Tweens at Risk of Dropping out before High School

Chandra Kring Villanueva

Texas students in grades four through eight (known as “the middle grades”) are considered at-risk in the education pipeline. These “tweens” are at a make or break period for determining future academic success. Research has shown that students who are not proficient in reading by the beginning of fourth grade are four times more likely […]

House Public Education Committee takes on School Finance Reform with HB 21

Chandra Kring Villanueva

You can print out a copy of this post as a 2-pager here. Delivering on their promise to address the minimally constitutional school finance system this session, the House Public Education Committee heard HB 21 by Chairman Dan Huberty. HB 21 is a good first step toward improving the school finance system because it aims […]

How Texas Education Chief Gave $100 Million to Rich Homeowners

Dick Lavine

Recently the Texas Education Commissioner changed the interpretation of a long-standing statue in order to give $100 million to wealthy homeowners in wealthy school districts. KEY TAKEAWAYS: *It’s understandable that school districts have concerns about the underfunding of the Texas public school finance system and want state leaders to make changes. *But a sudden, under-the-radar […]

Checking in on Pre-K and the 2017 Texas Legislature

Chandra Kring Villanueva

As Texas Senate and House committee hearings pick up, it’s worth checking in on early childhood education, specifically Pre-K. Helping kids start school ready to learn is one of the best ways to ensure all Texans have the chance to compete and succeed in life. Investing in Pre-K also means significant short and long-term returns […]

Let’s renovate our school finance system

Chandra Kring Villanueva

Maintaining an old house is hard work. Everyone knows that for a home to retain its value and run efficiently it needs periodic repairs and updates. Our school finance system, in many ways, is similar to an old house that has fallen into disrepair. More than 30 years of legal challenges and legislative adjustments have […]

What’s at Stake in the School Finance Ruling

Chandra Kring Villanueva

We’re eagerly awaiting the Texas Supreme Court’s school finance ruling, expected almost any day. It’s a good time to consider what it would take for our school finance system to adequately and equitably fund our public schools so all Texas kids have access to a quality education, no matter where they live or what their […]

It’s Time to Remodel Our School Finance System

Chandra Villanueva

The Texas Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision in the pending school finance lawsuit in the coming months, so get out your hard hat. The court’s decision will likely direct the Legislature to remodel the state’s public school finance system. For lawmakers, the message should be clear: Our children deserve a quality […]

More Options Coming for High School Equivalency Exams

Chandra Villanueva

On January 29th the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) voted to allow multiple vendors to provide a high school equivalency exam to Texans without a high school diploma. The move was spurred by concerns about the General Education Development© (GED) test, administered by GED Testing Services, a subsidiary of Pearson. The GED is the […]

Proposed Rules for High Quality Pre-K Released

Chandra Villanueva

After hearing testimony from stakeholders on December 1, 2015, the Texas Education Agency has released the Commissioner’s proposed rules on what should be included in the criteria to qualify for the High Quality Pre-K Grant Program (HB 4). Under the proposed rules, a high quality program is defined in terms of curriculum, teacher training, and […]

Pre-K Benefits are in the Details

Chandra Villanueva

If a mechanic told you she could make your car perform better, you would probably want more details before she started rearranging wires under your hood. Well, after the Texas Legislature passed the High-Quality Prekindergarten Grant Program (HB 4) this spring, many of us applauded the law as a good first step. Now it’s details […]