The weekend is here! Catch up on this week’s education news from ATPE:
The State Board of Education (SBOE) met in Austin this week, and ATPE Lobbyist Mark Wiggins was there to cover it all. He has a series of posts up on the blog reporting on outcomes of the board’s week-long agenda. Here is a quick wrap-up, with links to the extended posts:
- Members of the SBOE steering committee for the Long-Range Plan (LRP) for Public Education met Monday to tackle the beginnings of a report due this fall. The committee focused its work on developing vision statements and recommendations on four primary topics: student engagement; family engagement and empowerment; equity of access; and teacher preparation, recruitment, and retention.
- The board officially kicked off its work on Wednesday. Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath offered a report to members of the board, updating them on the agency’s corrective action plan for special education, Texas’s results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and this week’s STAAR testing glitches. Wednesday also included a preliminary vote to develop curriculum standards for a Mexican-American studies course.
- Committees of the board met on Thursday. The Committee on Instruction considered dyslexia related changes that involved amending administrative rules and making changes to the Dyslexia Handbook, while the Committee on School Initiatives advanced recent State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) rule changes to the full board for final action. Thursday also included a presentation on the findings from SBOE stakeholder round-tables held throughout the state.
- The board wrapped its work on Friday, where members heard from Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) 2017 Superintendent of the Year LaTonya Goffney and Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) 2018 Teacher of the Year Tara Bordeaux. The board also gave final approval to several items addressed earlier in the week.
The board is scheduled to meet again this summer.
During his address to the SBOE on Wednesday, Commissioner Morath gave some potential insight into how the state will address accountability for school districts affected by Hurricane Harvey. In light of significant student displacement, delayed starts to the school year, and various other Harvey-related struggles impacting a number of school districts this year, superintendents and others in Harvey-affected districts have called on the Commissioner to offer accountability relief from the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). While the Commissioner initially argued such a move was not likely because teachers and students needed to be held accountable for their learning (he also refused to delay test dates for Harvey-affected students, despite requests), his tune changed slightly this week. He this time told members of the board that he will consider waiving STAAR scores in Harvey-affected districts. Learn more about the Commissioner’s announcement in this piece from the Texas Tribune.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released a framework for the new accountability system this week. The system was most recently revised by the 85th Texas Legislature under House Bill (HB) 22; initial adoption of an A-F accountability system was passed during the previous legislative session in 2015. The system is broken down into three domains that are focused on student achievement, school progress, and closing the gaps. Schools and districts will receive an individual A, B, C, D, or F score for each domain as well as a summative score based on a compilation of all three domains. Learn more about the framework in this post from ATPE Lobbyist Mark Wiggins.