Aliyya Swaby / The Texas Tribune | KERA News

Aliyya Swaby / The Texas Tribune

Aliyya Swaby started as the public education reporter in October 2016. She came to the Tribune from the hyperlocal nonprofit New Haven Independent, where she covered education, zoning and transit for two years. After graduating from Yale University in 2013, she spent a year freelance reporting in Panama on social issues affecting black Panamanian communities. A native New Yorker, Aliyya misses public transportation but is thrilled by the lack of snow.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / For The Texas Tribune

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told school superintendents and lawmakers Sunday to be prepared for long-term school district closures, potentially through the end of the school year, especially in areas where the new coronavirus has spread.

A student in a classroom at Cactus Elementary School
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

In an unprecedented move, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday he would waive testing requirements for this year’s STAAR exam, as many schools expect to be closed at least through the April testing window, due to the new coronavirus.

The longstanding academic failure of Wheatley High School was cited as one reason for the district takeover.
Pu Ying Huang / The Texas Tribune

A state judge Wednesday evening immediately blocked Texas from taking over the Houston Independent School District until she issues a final ruling on the case, complicating the state's plan to oust the district's school board by March.

Thomas Williams-Platt
Angela Piazza / For The Texas Tribune

Before entering the halls of Channing School high atop the Texas Panhandle last year, students were required to roll up their shirt sleeves to show they weren’t sneaking in e-cigarettes. 

Rune Mathisen

Were the reading and writing passages on standardized tests that Texas elementary and middle school students took this spring too challenging for their grade levels?

Laura Skelding / The Texas Tribune

 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announce a deal on the top three legislative priorities.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Texas’ top three political leaders declared Thursday that the Legislature had reached agreements on its three main 2019 priorities: A two-year state budget, a comprehensive reform of school finance and legislation designed to slow the growth of rising property taxes.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / Texas Tribune

Texas' top three political leaders — Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen — threw their support Wednesday behind a proposal to increase the sales tax by one percentage point in order to lower property taxes across the state.

Natasha Boone high fives a student as they went over a story the class was reading Jan. 14, 2019 at Edward Titche Elementary School in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas.
Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

When third-grade reading teacher Natasha Boone told her peers she was considering a job at Titche Elementary School, a chronically low-performing school known for its low test scores and rowdy classrooms, they all asked, "Why?"

Robin Hood was put in place to ensure poorer school districts get more resources to educate kids.
Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

 

For some in the debate over how to fund Texas' schools, "Robin Hood" is decidedly a villain.

Commission member Todd Williams of Dallas, left, meets with TEA Commissioner Mike Morath and State Sen. Royce West at the Texas Commission on Public School Finance on Jan. 23, 2018.
Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

 

Karen Hill's father, A. Maceo Johnson, lost an election for Richardson ISD's school board in 1963. Since then, the district has had just one black school board member.
Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

In Karen Hill’s eyes, not much has changed since her father’s unsuccessful bid for Richardson Independent School District's board in 1963.

Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

For years, school finance reform has been a messy political challenge that Gov. Greg Abbott has been reluctant to wade into.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

Two teacher associations sued Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath and the Texas Education Agency on Wednesday, arguing they rolled out a law incentivizing partnerships with school districts and charter schools in a way that weakened protections for public school employees.

Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

Federal education officials are considering letting school districts use federal money to buy guns for educators — and the idea may have come from Texas, according to national education outlet Education Week.

Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is urging the Teacher Retirement System not to raise health care premiums for retired teachers, arguing that state lawmakers should take on the burden of increased costs.

Erika Rich for The Texas Tribune

In exactly a week, Texas will give its school districts official grades for the first time, rating them on a scale from A through F, with state officials promising a more transparent system that will show parents how their schools are educating students.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Education Agency is starting the search for organizations to help school districts overhaul special education following a federal finding that the state had effectively denied students with disabilities access to needed services.

Laura Buckman / Texas Tribune

Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner on Thursday evening demanding he hand over a copy of the district's controversial sixth-grade human sexuality curriculum, which includes lessons about gender identity and sexual orientation.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Two days after Gov. Greg Abbott released a 40-page school safety plan, Texas House and Senate leaders ordered their committees to study ways to limit shootings and increase protections in Texas public schools before students return in August.

Tiffany Szerpicki

For school districts with chronically failing campuses, a recently passed law that allows them a reprieve from state sanctions was supposed to be a lifeline. A year on, less than a tenth of those districts are on track to take advantage of it.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

The Texas Education Agency will levy a $100,000 financial penalty against the New Jersey-based company that develops and administers standardized tests, after tens of thousands of Texas students were kicked out of the testing software or encountered connection problems while taking computerized State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exams in April and May.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

RICHARDSON — Jaculyn Zigtema, a special education director in Whitehouse ISD in East Texas, told state education officials Monday that she planned to hire two diagnosticians, four teachers and two behavioral specialists to handle an anticipated spike in students considered eligible for special education.

Laura Skelding

* Update, April 13: On Friday, the State Board of Education gave its final approval to development of the Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent course. 

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Texas got final approval Monday from the U.S. Department of Education for its school improvement and accountability plan, including a portion of its new system for grading schools.

Eddie Seal / For The Texas Tribune

After gathering thousands of responses from parents and advocates, the Texas Education Agency has sketched a new plan for educating kids with disabilities — with limited money.

Campaign Facebook pages

Over her 16 years on the State Board of Education, Pat Hardy has rallied for her share of socially conservative measures. She's endorsed keeping "pro-American" values in history textbooks. She's backed emphasizing "states' rights" instead of slavery as the cause of the Civil War. And she's supported teaching "both sides" of arguments around climate change.

Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

The State Board of Education is considering creating standards for an official Mexican-American studies high school course, after two failed attempts to approve a textbook for the subject.

Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Education Agency released a preliminary plan for reforming special education Thursday.

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