties fetch up to $90 million in bids

Staff writer Shonda Novak contributed to this report. The Austin school district on Wednesday afternoon unveiled the 40 bids and proposals for 10 of its properties, including the district’s headquarters just west of downtown. Some of the proposals are intended to create affordable housing in Austin. The city of Austin, Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and several well-known developers and nonprofits...
Killeen trustees back removal of Charlie Brown Christmas decor

Killeen trustees back removal of Charlie Brown Christmas decor

Killeen trustees last night voted 6-1 in support of a principal’s decision to require an employee to remove her “Peanuts” decorations from a school nurse’s office door. The clinic aide’s Christmas decorations depicted Linus in a scene from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” quoting the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus. Earlier: Killeen district officials,...
Killeen district under fire for removing ‘Peanuts’ Christmas display

Killeen district under fire for removing ‘Peanuts’ Christmas display

Killeen district officials, under fire for forcing an employee to remove her “Peanuts” Christmas decorations from a school nurse’s office door, will discuss the matter Tuesday after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton decried it as a violation of the First Amendment and state law. The principal at Patterson Middle School told clinic aide Dedra Shannon to take down a portion of her...
Smith: School privatization is a pyramid scheme

Smith: School privatization is a pyramid scheme

Smith, a longtime political journalist for Texas newspapers, is an author and Democratic consultant. He is currently director of Austin’s Progress Texas political action committee. Want to know why today’s Trumpian Republicans — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick among them — think public education is a waste of money? Just listen to President-elect Donald Trump surrogate Scottie Nell...
Mackowiak: School choice returns power to parents

Mackowiak: School choice returns power to parents

Mackowiak is syndicated columnist, an Austin-based Republican consultant and a former Capitol Hill and Bush administration aide. Conservatives support school choice. However, rural elected officials, many of whom are also conservative, generally do not. There’s an inherent conflict in this that partly explains why the broad issue of education reform has made some progress in Texas in recent...
A shift of South Austin high schools is taking shape

A shift of South Austin high schools is taking shape

One year after Austin district trustees moved to purchase two parcels of land for two high schools in South Austin — one on the east side and one on the west — consultants are recommending they build just one. That high school would be in Southeast Austin, where growth is projected, leaving some puzzled as to when the overcrowded Bowie High School in Southwest Austin would get relief....
Facebook comments: Dec. 11, 2016

Facebook comments: Dec. 11, 2016

As reported by the Austin American-Statesman’s Chuck Lindell, Sen. John Whitmire has filed a bill to require all public high school freshmen to take a course in how to interact with law officers. Senate Bill 273 would direct the State Board of Education to adopt a required course that would teach students information including the role and responsibilities of law officers, proper behavior for...
Achievements: Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards

Achievements: Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards

Students earn Gold Awards The following students have earned the Gold Award, the highest achievement in the Girl Scouts: Eliza Cain, 18, daughter of Randy Cain and Kathy Cox of Austin, partnered with Bookspring to create the “LASA Loves Libraries” club at her high school to help improve childhood literacy. The club creates motivational reading theme kits to loan to libraries in East Austin...

University: Suspicious package destroyed at Texas A&M; no bomb found

12:50 p.m. update: Authorities have cleared the General Services Complex at Texas A&M University in College Station after a suspicious package was reported shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday. A police bomb squad destroyed the suspicious package and university officials said no explosive was found. The building has been reopened, the university said. Earlier: A suspicious package was reported at the General...
Bills target high rates of Texas schoolchildren lacking vaccinations

Bills target high rates of Texas schoolchildren lacking vaccinations