Reported Elsewhere

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April 12, 2024

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lists housing affordability, fighting antisemitism on campus among 2025 priorities

(Texas Tribune) Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick put improving housing affordability, fighting antisemitism on college campuses and examining charitable bail organizations among 57 items on a to-do list for senators before the next legislative session begins in January.

Nearly 70K fewer Texans fill out FAFSA forms, sparking concern among advocates

(Houston Chronicle) Almost 70,000 fewer Texas high school seniors have submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms often required to get money for college than this time last year – a trend that advocates for college access fear could bode poorly for fall enrollment.

Texas Removes 1.3 Million Children From Health Care Plan

(Newsweek) Texas dropped 1.3 million children from Medicaid, according to recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

Racism kept these Mexican Americans from a Texas golf club. They won the state championship anyway.

(NBC News) The new movie “The Long Game” recounts the true story of the winning San Felipe High School golf team and the war veteran denied entry to a golf club who formed the team.

UT Dallas students say diversity program layoffs send mixed signals

(Fox 4 KDFW) Students say they are confused by the purpose of the DEI ban.

Critics warn schools are skirting Texas DEI ban after university shuffles DEI officials to other departments

(Fox News) Texas A&M University responded to a state law banning diversity, equity and inclusion on college campuses by giving the department head a raise before reassigning her and other employees to other departments. It sparked concerns schools are attempting to further “embed” the controversial practice at Texas universities despite the law.

More DEI restrictions loom as Texas schools cut jobs

(CBS Austin) Amidst news of dozens of job eliminations in at least two Texas public universities in the last two weeks, Republicans could be looking to further restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in higher education.

‘Who’s going to be fired next’: Texas university, legislative leaders decry DEI ban layoffs

(KERA) University professors and state legislative leaders say mass layoffs at the University of Texas at Dallas and UT Austin because of the state’s new law prohibiting DEI offices in public colleges are having a “chilling effect.”

‘It’s worth taking a stand’: A look at two student protests that influenced UT’s history

(Daily Texan) Here are the stories of two lesser-known student protests that left lasting impacts on campus.  

Texas schools, including Bryan ISD, face budget challenges amid federal cuts and state funding delays

(KBTX) As federal funding dwindles and state funding remains delayed by Governor Abbott’s push for school vouchers, school districts across the state are faced with difficult budget decisions heading into the 2024-2025 school year.

‘A little bit confused’: HISD board tables Chinese university partnership vote

(Houston Landing) Houston ISD’s board of managers opted to delay a vote Thursday on a proposal to establish a partnership with a Chinese university after Superintendent Mike Miles’ administration failed to answer some board members’ questions about the controversial program.

Fort Bend ISD trustees vote against changing library policy until further review

(Community Impact) The Fort Bend ISD board voted 5-2 to postpone any potential policy revisions to district library policy until after board workshops on the topic allow members to gather input from district librarians and other administration professionals.

New Texas A&M College of Engineering Dean discusses Space Engineering Degree

(KBTX) “It is our mission to educate the next generation of problem solvers, not just for space, but also for all the challenges that we face [around] the globe.”

A $9.4B loss: Texas restaurants, businesses pursue child care reform with economic lens

(Fort Worth Star-Telegram) The various industries behind the Employers for Childcare Task Force say they are all enduring similar issues around employee turnover and understaffing that are directly tied to the lack of accessible, affordable and quality child care in the state

Fort Worth mayor, state leaders push for better early education policies

(Fort Worth Report) Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker, Education Commissioner Mike Morath and Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Bryan Daniel discussed how the state can unleash the full potential of early education.

Texas’s First College for Black Women Lies in Ruins. Can It Find a New Purpose?

(Texas Monthly) In a small East Texas town, Mary Allen College offered opportunity to thousands of Black women, and later men, for nearly nine decades. It’s been shuttered since 1977, but efforts are underway to restore it.

Fort Bend ISD trustees address TEA complaint of former superintendent retirement

(Houston Public Media) Fort Bend ISD trustees have responded to a Texas Education Agency complaint, alleging that they violated the Texas Open Meetings Act while negotiating a separation agreement with the former superintendent.

Hegar: Nicotine case jeopardizes young Texans’ health, state revenues | Opinion

(Austin American-Stateman) The Texas Supreme Court is considering a lawsuit filed by a subsidiary of tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc. that could potentially cost hundreds of millions of dollars in lost state tax revenue and, more importantly, determine whether we can continue to protect Texas youth from certain nicotine products under the state Health and Safety Code.

Challengers sign ‘contract with Texas’ to push the legislature more conservative

(KXAN) Conservative candidates running to unseat Republicans in the Texas House joined with some of the most conservative representatives in signing the “Contract with Texas,” a commitment to procedural changes like eliminating Democratic committee chairs that they say will make the House more efficient in passing conservative priorities.

Texas Tech Public Media cuts spark concern among university faculty

(Current) Layoffs and programming cuts at Texas Tech Public Media have sparked concerns about the station’s future among faculty members at its licensee, Texas Tech University.

Texas county agency attacked by Medusa ransomware gang

(SC Media) Texas-based Tarrant County Appraisal District was admitted to be compromised by the Medusa ransomware operation in an attack late last month, with the ransomware group warning of the exposure of almost 218GB of stolen data within six days should the government agency refuse payment of a $100,000 ransom, reports The Record, a news site by cybersecurity firm Recorded Future.

San Angelo ISD to host online transportation auction

(KLST) Ever wanted to own a school bus? How about 11? If so, the San Angelo Independent School District’s upcoming online auction is for you.

Growing Trend in Public Education: Four Day School Weeks

(School Transportation News) Four-day school weeks are gaining popularity nationwide to save money and recruit new teachers.

How do Texas schools stack up in the SEC? All 16 colleges ranked academically by US News

(Austin American-Statesman) Those who attended the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference schools often have pride in what their college football team can do in a season. But what about academically?

Person arrested after threat prank on Austin Community College campus: police

(Fox 7 Austin) ACC says that on Wednesday night, at the Highland Campus, someone entered a room wearing a ski mask and made threatening remarks.

Appeals court pauses injunction allowing Arcola council member to participate in meetings

(Houston Public Media) The mayor of a small town in Fort Bend County can decide whether a city councilwoman can participate in meetings for now. That’s thanks to the latest ruling from an appeals court in a contentious legal battle.

April 11, 2024

Klein ISD community demands answers after teacher, son arrested for sex trafficking

(Fox 26 Houston) In a Thursday morning press conference, Quannell X and Dr. Candice Matthews revealed a possible whistleblower who reportedly informed the school about the alleged involvement of Grigsby and her son in sex crimes a year ago.

SAISD agrees to pay AT&T $300K over phone dispute at old headquarters

(News 4 SA) The News 4 I-Team has learned the San Antonio ISD will have to pay AT&T $300,000 after the phone company claimed service was not disconnected at SAISD’s former headquarters. AT&T had initially billed the district more than $2 Million.

Some South Texas school employees could be barred from holding elected office after fraud investigation

(Texas Tribune) A state-appointed board of managers overseeing the La Joya Independent School District is set to consider the policy this week.

Dallas ISD student files civil rights complaint alleging antisemitic bullying

(KERA) According to the complaint, the Hillcrest High School student was called names like “dirty Jew,” heard other teens praise Hitler and reported swastika drawings to administration. The complaint alleges the harassment took place “in plain sight” at school, often with teachers present.

7 GOP Senators Urge 5th Circuit to ‘Vacate’ FCC’s School Bus Wi-Fi Ruling

(Communications Daily) The 5th U.S. Circuit Appeals Court should reverse the FCC’s ruling authorizing E-rate funding for Wi-Fi on school buses by interpreting the Communications Act “in accordance with its ordinary meaning,” Senate Commerce Committee ranking member Ted Cruz (Texas) and six other Republican senators wrote in an amicus brief Tuesday.

Tomball ISD leaders expect $9.1M shortfall for FY 2024-25 budget

(Community Impact) Tomball ISD is expected to face a $9.1 million shortfall for the fiscal year 2024-25 budget, which would include a 2% pay raise for employees, district leaders said April 8.

Texas Association of University Professors confirms at least 66 faculty members terminated in DCCE mass firings

(Daily Texan) The University fired 66 faculty members in its mass firing on April 2, the president-elect of the Texas Conference of the American Association of University Professors confirmed at a joint press conference on Wednesday.

‘An overreaction’: Black lawmakers, advocates denounce UT schools’ layoffs due to DEI ban

(Dallas Morning News) Laying off staff in the wake of Texas’ DEI ban is an overreaction and discriminatory, some legislators and advocacy groups said during a news conference Wednesday.

Humble ISD accepts retirement of district official following Title IX investigation

(Community Impact) Humble ISD trustees voted to accept the retirement of Troy Kite, the district’s executive director of the University Interscholastic League and fine arts, during the board’s April 9 meeting.

HISD might ask taxpayers to back a multibillion-dollar bond. Is there time for community input?

(Houston Landing) Houston ISD officials are considering asking taxpayers to approve a multibillion-dollar bond in November, but Superintendent Mike Miles’ administration has yet to go through a widely used process to involve the community — and may be running short on time to do so.

Panhandle schools concerned with Texas Education Agency’s decision on STAAR test grading

(KFDA) Many school districts are concerned with the Texas Education Agency’s decision to implement computerized grading for the redesign of the STAAR test.

Arlington ISD expects 4 in 10 students to perform math on grade level. Trustees have questions

(Arlington Report) The district expects 31% of its eighth graders to meet grade level on the upcoming State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness math test — a 3-percentage-point increase from last year, according to a presentation for trustees at the April 4 board meeting.

Clear Creek ISD remains optimistic about enrollment challenges as new programs grow

(Community Impact) As Clear Creek ISD faces declining enrollment—and various problems associated with less students—officials remain optimistic about the district’s future due in part to various programs and incoming housing projects that could help bolster the district in the years to come.

Report shows Round Rock ISD teachers paid up to 2% higher than market median

(Community Impact) A new study of compensation for Round Rock ISD employees shows teachers in the district are paid 1%-2% above the local median salary during the 2023-24 school year.

EPA Announces 2024 Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles Grant Program

(School Bus Fleet) The funding opportunity is expected to include at least $400 million for projects in regions that haven’t yet met air quality standards under the Clean Air Act.

Area colleges invest more than $180M to meet workforce needs

(Community Impact) Texas State University at Round Rock, Austin Community College at Round Rock and Texas State Technical College in Hutto are spending over $180 million combined to expand programs in health care, technology, manufacturing and skilled trades.

LeTourneau University proposes constructing inflatable dome for athletics

(KLTV) An indoor athletic facility may soon be popping up in Longview. LeTourneau University is proposing an indoor climate-controlled track facility.

School enrollment in Central Texas: How have the numbers changed in recent years?

(KXAN) KXAN is keeping track of enrollment data from the Texas Education Agency in 58 school districts and more than 20 open charter schools across the area.

Pearland student awarded national scholarship for food accessibility advocacy for special needs students

(Community Impact) Glenda Dawson High School graduate Kennedy Hoyt was awarded the National Society of High School Scholars’ Notorious RBG Women of Tomorrow Scholarship for her work in improving how special needs students are supported at Berry Miller Junior High in Pearland.

Many men don’t finish college. This North Texas school is trying to reverse the trend

(KERA) The Dallas College program aims to get more men to graduate at a time when enrollment is dropping, and men are far less likely to complete college than women.

Mesquite teacher accused of having improper relationship with student arrested

(Fox 4 KDFW) 32-year-old Cesar Jimenez of Midlothian was arrested on Wednesday.

New childcare facility at Texas A&M-San Antonio helps student parents earn degrees

(Texas Public Radio) The program is specifically for parents enrolled in evening classes, open from 3:30 PM to 8:30 PM, Monday through Thursday.

US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Said Moon Is Planet and Made Up of ‘Gases’?

(SNOPES) Lee did indeed make the erroneous statements quoted above, as evidenced by footage from a livestream of the event shared on her own official X account. However, after the eclipse, she posted that she had misspoken and intended to say the sun is made up of gases. 

April 10, 2024

‘Criminal and disgusting’ | Gov. Greg Abbott points to arrest of Klein ISD teacher in latest promotion of school voucher plan

(KHOU-TV) The governor shared a post on X from Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez who said his office and the Klein ISD police arrested Kedria Grigsby, 42. Grigsby is a cosmetology teacher at Klein Cain High School who is now charged with three counts of trafficking of a child and three counts of compelling prostitution of juveniles.

New details reveal Klein ISD teacher recruited high school students for prostitution

(KHOU-TV) Prosecutors said they anticipate more victims to come forward and more charges to be filed.

Family sues after Lake Travis ISD determined peanuts in allergic student’s locker was not bullying

(KXAN) The family of a former Lake Travis High School football player is suing the Lake Travis Independent School District, including the superintendent and athletic director, after fellow football players put peanuts in their son’s locker.

Antisemitic bullying at Dallas high school alleged in federal civil rights complaint

(Dallas Morning News) The complaint, co-filed by StandWithUs, was filed as American campuses are grappling with reverberations of the Israel-Hamas war.

HISD considers ‘Confucius Institute’ partnership amid GOP ire over Chinese government ties

(Houston Landing) Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles wants to partner with a Chinese university to provide language and culture lessons in the district, a once-popular model that dozens of schools and universities have recently abandoned amid conservative criticism about links to the Chinese Communist Party.

Mike Miles says HISD may backtrack on plan to add English-only track at two popular immersion schools

(Houston Chronicle) Houston ISD’s appointed Superintendent Mike Miles said Monday that he will ask the district’s Board of Managers to walk back plans to add English-only pre-kindergarten tracks at the Helms and Wharton dual-language schools at the board’s monthly meeting on Thursday. 

Most 18-year-old Texans aren’t signed up to vote despite a law requiring voter registration in high schools

(Texas Tribune) When David Dzul approached his principal about setting up a voter registration drive on campus in 2019, he quickly realized why voting participation rates are so abysmal among his peers.

‘Horrified and heartbroken’: Hays school bus crash raises safety concerns after deadly crash

(Austin American-Statesman) A collision involving a Hays school bus last month that left two people dead, including a five-year-old, has sparked concern among parents about the safety of school buses, especially after having learned that the vehicle carrying students and teachers from Tom Green Elementary lacked seat belts.

UT Dallas to close Office of Campus Resources and Support, eliminates 20 jobs

(Austin American-Statesman) The University of Texas at Dallas is closing its Office of Campus Resources and Support effective April 30 and eliminating about 20 associated jobs as part of the school’s reevaluation of its services after Senate Bill 17, a state law that went into effect in January banning diversity, equity and inclusion offices at public universities, President Richard Benson announced Tuesday.

Fort Bend ISD proposal would’ve given the superintendent the power to pull books from libraries

(KTRK) The debate over what can be found on Fort Bend ISD library shelves is expected to linger into the summer.

FBISD officials able to further reduce projected 2023 bond shortfall to $77.3M

(Community Impact) FBISD staff was able to reduce the $103.5 million shortfall reported in the March board meeting by continuing to work with contractors on project details and getting additional input from vendors to gain more accurate cost projections, FBISD Director of Design and Construction Daniel Bankhead said at the April 8 board of trustees meeting.

That shrinking feeling: SAISD says tough budget decisions will include cuts or freezes

(San Antonio Express-News) The San Antonio Independent School District issued a warning that its board will have to make “tough decisions” in the next few weeks while developing a 2024-25 budget.

Humble ISD trustees to release Title IX report on superintendent’s husband

(Houston Chronicle) Humble ISD trustees voted Tuesday to accept the retirement of the superintendent’s husband, Troy Kite, and to release the findings of a lengthy Title IX investigation that, alongside multiple related Title IX cases, cost the district more than $500,000 to mediate.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sues Harris County over its guaranteed income program

(Houston Public Media) The program, which will provide nearly 2,000 households with an income below 200% of the federal poverty level with $500 monthly payments for 18 months, violates the Texas Constitution, according to Paxton.

University of Houston-Victoria expands Nonprofit Center to Katy

(Community Impact) Through a new partnership with the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce announced in late-February, the Nonprofit Center will expand into the Katy area, providing workshops, boot camps and development programs. UHV has a Katy campus at 22400 Grand Circle Blvd., Katy.

Friendswood ISD board of trustees ratifies electricity contract process

(Community Impact) The item passed April 8 will allow the superintendent, or someone designated by the superintendent, to execute a proposed electricity supply contract, as long as the contract has a 10-year period and rate of up to $0.06 per kWh, according to agenda documents.

Fact brief: Does Fort Worth ISD require parental consent for students to access its mental health services?

(Fort Worth Report) Parental consent is necessary for Fort Worth ISD to provide mental health services to students.

City Council OKs purchase of EPISD school for police command center

(El Paso Matters) The El Paso City Council approved purchasing a vacant school from the El Paso Independent School District – the second in less than a year, this time for a police command center.

Space cadet: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee tells schoolkids that moon is a ‘planet’ and ‘made up mostly of gases’

(New York Post) Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) stunned attendees at a high school solar eclipse event Monday by claiming the rock-solid moon is a “planet” that is “made up mostly of gases” — before adding she still wants to be “first in line” to learn how to live there.

CEO-led effort to simplify public procurement could be a billion-dollar boon to local business

(San Antonio Report) One local effort to help small businesses win more public contracts looks like a slam dunk; another is trying to walk a fine line that may ultimately satisfy no one.

District attorney makes plans to challenge Paxton’s proposed reporting rules

(San Antonio Report) The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office will hire a law firm to explore the possibility of challenging Attorney General Ken Paxton’s proposed rule requiring reporting on certain criminal cases from large counties in Texas.

CBP officials stop another way to smuggle in fentanyl: hamburgers

(The Center Square) U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at El Paso area ports of entry seized a large amount of drugs being smuggled into the country in novel ways. One female was caught hiding fentanyl inside her body, another in a hamburger.

Checking in on the University of Texas at Austin’s Original Waste Diversion, Sustainability Promise 10 Years Later

(Waste Advantage) For the 2022-23 fiscal year, which ran from September 2022 to August 2023, the campus diversion rate was 31% — a third of the original goal declared over a decade ago.

April 9, 2024

Klein ISD teacher and son arrested, charged with recruiting juvenile students for prostitution

(Fox 26 Houston) Police believe that Grisby helped her son by recruiting troubled juveniles from the local high school by offering them a place to stay, which would be a hotel.

Texas will use computers to grade written answers on this year’s STAAR tests

(Texas Tribune) The state will save more than $15 million by using technology similar to ChatGPT to give initial scores, reducing the number of human graders needed.

Spring ISD trustees nix 2% administrator salary cuts in split vote

(Community Impact) A vote from Spring ISD’s board of trustees to cut district administrator’s salaries by 2% failed April 4 as the district faces an estimated $25 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2024-25.

At Houston’s most expensive private schools, tuition exceeds $30K for the 2024-25 year

(Houston Chronicle) Last year, at least 16 private schools in the area charged tuition over $30,000, and now at least three more have joined the list.

Texas Democrats call on colleges to set aside financial aid money for immigrant families affected by FAFSA glitch

(Texas Tribune) Texas Democrats in Congress are appealing to colleges to set aside financial aid funds for students who have not been able to complete the new FAFSA form because their parents do not have Social Security numbers.

Pflugerville ISD Daycare Teacher Accused of Injury to a Child

(Texas Scorecard) A YMCA teacher who worked inside Pflugerville Independent School District has been arrested and accused of injury to a child after multiple instances were caught on surveillance video. 

Texas lawmakers call for hearing over ‘potential violations of state law’ in HISD

(Houston Chronicle) In a letter to House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) on Friday, Houston lawmakers requested the House Committee on Public Education plan a hearing to address “credible reports of concerning developments” in HISD since the Texas Education Agency (TEA) appointed Superintendent Mike Miles and nine board of managers to take over district operations in June 2023. 

HISD’s special education department is improving — but it’s still lagging on a key metric

(Houston Landing) With the first year of Miles’ tenure nearing its end, HISD has made significant progress in restructuring its approach to special education, though it’s still struggling to translate those changes into better instruction for students with disabilities, a Houston Landing review has found.

Most Tarrant County students aren’t at grade level. This new campaign wants to change that

(Fort Worth Report) The Sid W. Richardson Foundation, Parent Pass and The Miles Foundation are launching Go Beyond Grades, a campaign that wants to better inform parents about their students’ academic standing and equip them with resources to help.

House Lawmakers Propose ‘Contract with Texas’ to End ‘Liberal Dysfunction’

(Texas Scorecard) The letter, signed by 13 members and members-elect, notes that while Republicans hold every statewide office and both chambers of the legislature, Democrats have held an outsized role in determining policy in the Texas House.

Students stage #NOTOURTEXAS demonstration following DCCE dissolution, staff layoffs

(Daily Texan) Hundreds of students and staff holding posters filled a section of Speedway in a silent demonstration on Monday to protest the University’s response to Senate Bill 17.

25 years after fatal bonfire, Texas A&M considers bringing student tradition back

(Texas Tribune) A university system regent has sought input from the victims’ families about restoring the tradition, which was suspended after the 1999 tragedy.

Project Raíces looking for participants for next round of sessions

(KTRE) Any teacher in Lufkin and Nacogdoches ISD — and any parent who has a student in Lufkin or Nacogdoches ISD — who is emergent bilingual is encouraged to apply for the program that aims to teach the skills and techniques to support children who are learning English in addition to their native language.

Fort Bend District Attorney’s Office launches new court program alternative for young adults who lack support

(Houston Public Media) Participants will have their charges dropped after fulfilling the program’s requirements.

A+ Charter Schools, Inc. Selects Varsity Tutors for Schools to Provide Students With Additional Learning Resources

(BusinessWire) A+ Charter Schools, Inc. today announced a partnership with Varsity Tutors for Schools, a Nerdy (NYSE: NRDY) company and the leading platform for live online tutoring, to provide all district students with access to the Varsity Tutors for Schools platform at no cost to the A+ Charter Schools, Inc., students or families.

April 8, 2024

International group can send your used glasses to places in the next eclipse path

(KXAN) This allows people who live in the path of a future eclipse to safely view the celestial phenomena, without needing to buy a new pair for just a single use.

How Are Texas School Districts Outside TRS ActiveCare Faring These Days?

( The short answer is “Not too good.”

Exclusive: How a Right-wing Texas Think Tank Ducked its Property Taxes

(Texas Monthly) For the past decade, Texas Monthly has learned, the think tank hasn’t paid a single dollar in taxes on its lavish, limestone-fronted, six-story headquarters, just two blocks from the Capitol in downtown Austin. The building’s appraised value is $18 million.

Trump and wealthy Texas Republicans want to oust House Speaker Phelan. David Covey is their man

(Houston Chronicle) The high-dollar, much-watched and often nasty contest is widely viewed as a referendum on Phelan, who has faced attacks from his party’s right flank for more than a year.

Uvalde mothers urge change at gun violence panel at SMU

(Dallas Morning News) These Uvalde mothers said they speak to breathe life into Jackie, Lexi and Tess’ legacy. They want to make sure the world doesn’t forget who they were and could have been.

New organization aims to promote ‘honest’ Texas history

(Texas Public Radio) The stated goals of the Alliance for Texas History, a new historical association, are to focus on a 21st century approach for historical analysis, dialogue, and perspective of Texas history.

After DEI Cuts, This Sixth-Gen Austinite Is Losing Access to UT

(Austin Chronicle) “It feels like Jim Crow”

A new Texas law allows schools to hire chaplains as counselors. So far, only one school has opted into the program

(Texas Tribune) Many independent school districts, including the largest ones, do not allow chaplains to serve as counselors, which is now allowed under a new Texas law.

How Texas teens lost the one program that allowed birth control without parental consent

(Texas Tribune) Now, unlike in the other 49 states, Texas’ 156 Title X clinics must require parental consent for teens. It’s a radical rewriting of a long-standing federal program, and a huge shift for the clinics and the clients they serve.

HISD illegally suspended 1 in 10 homeless students last school year, new data shows

(Houston Landing) Houston ISD administrators illegally suspended roughly 1 in 10 students experiencing homelessness in 2022-23, causing them to miss about 3,000 days of classes, district officials confirmed to the Houston Landing.

HISD’s Mike Miles touted a ‘growth wall’ as a mark of progress. It could also shame students

(Houston Chronicle) “Linking students’ names with where they are in a growth chart or a particular area of growth would be problematic under FERPA,” said LeRoy Rooker, who is one of the country’s leading authorities on FERPA and served as the director of the Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office for more than two decades.

5 things to know about Texas’ DEI ban

(Dallas Morning News) Here are must-know aspects of the new law, including exceptions to the law and the student impact.

University of Texas professors demand reversal of job cuts from shuttered DEI initiative

(AP) A group of professors demand that the University of Texas reverse course on job cuts this week related to the shutdown of a diversity, equity and inclusion program impacted by one of the nation’s most sweeping bans on such initiatives.

HISD says district did not see spike in teacher absences during ‘sick-out’ protest

(Houston Chronicle) Houston ISD officials say that the district did not see a significant spike in teacher absences Thursday after over 100 teachers reportedly called in sick to protest appointed Superintendent Mike Miles’ leadership. 

Conroe ISD projects $17.72M shortfall for 2024-25 fiscal year

(Community Impact) The preliminary budget numbers include an estimated total revenue of $695.1 million and an estimated expenditure of $712.82 million, creating the $17.72 million projected shortfall, which officials said equates to about 200 positions.

John Sharp says San Antonio’s fast-growing campus is on track to be system’s second-largest

(San Antonio Express-News) Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp predicts the fast-growing A&M campus on San Antonio’s South Side will move up several places in the next decade to become the second-largest of the system’s 11 universities.

Texas SOS pushes back against widespread disinformation about voter registration

(The Center Square) The Secretary of State and a voter registration expert in Texas have refuted widespread disinformation spread by YouTubers and anonymous social media accounts this week.

STC’s promise to make college accessible and tuition free starts next fall

(myRGV) Graduating high school students will have more time off to focus on their studies with the financial weight of tuition lifted off their shoulders with South Texas College’s Valley Promise program, which essentially gives students a tuition-free education.

Privately owned school bus crashes into La Marque home, two injured

(Click 2 Houston) Two people on board, the driver and their 13-year-old child, were hurt in the crash. They received minor injuries.

The Kinkaid School nearing $180 million goal in historic expansion campaign, the largest in Texas

(Houston Chronicle) The private school nestled on 34.5 acres in Piney Point Village is in the midst of a historic $180 million fundraising campaign, the largest of any private school in this region of the United States, according to the school’s Director of Advancement, Tom Moore. 

Caldwell family seeks answers after student suffers burns to hands

(KBTX) A family in Caldwell is seeking answers after their child came home with second-degree burns on her hands.

Savoy ISD Greenhouse Project receives grant from Atmos Energy

(North Texas e-News) The procurement of a greenhouse would allow for the district to locally grow food that would benefit students and the Savoy community.

Georgetown ISD considering district of innovation exception for uncertified teachers

(Community Impact) One of three amendments to Georgetown ISD’s District of Innovation plan under consideration may allow for the hiring of teachers without certification as the district works to fill vacancies.

PSJA’s dual language program continues to flourish and impact community

(myRGV) Over the past 25 years, PSJA ISD has established the gold standard for a dual language program offering classes district-wide with over 14,000 elementary, middle and high school students in the program that is expecting its largest graduating cohort this semester.

Humble Atascocita High School relay team beats nearly 30 year track record

(Fox 26 Houston) A Houston area high school track team beat a nearly 30-year-old record set in 1998 by another Texas high school!

Of the top wealthiest cities in the country, three are in Texas

(The Center Square) In its America’s Wealthiest Cities report, which ranks cities by the number of millionaires, centi-millionaires and billionaires, Texas has greatest number of cities with the wealthiest residents. The majority live in Houston, followed by Dallas and Austin.

April 5, 2024

Grand jury indicts Denton ISD principals Texas AG Ken Paxton accused of electioneering

(Dallas Morning News) Two Denton ISD elementary school principals were indicted on misdemeanor charges by a grand jury Tuesday for allegedly conducting an electioneering scheme through their school emails, according to court records.

Escalation of “Electioneering” Crackdown: Denton ISD Principals Indicted for Alleged Criminal Election Interference (Opinion)

(Texas AFT) This latest escalation in the campaign against educators and school employees fulfilling their duty to promote civic engagement and using their voices to highlight the high stakes for public education in our elections threatens to have a profound chilling effect in communities across the state.

Houston ISD teachers stage protest over superintendent’s policy changes

(Community Impact) More than 100 Houston ISD teachers from at least 35 campuses called in sick on April 4 in a coordinated effort to protest changes implemented by Superintendent Mike Miles, according to an April 4 news release issued by protest organizers.

Tom Green Elementary teacher files $1M lawsuit against Hernandez, FJM Concrete

(CBS Austin) A Tom Green Elementary School teacher has filed a lawsuit in connection to last month’s deadly Hays CISD school bus crash that killed a 5-year-old and a Texas doctoral student.

Texas school bus crash report reveals fourth vehicle involved, new details

(Fox 7 Austin) A new TxDOT report reveals new details in the deadly school bus crash in Bastrop County that killed a Tom Green Elementary School student and a UT graduate student.

Austin ISD could raise taxes, cut positions to help with potential $60M deficit

(KVUE) With budget challenges ahead, the Austin Independent School District (AISD) is focused on which positions it can eliminate.

Author of Texas DEI ban says fired UT professors are “consequences of making a change”

(CBS Austin) In an interview with CBS Austin days after the University of Texas at Austin announced it was closing its Division of Campus and Community Engagement office and reports of as many as dozens of UT professors out of a job, all in compliance with the state’s ban on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, the author of that law said those firings are “consequences of making a change.”

‘#NOTOURTEXAS’: Students post signs following closure announcement of Division of Campus and Community Engagement, faculty layoffs

(Daily Texan) Students posted hundreds of flyers and sticky notes with the message “#NOTOURTEXAS” on buildings, poles and notable landmarks on campus and in surrounding areas around midnight Tuesday — but by noon the next day, only a handful remained.

EXCLUSIVE: City of Uvalde hired investigator with no active shooter training to investigate Robb tragedy

(KSAT) The Austin area investigator hired by the City of Uvalde in July 2022 to conduct an independent investigation into the Robb Elementary shooting has no active shooter response training.

To close or stay open? Ahead of the eclipse, Texas schools weighed logistical hurdles versus learning opportunities

(Texas Tribune) In the weeks leading to the eclipse, Texas school districts within the path of totality weighed safety and organizational hurdles to decide whether to close or stay open that day.

Public blasts Texas agencies, regulators for poor communication and oversight at wildfire hearings

(Texas Tribune) The Texas legislative committee investigating this year’s deadly Panhandle wildfires blasted state agencies and regulators for failing to communicate — and began hinting at possible legal changes it could propose as it wrapped up its work.

International film crew stirs Keller ISD debate over separation of religion, education

(Fort Worth Report) Tensions between parents and Keller ISD leadership remain nearly two months after a film crew visited Central High School for a show called “God, Jesus, Trump!”

AG Ken Paxton says Texas ‘did not make any concession’ during hearing on Senate Bill 4

(Austin American-Statesman) Attorney General Ken Paxton is defending his office after the state’s solicitor general during a court hearing Wednesday on Texas’ immigration policy said the state might have “gone too far” with Senate Bill 4, a policy that would authorize state and local law enforcement officers to arrest, detain and deport people suspected of entering the U.S. in Texas from Mexico without legal authorization.

HISD to mandate certain Career and Technical Education programs at high schools next year

(Houston Chronicle) Houston ISD plans to require all comprehensive high schools to offer at least two new Career and Technical Education programs in certain subjects during the 2024-25 academic year.

Dallas schools leader touts wins, calls out Texas lawmakers for not boosting funding

(Dallas Morning News) Dallas schools are heading in the right direction despite inaction from Texas lawmakers, Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said during her annual State of the District address.

Former Texas House speaker says GOP megadonor Tim Dunn told him only Christians should hold leadership positions

(Texas Tribune) Former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus said on Thursday that Midland oil magnate Tim Dunn, one of the state’s most powerful and influential GOP megadonors, once told him that only Christians should hold leadership positions in the lower chamber.

Tarrant Appraisal District gives update on last month’s ransomware attack

(CBS Dallas) Discussions are ongoing with the Medusa ransomware group involved, according to board chair Vince Puente, as is a criminal investigation.

External report on heater failures at San Antonio ISD delayed again

(Texas Public Radio) In a video update released Thursday evening, Superintendent Jaime Aquino said the external report is coming as promised, and that they “anticipate receiving an executive summary” of that review “later this spring.”

Texas comptroller OKs incentives for $429 million Fort Worth project from Bell Textron

(Dallas Morning News) Bell is set to receive a 50% school tax abatement within Northwest Independent School District, which is in Denton County.

San Benito CISD attorney stands behind statements as insurance company investigates

(myRGV) The school district’s former contractor’s insurance company is contacting board members to clarify information surrounding its “investigation” into a $40 million bond-funded project entering the first year of a shutdown stemming from building foundation flaws.

Rocky superintendent exit, $133M bond shortfall define spirited Fort Bend ISD board races

(Houston Landing) “There has been a lot of distraction,” said Anderson, a former Fort Bend teacher. “It’s been comical, to say the least.”

Tearful boy ‘missing pieces of hair’ reveals abuse at home to teachers, Texas cops say

(Fort Worth Star-Telegram) “Great work school personnel for noticing and moving this investigation forward,” officials said.

Family wants answers as teen remains on life support at Fort Worth hospital

(NBC DFW) Relatives of Daniel Tamayo suspect he overdosed on the way to school Monday.

Texas wind energy firms need more technicians. Can they drum up student interest without state support?

(Texas Tribune) The wind industry promises attractive salaries. But a lack of training programs and waning political support make it difficult to find new recruits.

Former EPISD administrator sentenced to 30 years

(KVIA) A former El Paso ISD administrator will spend the next 30 years in prison for kidnapping and transportation for illegal sexual activity. At the time of the crime, Clay served as the Executive Director of Analytics, Strategy, and Assessment and Public Education Information Management Systems at EPISD.

Child care centers across San Antonio eligible for property tax breaks

(San Antonio Report) The City of San Antonio on Thursday approved property tax exemptions for child care facilities, expecting to help alleviate financial burdens on child care providers and working families.

GISD expands application for incentive program to include ‘all student-facing teachers’

(Greenville Herald Banner) Previously, GISD was applying to offer the TIA to its highest performing core teachers, but at the district’s school board meeting last month, trustees unanimously approved expanding the application to include “all student-facing teachers” – so that those who teach special education, electives, vocational and other special courses could also be eligible for the cash incentive.

Tyler ISD reports improvements in both cyber, campus security

(KLTV) We have blocked over 48 million spam, marketing and potential phishing emails from our district in less than a year, so over 80% of our mail that comes in is junk,” said Cyber Security Coordinator Daryl Kisosondi.

FWISD school nurses recently completed over 22 hours of training. Here’s what that means to students

(KERA) The series is key to arming nurses with knowledge and skills to tackle prevalent health issues among students, according to Medical City Healthcare.

Friendswood ISD resolving fireproofing issues within district

(Community Impact) Following issues concerning fireproofing at Friendswood ISD’s new Performing Arts Center at Friendswood High School, officials from both the district and the city of Friendswood have confirmed they are working toward a solution.

Fort Bend ISD faces lawsuit for alleged abuse of child, district calls claims ‘unsubstantiated’

(Fox 26 Houston) Fort Bend Independent School District is faced with a lawsuit from a family who claimed their 7-year-old child was abused by staff at an elementary school.

Houston-area Hindu temple sued over alleged branding of 11-year-old boy

(Houston Public Media) A Houston-area Hindu temple has been sued by a man who claims his 11-year-old son was branded with a hot iron rod during a 2023 religious ceremony that included about 100 people.

Ukrainian School of Austin serves growing community of refugee children

(Community Impact) Each Sunday, around 100 children gather at a private school in Bee Cave to attend the Ukrainian School of Austin—a free program dedicated to helping Ukrainian children preserve their language and culture.

April 4, 2024

Texas school district employees indicted amid ‘illegal electioneering’ allegations

(KFOX 14) Denton Independent School District employees Jesús and Lindsay Luján are accused of using their district-issued email accounts to encourage co-workers to vote in the state’s Republican primary elections.

NTSB opens investigation into deadly Hays CISD school bus crash

(CBS Austin) The NTSB sent a statement to CBS Austin stating it would not be sending a team or issuing any reports, findings, or conclusions, but rather gathering information that can be used in other school bus crash investigations they’re currently conducting.

UTSA to demolish Institute of Texan Cultures, house museum at Frost Tower

(San Antonio Report) UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said that the university remains committed to retaining and advancing the museum through its centennial in 2068, but that the demolition of the ITC building was key to that plan.

Texas, Biden administration take their battle over new immigration law to federal appeals court

(Texas Tribune) A federal appeals court heard arguments Wednesday from Texas and the federal government about whether it should continue blocking a new Texas law that would let state police arrest migrants suspected of entering the U.S. illegally.

HCC ordered to pay at least $281K in open records fight tied to $100M racial discrimination lawsuit

(Houston Chronicle) The order stems from litigation that Houston attorney Ben Hall filed in 2020, asking the court to force Houston Community College to release records he requested pertinent to a $100 million racial discrimination lawsuit against the college system.

HISD restores stipends for speech, debate teachers after previously removing them

(Houston Chronicle) Houston ISD has restored stipends for speech and debate sponsors for the 2024-25 school year after initially excluding them from the list of eligible employees. 

Column: What’s Going to Happen to the STAAR Scores With No Test Prep?

(Houston Press) This year, however, there will be no STAAR test prep in many of the HISD schools.

Higher teacher pay, fewer central staff positions planned for Dallas school budget

(Dallas Morning News) Dallas school leaders expect to cut central staff positions ― while also raising teacher salaries — as they build a budget that accounts for enrollment declines and stagnant state funding.

Eanes ISD’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee shares student-led initiatives and more

(Community Impact) Eanes ISD’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion advisory committee has been making strides to increase cultural awareness across the district, despite pushback that is occurring at the higher-education level.

Texas counties, cities embrace new child care center tax credit even though few providers qualify

(Texas Tribune) Child care centers are struggling to make ends meet, and a new voter-approved tax credit is a first step toward boosting the flagging system, advocates say.

San Antonio welcomes new school for inclusive early childhood education

(San Antonio Report) The Rise School’s new campus at CHRISTUS Children’s Hospital in downtown San Antonio will welcome two classrooms of 12 students in August, each serving half typically developing students and half those with special needs.

UT researcher policy brief reveals continued struggle for childcare access in Texas

(Daily Texan) Texas is in urgent need of accessible and affordable child care, according to a recent policy brief by UT researchers in the LBJ School of Public Affairs. 

North Texas Kids With Special Needs Build Confidence by Rock Climbing

(Dallas Observer) In indoor climbing gyms throughout Dallas-Fort Worth, kids with autism and other special needs are being included in an activity they might typically be excluded from.

UT Health San Antonio launches Be Well Institute for substance use research and treatment

(News Medical) The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) is establishing the Be Well Institute on Substance Use and Related Disorders, a pioneering initiative dedicated to advancing research, education and evidence-based treatments.

National gun safety group taps San Antonio politico to lead its uphill Texas efforts

(San Antonio Report) To oversee an expansion of its work in gun-loving Texas, the Giffords gun safety group has chosen a San Antonio native with extensive experience in the state’s Republican-led legislature.

Texas cattle industry facing crisis after wildfires, avian flu hit panhandle

(Center Square) The Texas cattle industry face a crisis after the largest wildfire in state history caused the death of thousands of beef cattle and now dairy cows for the first time have been infected by a bird flu outbreak.

Egg Prices Could Rise After Massive Texas Plant Shuts Down

(Newsweek) The price of eggs could shoot up after Cal-Maine Foods, one of the world’s largest egg producers, was forced to halt operations at its facilities in Texas due to detection of avian flu at the plant, a development that could impact supply and cost, an expert told Newsweek.

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April 3, 2024

UT-Austin announces round of firings in latest step to comply with Texas’ DEI ban

(Texas Tribune) The University of Texas at Austin has laid off dozens of employees who used to work in diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

UT community upset after DCCE closure, staff layoffs

(Daily Texan) The Division’s termination means some programs previously housed under the DCCE, including the Women’s Community Center, will also be dissolved. Approximately 60 individuals were fired, including 40 former employees of the DCCE, according to a joint press release from the Texas American Association of University Professors and the Texas NAACP.

Influential conservative PAC wades into Texas Legislature primaries

(Texas Tribune) Club for Growth announced it will spend $4 million on a TV ad targeting five anti-school voucher Texas House Republicans.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD officials prepare for budget cuts ahead of FY 2024-25

(Community Impact) Cypress-Fairbanks ISD is facing an estimated $68 million in budget cuts to reduce a projected $138.6 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2024-25 budget, Chief Financial Officer Karen Smith said during the April 1 board work session.

Montgomery County Adopts Citizen-Led Library Book Review Policy

(Texas Scorecard) The new policy puts citizens in charge of determining what taxpayer-funded library materials are appropriate for children and young adults.

Best private colleges in Texas

(KVIA) Stacker compiled a list of the best private colleges in Texas, using data from Niche released in 2024.

Austin Community College OKs free tuition program for eligible 2024 high school graduates

(Austin American-Statesman) The pilot program will cover the full $87 per credit hour fee for in-district 2024 high school graduates for three years and for an additional two years for students who decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree at ACC.

Brownsville ISD Teacher Incentive Allotment raises receive mixed reviews

(myRGV) Even as the Brownsville Independent School District trumpets $10 million to be paid to teachers through the Texas Education Agency’s Teacher Incentive Allotment, some teachers are questioning TEA’s system for distributing the funds.

Abbott’s order targeting antisemitism on Texas colleges violates rights, students say

(Dallas Morning News) Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order to address antisemitism at Texas colleges is “a masked, targeted attack to slow the student movement for liberation,” two student groups singled out in the order said in a statement Monday.

Nearly 2,000 Texas residents to receive $500 a month from relief program. What to know

(Austin American-Statesman) According to the report, 1,928 families have been selected from an estimated 83,000 applicants to receive $500 per month for 18 months as part of the program.

Argyle ISD board of trustees considers leasing spot for AT&T cell tower

(Community Impact) The tower would be owned and maintained by New Cingular Wireless Personal Communication Service LLC over a five-year lease that would generate about $2,000 a month for the district, Director of Operation Tommy Ledford said.

Data shows Eanes ISD average teacher salary only 1% below median market value

(Community Impact) Strategies are in place for Eanes ISD to increase or build upon its teacher and staff salaries to compete with other districts in the market.

El Paso ISD announces 2024-25 initiatives: bilingual education, resource centers, algebra

(KFOX 14) El Paso Independent School District recently unveiled a slate of new educational initiatives to coincide with its 2024-25 school year registration, which opens Monday.

La Porte ISD receives National Recognition for music education

(Fox 26 Houston) La Porte ISD has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education, according to a release.

Explainer: IDEA Public Schools is under TEA conservatorship. What does that mean?

(Fort Worth Star-Telegram) Last month, Texas Education Agency officials announced plans to place IDEA Public Schools, the state’s largest public charter school network, under state conservatorship after reports of financial mismanagement.

Texas maternal mortality committee can’t review abortion records, creating questions about data

(Houston Chronicle) For a decade, a Texas committee has counted and investigated maternal deaths in the state, producing legislative reports that help shape public health policy for new and expectant mothers.

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton Announces Edu­ca­tion­al Part­ner­ship Between OAG Cold Case and Miss­ing Per­sons Unit and Texas State Uni­ver­si­ty School of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice and Criminology

(Press Release) Attorney General Ken Paxton has announced a partnership between the Office of the Attorney General and Texas State University to facilitate educational opportunities and bring more investigative power to solving cold cases.

Ransomware Gangs Targeting Backups To Maximize Payoffs

(TechNewsWorld) The research, sponsored by Sophos and based on a survey of nearly 3,000 IT and security professionals across 14 countries, found that 94% of organizations hit by ransomware in the past year said that the threat actors attempted to compromise their backups during the attack.

Lindale takes step towards ending underage smoking, vaping

(KLTV) The Lindale City Council passed an ordinance on Tuesday night that will not allow any future vape or tobacco shops to open within 1,000 feet of a school, church, park or daycare.

Texas poultry facility to destroy 1.6 million hens after positive bird flu test

(KXAN) The Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. poultry facility in Farwell will need to destroy 1.6 million laying hens and 337,000 pullets at that facility, which is approximately 3.6% of the company’s total flock, due to U.S. Department of Agriculture poultry infections guidance. Pullets are young female chicks.

Hartzell dismisses Teaching Assistants’ final grievance

(Daily Texan) After the University dismissed two teaching assistants from their positions in November for sending a Canvas message about the Israel-Hamas war, they spent the next four months defending their case to the University. On March 13, they received an email from University President Jay Hartzell informing them he dismissed their efforts and grievances.

April 2, 2024

State Board of Education again delays discussion on whether to approve new Native studies course

(Texas Tribune) The Texas State Board of Education once again will delay voting on whether to approve an American Indian/Native Studies class, to the disappointment of supporters who have championed the material since 2020.

Employer of man charged in deadly bus crash did not perform background check before hiring, documents show

(KVUE) Documents show Jerry Hernandez had three positive drug tests. His employer also allegedly did not check his background before hiring.

Texas school bus crash: Truck driver was not allowed to drive at time of crash

(Fox 7 Austin) The concrete truck driver involved in a deadly school bus crash was not allowed to drive a commercial vehicle at the time of the incident in Bastrop County, according to the federal government.

1.7 million Texas households are set to lose monthly internet subsidy

(Texas Tribune) The program is slated to run out of money at the end of the month.

Mercedes ISD settles gender discrimination lawsuit with former super

(myRGV) Discrimination lawsuit filed by former superintendent Carolyn Mendiola against her former employer, Mercedes ISD, has been settled.

Years ago, Texas hustled to get kids on state health care. Now it’s kicking them off

(Texas Tribune) Texas’ recent unwinding of Medicaid and CHIP has been criticized, dropping more than a million people eligible for the health insurance programs. Decades ago, Texas officials got kids health insurance in record time.

Behind the scenes of Houston ISD teacher evaluation rollout: TEA called classroom observation approach ‘odd,’ liaison said training sessions ‘much larger than is recommended’

(Houston Public Media) TEA called Houston ISD’s classroom observation approach ‘odd,’ school staffers describe continuing confusion.

Person is diagnosed with bird flu after being in contact with cows in Texas

(AP) A person in Texas has been diagnosed with bird flu, an infection tied to the recent discovery of the virus in dairy cows, health officials said Monday.

‘Difficult Decisions Are Being Made’ as DISD Reassigns Staff and Teachers

(Dallas Observer) Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde has been laying the groundwork for a district realignment for months, and some staff started feeling its effects this week. “We’re not going to have additional funds coming in,” a district spokesperson said. “This is a challenge that every district is facing.”

Loss of pandemic-era funding impacts Corpus Christi ISD after-school program ISD after-school program

(Corpus Christi Caller-Times) As pandemic-era education funding disappears, Corpus Christi ISD is bracing for impacts to learning loss recovery efforts like its after-school program.

North Texas ISDs Face Hard Choices

(Dallas Express) Officials in Richardson, Fort Worth, Plano, Keller, and Irving ISD are some of the latest to grapple with difficult decisions regarding budgetary constraints.

Texas school districts face tipping point with incoming budget cuts, measures taken to prevent resignations

(North Texas Daily) School districts across the state are bracing for substantial budget cuts and layoffs as they plan for the upcoming school year. The cripplingly insufficient financial support and politicization of state government funds has led to a decline of education and the elimination of critical resources for students.

‘It has been a great honor’: Uvalde Mayor Cody Smith abruptly resigns effective immediately

(Austin American-Statesman) Uvalde Mayor Cody Smith abruptly resigned from office Monday, citing undisclosed health concerns for his early departure after having secured the position in November in an election inextricably linked to the 2022 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.

Civil rights organizations, UT’s Palestine Solidarity Committee condemn Abbott’s executive order regarding university free speech policies

(Daily Texan) Civil rights organizations and UT’s Palestine Solidarity Committee claimed that Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order for state universities to update and enforce free speech policies is discriminatory and violates the First Amendment.

‘Stripped away’: UNT students of color, DACA recipients see resources ebb after DEI ban takes hold

(KERA) Some UNT students said the new state law that bans diversity, equity and inclusion programs sponsored by public universities has created confusion. They said they now must deal with the loss of funding, meeting spaces and resources, in addition to missing what had been a welcoming atmosphere.

Texas A&M University organizations react to Gov. Abbott’s executive order to revise university free speech policies

(KBTX) “We see it as a misrepresentation to justify a violation of our first amendment, and there’s no moral basis for this censorship,” said Karam Emran, Texas A&M Palestinian Solidarity Committee President.

UT extends enrollment deposit deadline for admitted students to June 1 amid financial aid delays

(Daily Texan) The University now allows admitted students to extend their enrollment deposit deadline to June 1 due to nationwide delays in processing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Student accused of terror threat towards Longview school arrested

(KLTV) A student is in custody after allegedly making a terroristic threat towards Pine Tree Middle School on Sunday.

Texas Tech awarded approximately $2.5 million from DOE for Cybersecurity Center

(KCBD) The project is part of a $15 million investment from the DOE to establish six university-based electric power cybersecurity centers across the country.

Goodwill to serve high schoolers from planned Career Resource Center in East Lubbock

(KCBD) Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas is bringing a new store location and Career Resource Center to East Lubbock. CEO and President Robin Raney says the Pathways to Success Project will focus on helping high schoolers begin and maintain successful careers.

San Antonio could soon get its first crisis nursery

(San Antonio Report) The City of San Antonio is exploring options to create a “crisis nursery” — an overnight shelter for children at immediate risk of abuse or neglect — and is kicking off the process by identifying the overall need in the community and the city’s capacity to provide services.

Tesla Giga Texas is Austin’s largest private employer: Report

(TeslaRati) Tesla has been heavily involved in local Independent School Districts since before Giga Texas was built.

April 1, 2024

Texas Native American studies course further delayed, triggering frustration

(Dallas Morning News) State Board of Education chairman Aaron Kinsey, R-Midland, confirmed in a statement an initial vote on the American Indian/Native Studies course standards will not be on April’s agenda.

Texas school bus crash: Truck driver charged with negligent homicide

(Fox 7 Austin) The cement truck driver involved in the deadly crash with a Hays CISD school bus and another vehicle was charged and arrested on Friday afternoon at a residence in Bastrop County, Texas DPS said.

Nearly two years after the Uvalde massacre, here’s who has been reprimanded and where investigations stand

(Texas Tribune) “For the most part, we just feel like we’ve been let down,” said Jesse Rizo, an uncle to 9-year-old Jackie Cazares, who died during the May 2022 shooting.

Tuition rates at private Texas colleges are about to get a lot higher. Here’s by how much and when

(Houston Chronicle) A difficult economic outlook has forced several Texas universities to increase tuition for the 2024-2025 academic year, after many institutions around the country tried to hold their rates relatively flat during the pandemic.

Senate Education Committee is warning universities to comply with anti-DEI law. Here’s why

(Austin American-Statesman) The Senate Education Committee is holding a hearing in May for university system chancellors and general counsels to lay out how their institutions are ensuring that there are no DEI offices or training, no diversity statements in hiring and only merit-based employment offers with no considerations for race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

Citing ‘Significant Contribution,’ Dallas College Not Using HB 8 To Waive Tuition

(Dallas Observer) House Bill 8 will help Texas community colleges assist more new students, but not all college systems are using the new funds the same way.

Chronic absenteeism rises in El Paso schools post-pandemic

(El Paso Matters) While most El Paso schools don’t track their overall chronic absenteeism rates, some school leaders said average daily attendance has improved since the 2021-22 school year but has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Fort Worth ISD board approves contract to start closure of Forest Oak Sixth Grade

(Fort Worth Report) Facing a $40 million budget shortfall, decreasing enrollment and low student performance, Fort Worth ISD declared last week its intention to close a second school beginning in the 2024-25 school year.

DX Spotlights Troubled Dallas ISD Campus

(Dallas Express) While the Texas Education Agency continues to keep the latest accountability reports for the state’s public school systems under wraps due to a lawsuit, The Dallas Express is putting a spotlight on one of Dallas ISD’s underperforming campuses.

EPA Finalizes Emissions Standards for School Buses, Other Heavy Vehicles

(School Bus Fleet) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized greenhouse gas pollution standards for heavy-duty vehicles, including school buses, for model years 2027 through 2032.

Digital Academy of Texas Now Enrolling for 2024-25 School Year

(Business Wire) Digital Academy of Texas (DATX), which offers tuition-free online education for students in grades 5-12, is now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 school year.

We asked 14 HISD students how school has changed under a year of Mike Miles’ leadership

(Houston Landing) With the better part of the school year in the books, the Houston Landing interviewed 14 HISD teens from 12 different schools — including five overhauled campuses — over the last three weeks to hear their first-hand accounts of the changes.

China Spring High School senior sinks half-court shot, wins $25K at Rockets game

(KWTX) Zach May made a half-court shot during halftime of the Rockets game against the Dallas Mavericks and won $25,000!

Former Palmview teacher faces life sentence after posing as teen, exploiting minor online

(ValleyCentral) Juan Carlos Munoz, 42, pleaded guilty to coercion and enticement of a minor, according to federal records.

Former Cy-Falls HS teacher sentenced to 9 years for having improper relationship with a student

(KTRK) Ennis Hernandez pleaded guilty to inducing a child into sexual performance and having an improper relationship with a student. In each case, he was sentenced to nine years, but both sentences must be served concurrently.

Former MacArthur High School Truancy Officer Arrested for Child Grooming

(Irving Weekly) On Thursday morning, Irving Police Officers arrested 32-year-old Miranda Julissa Montoya. Montoya is charged with Child Grooming and Sexual Performance of a Child.

March 29, 2024

Affidavit: Truck driver admits to cocaine use hours before fatal Hays CISD school bus crash

(Austin American-Statesman) The driver of the concrete truck that struck a Hays school district bus carrying 44 prekindergarten students on Friday, causing the deaths of one student and a driver behind the bus, said he only got three hours of sleep before starting his shift and had used cocaine earlier that morning.

UT Journalism professor speaks on loss of Ryan Wallace, victim in school bus crash

(CBS Austin) CBS Austin spoke on Thursday with Kathleen McElroy, a former UT professor of 33-year-old Ryan Wallace, the man killed in the Bastrop-Caldwell school bus crash last Friday.

Texas GOP officials condemn Charles Butt, chair of San Antonio’s H-E-B

(San Antonio Current) GOP officials in Brazoria, Harris, Trinity and Tyler counties passed resolutions last Saturday denouncing H-E-B and Butt for “advocating for policies contrary to the Republican Party of Texas platform,” reports right-leaning news site The Texan. Those policies include advocating against “election integrity,” sponsoring “drag queen shows for children,” providing food to the less fortunate and lobbying “against parents’ God-given rights and against empowering parents to choose the education that is best for their children.

More funding, staff needed to keep Fort Bend ISD in compliance with federal special ed requirements

(Community Impact ) Increasing student enrollment in Fort Bend ISD has led to an increase in the number of students requiring special education services, and the district is struggling to keep up with the demand, said Deena Hill, executive director of student support services.

Spring Branch ISD parents raise $570K to fund programs cut in budget crisis

(Houston Chronicle) Former students, future SPIRAL parents and business donors. The SPIRAL parents were even able to set up a corporate matching program up to $100,000 in the last two days of the fundraiser.

Tone shift: Unified South San ISD board vows to reverse budget deficit

(San Antonio Report) The South San Antonio Independent School District board of trustees came together during one of the most unified meetings in years Wednesday night, just in time to hear what it will take to slash an estimated $4.4 million projected deficit and adopt a balanced budget by a September deadline set by the Texas Education Agency.

Go to jail? Why the Eanes school board asked a political candidate to stop using its logo

(Austin American-Statesman) The Eanes school district has decided not to file a temporary restraining order against a school board candidate after he agreed to stop using the district’s official logo in campaign materials.

Parental avoidance of toxic exposures could help prevent autism, ADHD in children, new study shows

(Science Daily) Autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be preventable if parents avoid toxic exposures and adopt interventions such as environmental house calls, according to a published study led by researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio).

Texas could require social media influencers to disclose paid political posts

(Texas Public Radio) Texas’ top campaign finance watchdog gave initial approval last week to a proposal that would require social media users to disclose if they are being paid to share or create political advertisements.

Pastors, Residents Speak Out Against Sexually Explicit Books at Fort Bend ISD Board Meeting

(Texas Scorecard) A group of pastors, parents, and community leaders concerned about explicit books in kids’ libraries confronted the Fort Bend Independent School District Board of Trustees this week.

What is a ransomware attack? This expert says Tarrant County should’ve seen this coming

(Fort Worth Star-Telegram) In the throes of a ransomware attack, the Tarrant County Appraisal District is mulling over whether to pay the hackers’ $700,000 ransom demand.

Texas appeals court overturns voter fraud conviction for woman on probation

(AP) A Texas appeals court has overturned a Fort Worth woman’s voter fraud conviction and five-year prison term for casting an illegal provisional ballot.

McCombs dealership Native American statue now at San Antonio-area high school

(San Antonio Current) A representative of a Native American group said he’s frustrated a San Antonio-area school district is now displaying a statue of an Indigenous American man in a feathered headdress that was removed from a Red McCombs Automotive dealership last July.

New Alamo Colleges District program meant to increase access for student transfers

(Community Impact) District officials said the initiative will lead to the creation of a planning portal, which will facilitate a seamless process for ACD students seeking to transfer their credits to four-year colleges and universities where they can further pursue a degree.

UNT Will Offer an Industry-Focused Commercial Music Degree Aimed at Musicians Who Want To Make a Living

(Dallas Observer) The new degree program, which launches in fall of 2025, aims to combine artistry and entrepreneurship to produce business-savvy working musicians.

Texas State Employees Union calls on UT to raise University workers’ pay by $10,000 across-the-board

(Daily Texan) University workers called for a $10,000 raise for all full-time campus workers, and a proportional raise for part-time employees, at a rally outside the Tower on March 20.

Gender-based “Genderbread person” assignment at Santa Fe High School causing concern among parents, state officials

(Click 2 Houston) Parents are angry after a high school junior taking a college-level psychology class was given a gender-based assignment. They’re not the only ones sounding off; the issue has caught the attention of state officials. One state senator saying it’s illegal.

A Baylor Scientist Transforms Education for the Blind

(Texas Monthly) Inspired by his son, Bryan Shaw is leading a team that’s reenvisioning the college chemistry lab.

March March 28, 2024

Hays CISD releases video from deadly Tom Green Elementary school bus crash

(Austin American-Statesman) Video obtained by the American-Statesman on Wednesday of the deadly Hays school district bus crash in Bastrop County last week shows a commercial concrete truck heading east on Texas 21 veer into the westbound lane of the highway, striking the school bus and causing it to completely roll over before landing on its side.

Local school districts explain why some school buses have seat belts and others don’t amidst safety concerns

(KWTX) Two separate school bus accidents in Texas, just days apart, have left many concerned about the safety of kids who ride the bus and wondering why not all school buses have seat belts.

Governor Abbott Appoints Weir To State Board For Educator Certification

(Governor’s Office) Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Bobbie Lynn Weir to the State Board for Educator Certification for a term set to expire on February 1, 2027. The Board develops certification and continuing education requirements and standards of conduct for public school teachers.

Appeals court keeps controversial Texas immigration law on hold

(CNN) A controversial Texas law that allows state officials to arrest and detain people they suspect of entering the country illegally will remain blocked while legal challenges to it play out, a federal appeals court said Tuesday.

Senate Committee to Oversee Universities’ Implementation of DEI Ban

(Texas Scorecard) The chair of the Senate’s Education Committee has outlined the process of how higher education institutions are to expel Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives in letters to the chancellors of Texas’ state-funded universities.

Gov. Abbott issues executive order fighting antisemitism at Texas colleges

(Dallas Morning News) Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Wednesday aimed at fighting what his office called an increase in antisemitism at Texas’ colleges and universities.

To save money, Denton ISD freezes hiring and postpones opening of new elementary

(KERA) Because of budget constraints, Denton ISD officials have frozen 78 staff vacancies ahead of the 2024-25 school year and delayed the opening of Fred Hill Elementary School in Little Elm.

Third suspect pleads guilty in shooting of Paschal student at Fort Worth Whataburger

(Fort Worth Star-Telegram) Daniel Reed will spend 13 years in prison for his role in the 2023 shooting that killed one Paschal High School student and wounded another at a Whataburger near the Fort Worth campus.

Abbott’s Voucher Allies Land New State Education Roles

(Texas Signal Media Foundation) At the rightwing conference, Abbott also announced two new plum gigs for staunch voucher allies: State Rep. Brad Buckley and State Senator Brandon Creighton. Buckley and Creighton are now appointees to the Education Commission of the States (ECS). The Commission is over fifty years old and serves as an “interstate compact on education policy.”

Alamo Colleges lowers tuition for students who live outside Bexar County

(Texas Public Radio) Starting this fall, students who live in neighboring counties will pay $180 per credit hour instead of $225. The cost per credit hour for Bexar County residents will remain $109.

Once the Texas GOP’s ‘weak link,’ Attorney General Ken Paxton is growing more popular, powerful

(KERA) The outlook is now considerably brighter for Paxton, whose political stock continued its ascent this week when prosecutors agreed to drop the nine-year-old fraud charges if he fulfills the terms of a pretrial agreement. It was another major vindication for Paxton after the Senate acquitted him of the House’s impeachment charges last fall, bringing him one step closer to a political career devoid of legal drama and burnishing his reputation among the party’s most conservative flank as a fighter who has defied political “persecution.”

UT Austin semiconductor master’s program to launch in 2025

(Community Impact) The University of Texas at Austin officials announced March 20 that a new Master of Science in Engineering with a major in semiconductor science and engineering program will be offered next fall.

How Investment In Education R&D By Texas Policy Leaders Could Spur Economic Growth

(Forbes) Texas has a rich history as a leader in innovation. State policy leaders could help it have an even richer future as a leader in R&D education.

March 27, 2024

Former Donna High School students get probation for planning school shooting

(MyRGV) The two Donna High School teenagers who conspired to shoot up their school in 2022 pleaded guilty on Monday and were sentenced to 10 years probation, according to court documents.

Progreso mayor fired by school district after drug arrest

(Valley Central) The Progreso Independent School District fired Mayor Gerardo “Jerry” Alanis on Monday after he was accused of participating in a scheme to store drugs on campus. Alanis worked for the Progreso ISD Technology Department and coached the boys soccer team at Progreso High School.

Gov. Greg Abbott revives the Texas Space Commission in Houston

(Houston Chronicle) From inside the Johnson Space Center in Houston on Tuesday, Abbott officially revived the Texas Space Commission more than 20 years after it shuttered. The Republican leader introduced the newly appointed nine-member board of directors who will be leading the advancement of human space exploration in Texas. ) Text

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton cuts deal to have fraud charges dropped, trial canceled

(Texas Public Radio) Paxton must complete 100 hours of community service, take 15 hours of legal ethics courses and pay around $270,000 in restitution to his accusers.

Northside ISD defends selective raises, board votes to deny union grievance

(San Antonio Report) After a brief discussion in the executive session, the board voted 5-2 to deny the grievance, with union-backed Trustee David Salcido and Trustee Karla Duran voting against the motion.

‘We’re done’: Spring Branch ISD Board votes to keep name on building

(Houston Chronicle) Former Superintendent Duncan Klussmann’s name will remain on the Spring Branch Educational Center, the board voted unanimously Monday, after residents said they opposed the trustees’ proposal to remove his name after he published a critical op-ed in the Houston Chronicle.

Delayed financial aid forms trickle into UTEP, higher ed campuses

(El Paso Matters) The information that colleges and universities need to prepare financial aid offers for the millions of students who want to attend those institutions started to arrive at the campuses two weeks ago – about three months behind schedule.

North Texas School Districts, Facing Low Enrollment and Budget Shortfalls, Close Campuses

(Dallas Observer) Some school districts, including in Richardson, Irving, Plano and Fort Worth, lack millions of dollars and need higher enrollment, leaving difficult decisions to be made.

Round Rock ISD establishes plan for legislative advocacy

(Community Impact) RRISD approved on March 21 a plan outlining how the board may invite community members to participate in the formation of legislative priorities over the next three years, as well as engage in state and local level advocacy with the goal of working with legislators to identify creative funding solutions, as well as address concerns related to House Bill 3 and other priorities.

Irving ISD Board Approves Salary Increase for 2024-2025 School Year

(Irving Weekly) At the March 25, 2024 meeting, the Irving Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees made a significant decision regarding employee compensation for the upcoming school year.

Denton DA Fails to Respond to Voters’ School Electioneering Allegations

(Texas Scorecard) Texas Scorecard has contacted Johnson’s office three times regarding the case but has received no response.

PWN like a Pro

(Thompson & Horton LLP) Does your team write prior written notices that communicate clearly to parents and protect the district in case of a dispute? Or are the PWNs somewhat lacking?

Small nuclear reactors may be coming to Texas, boosted by interest from Gov. Abbott

(Texas Tribune) A nuclear power plant hasn’t been built in Texas in decades because of cost and public fears of a major accident. Now the governor wants to find out if smaller reactors could meet the state’s growing need for on-demand power.

Texas colleges risk millions if they break DEI ban, lawmaker says

(Dallas Morning News) Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, announced Tuesday that he sent a letter to Texas university leaders reinforcing the expectations and oversight process of the ban he authored aimed at keeping diversity, equity and inclusion programs out of state schools.

UISD attendance dips amid threat concerns

(KGNS) United I-S-D schools remained on high alert on Tuesday, March 26 after a threat of gun violence surfaced on Monday, March 25. Across the district, attendance saw a decline as concerned parents opted to keep their children at home after the threat circulated on social media.

North Texas teacher changes name to Literally Anybody Else to run for U.S. president

(Dallas Morning News) Formerly known as Dustin Ebey, Else said he is deeply unhappy with 2024 presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump so he legally changed his name in January to make a point.

Cash App payment returned to North Texas teacher after she was left ‘penniless’

(NBC DFW) retired North Texas teacher said that her money has been returned to her after reporting that strangers somehow stole nearly $10,000 she had just taken out of her retirement fund.

March 26, 2024

Socorro ISD Superintendent Carman placed on administrative leave after audit presentation

(El Paso Matters) Monday’s meeting added to the turmoil surrounding El Paso’s second-largest school district: Carman is taking a new job as superintendent of a small Arizona school district, the district faces a $33 million budget deficit, and the Texas Education Agency is preparing to place one or more conservators to help oversee the district after a four-year investigation found numerous governance problems in Socorro.

Hackers demand $700,000 ransom from Tarrant Appraisal District, attorney says

(NBC DFW) An attorney representing the Tarrant Appraisal District says the agency received a ransom demand for $700,000 from a group of hackers taking responsibility for last week’s attack on their computer network.

Many Houston charter schools are violating state transparency laws. Here’s why it’s an issue

(Houston Landing) Many Houston-area charter schools are violating state transparency laws designed to make school governance and financial decisions open to the public, a pattern that has drawn minimal scrutiny from state officials.

A Faltering But Not Destroyed Pro-Union Firewall

(Texas Scorecard) Will Gov. Abbott’s efforts be spoiled by anti-school choice Parent PAC’s wildcard?

Texas Fund’s BlackRock Pullout Marks Latest Anti-ESG Broadside

(Chief Investment Officer) The Texas Permanent School Fund’s move to pull $8.5 billion from BlackRock Inc. is the latest eruption in an ongoing red-state backlash against asset managers’ environmental, social and governance investing. As a result, Wall Street managers are continuing to move away from the ESG label.

After Texas’s DEI Ban, College Students Are Reconsidering State Schools

(The Nation) “It seems as though we are taking a step back in reforming an ideal, equitable society,” says Samantha Alvarez, a freshman at UT Austin studying Public Relations. “Coming from a family of immigrants, knowing UT eliminated a scholarship program for undocumented students is both frustrating and saddening.”

EPCC pleased with early results of 8-week semester pilot program

(El Paso Matters) Jesus Flores, a multidisciplinary studies major at El Paso Community College, has completed four eight-week minimesters since the fall 2023 semester and said that he likes the courses because they are less stressful to him

Child and adult killed in fatal school bus crash identified by Hays CISD, DPS officials

(CBS Austin) Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, a pre-kindergarten student at Tom Green Elementary School in Buda, died in the crash on Friday, March 22 after the school bus he and 43 other classmates were riding in was hit head-on by a cement truck that swerved into their lane on Highway 21 near the Bastrop-Caldwell county line around 2 p.m. The driver of a car following behind the bus also died in the crash. He was identified as 33-year-old Ryan Wallace from Bastrop, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

School bus driver taken to hospital with injury following early morning crash in Fairfield, no students injured

(KCEN) According to Fairfield ISD, no students were injured in the crash, and the weather conditions likely were a factor in what caused the accident.

19% of Texas school districts, charters did not report bus crash data last year

(KXAN) The agency’s data shows that 233 districts and charters did not report school bus crash data for the 2022-23 school year. KXAN investigators discovered this following last week’s deadly bus crash in Hays CISD. (See also this earlier TexEdNews article.)

Arlington ISD faces layoffs with COVID-era ESSER grants coming to an end

(NBC DFW) About 275 staffers in the Arlington Independent School District will be out of a job at the end of the school year as the district cuts positions funded by expiring ESSER grants.

Did Crowley ISD trustee Mia Hall breach Texas Election Code? Attorney weighs in

(KERA) Crowley ISD trustee Mia Hall faces accusations of misusing public funds and school district resources for political campaigning.

Higher education in Texas: What lawmakers hope to tackle in the 89th legislative session

(Austin American-Statesman) With the 89th legislative session set to begin in January, Texas’ higher education is again in the crosshairs, with Republican and Democratic lawmakers having disparate views on postsecondary education, officials told the American-Statesman.

UTPB launches Direct Admissions program for high school seniors

(CBS 7) The University of Texas Permian Basin has launched a new direct admissions program with Ector County ISD and Midland ISD.

Largest gift in OLLU history will fund first-generation college students

(San Antonio Report) Our Lady of the Lake University is set to receive a $2.2 million grant from the Hector and Gloria López Foundation, the largest private gift in the history of the university.

How Visually Impaired Students Can ‘Get a Feel for Eclipses’

(Dallas Observer) Nontraditional methods can give the visually impaired a feel for the upcoming solar eclipse.

Round Rock ISD will not cancel school for April 8 eclipse

(Community Impact) Round Rock ISD will proceed with the school day as planned, district officials said, and will facilitate a viewing of the eclipse for all students on that day.

Texas district judge blocks Ken Paxton’s demands for PFLAG gender-affirming care records

(Austin American-Statesman) A Travis County state District Court on Monday blocked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton from demanding information from a nationwide LGBTQ+ organization about its support for families seeking gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths, finding that there is “a substantial likelihood” that the nonprofit’s case against the state “will prevail after a trial on the merits.”

March 25, 2024
Concrete truck veers into Hays CISD school bus on field trip, killing child and adult

(CBS Austin) A Hays CISD school bus carrying 44 children and 11 adults was struck head-on by a concrete truck on State Highway 21 near Caldwell Road in Bastrop County on Friday afternoon, killing one child on the bus and an adult male in a vehicle following the bus.

GoFundMe raises over $50k for victims of fatal school bus crash in Bastrop County

(CBS Austin)  A GoFundMe set up by the Community Leadership Team of Tom Green Elementary has raised over $50,000 for those affected by a fatal school bus crash in Bastrop County.

Driver killed after rear-ending Alief ISD school bus, no students injured, HPD says

(ABC 13 Houston) An Alief ISD spokesperson told ABC13 that the students on the bus were coming back from an out of city event.

TEA report exposes widespread failings at Socorro ISD

(El Paso Matters) The Socorro Independent School District violated the Texas Education Code by graduating students who did not meet requirements, failing to disclose Trustee Paul Guerra’s connections to a vendor used by the district, and paying $283,000 in unauthorized stipends, according to a report released Friday by the Texas Education Agency.

Is a ‘school choice’ proposal possible in Texas in 2025? How $12M influenced GOP primaries

(Austin American-Statesman) Major political donors, with the largest contributions coming from out of state, supporting Texas GOP primary candidates friendly to “school choice” proposals, or voucher programs, vastly outspent those donating to incumbents who oppose such proposals in 20 key Texas House races, according to an American-Statesman analysis of campaign finance data.

Over 1,200 students competed at the Texas Science and Engineering fair

(KBTX) This is Texas A&M’s 6th year hosting the Texas Science and Engineering Fair after A&M became the permanent home for the fair in 2019.

Mike Miles says community pushback, ‘new voices’ influenced reversal on HISD principal screenings

(Houston Chronicle) Houston ISD has made little progress in the past decade addressing long-standing inequities in higher education access for its high school graduates, according to data from the district’s latest postsecondary enrollment report. 

Houston ISD has long reported racial disparities in college access. It got worse for 2022 graduates

(Houston Chronicle) Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles admitted Friday that widespread community outrage around the planned use of a “proficiency screening” to appraise principals affected his decision to reverse course and remove the screening from the eligibility criteria for school leadership positions next year.

“Terms, Conditions, or Privileges”: Fifth Circuit Applies New Hamilton Standard to Find Potential Discrimination in School District’s Failure to Pay for Superintendent Leadership Academy

(Thompson & Horton LLP) As mentioned in our prior post about the Fifth Circuit’s August 2023 opinion in Hamilton v. Dallas County, employees no longer must allege discrimination in an “ultimate employment decision” to state a claim under Title VII. Instead, Hamilton established a new standard more closely tied to the statutory language of Title VII that allows employees to state a viable Title VII discrimination claim based on allegations that they faced discrimination in any “adverse employment decision.”

Ramadan finds greater recognition in America’s public schools

(San Antonio Report) Amaarah DeCuir, who researches Muslim student experiences, offers insights into how public schools can move toward greater recognition of the sacred Islamic month.

In inauguration address, President Tomikia LeGrande vows to bring Prairie View A&M ’eminence’

(Houston Chronicle) Prairie View A&M University inaugurated Tomikia P. LeGrande as its ninth president Friday, ushering in a renewed promise to improve student success and research innovation at the historically Black university.

Dallas ISD teacher is shaping the future of science education nationwide

(Texas Metro News) — Martin Osae, the Carnegie Honor Mathematics at West Dallas STEM School Program at Pinkston, has been selected to be part of the steering panel for the 2028 National Assessment of Educational Progress Science (NAEP) Assessment Framework project.

Houston Community College offering free technology certificates in partnership with Google

(Community Impact) — Through a partnership with Google, Houston Community College is offering a new “Grow with Google” technology certificate program for up to 500 students free of charge.

Cursive helps these Tarrant County students with their writing, confidence, reading

(Fort Worth Report) — Gary, 10, wasn’t learning cursive just for his signature. Instead, he and three of his fellow fifth graders wield the rapidly disappearing handwriting technique to boost their confidence at school, improve their reading and learn in a way that matches how they think.