In Texas, the State Board of Education will recommend new textbooks for all its students -- and because it has such a large population, what they decide could determine what students in other states learn about science. There are several ideologues submitting textbook critiques to the board and their reviews will factor into each book's overall score and likelihood of being approved by the school board. These ideologues could block the use of textbooks that teach the reality of climate change for the whole country's public school students. Climate science is being attacked by deniers who want to sow seeds of doubt as we try to educate our children about how our way of life -- including our fossil fuel habit -- is affecting God's earth through climate change. Children, the ones who will most be affected by climate change, are the ones who most need to how to combat it.
My state has always been a larger than life, much caricatured place, and most Texans take it all in good humor. Texas' problem, though, is that over the last decade, the state and its leaders have taken a dark turn. Texas has been pulled so far to the right that reasonable voices are seldom heard.
Teachers, parents, superintendents, and state and national experts testified about the shortcomings of the Texas school system. The evidence detailed significant deficiencies for the neediest children.
As of last month, 86 percent of Texas school boards representing 91 percent of the state's 5 million public school students had adopted resolutions opposing high-stakes testing.
Since 1968, the state has now lost six straight lawsuits brought by school districts that have argued successfully that their funding is unconstitutionally inadequate and unequal.
Rhee The Radical? Former Washington, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee continues the book tour for her memoir, "Radical," stopping last night at the Daily Show. She talked to host Jon Stewart about standardized testing, school accountability, and poverty. Stewart's mother was a teacher, so it's always interesting to see him interview education figures. For now, watch the interview here. More on that soon. And stay tuned -- Rhee is slated to appear on HuffPost Live at 1:30 p.m., so set your, er, Google calendars to remind you!
Policy makers have yet to offer schools concrete solutions of how to run more efficiently on lower funds. Without new solutions, the budget cuts have debilitated our schools and left them unprepared for an influx of new students.
Teacher Pipeline Problem? Stephen Sawchuk looks at the data so you don't have to, and finds that many states are producing more elementary school teachers than they'll need in the future. It's a supply and demand problem. "There is not a tight link the way there is in other countries, where there is a management of access to particular majors in higher education, tied to perceived needs of teachers, and also a national system for getting teachers who have graduated to the hard-to-staff places," one economist told him.
School Closure Personal For The Obamas? The Chicago Sun-Times is out with a list of 193 schools that could potentially be closed under Chicago Public Schools' effort to save money by shuttering "underutilized buildings." Among them is Bouchet Academy -- and as Alexander Russo notes, that's the elementary school Michelle Obama attended. (It was called Bryn Mawr Elementary School when she studied there.)
Less Texas Testing? As Texas prepares its budget, lawmakers in the Lone Star State are trying to make a statement on standardized testing. Currently, KUT News notes, testing is "zeroed out" in the House budget. That means it's still in there, just followed by a bunch of zeroes. "We want to start the conversation on testing," House Budget writer and Republican state representative Jim Pitts told KUT. "And we're gonna have a lot of hearings between now and the end of the session on education and some things that we're going to do in education. And we sure want testing to be one of the number one things. And that's why we did it." We are grateful to KUT for asking, since we were wondering ourselves: yes, says Texas Education Agency spokesperson Dabbie Ratcliffe, this is probably the first time in Texas history such a tactic has been used to discuss testing.
Too many tests in Texas? A group of parents certainly thinks so. "Texans Advocating for Meaningful Assessments recently made its case to parents, legi...
Education, Republicans believe, is not an unalienable right that makes the pursuit of happiness possible. Instead, Republicans believe education is a commodity, and your access to it is limited only by money and time.
There certainly is a serious problem today facing higher education that is not being sufficiently addressed, and that concerns what "higher" education is all about.
According to legend, Ernest Hemingway was challenged by some friends at a bar to write a short story in ten words or less. It was with this story in mind that StudentsFirst launched a "Six Word Essay Contest" on what it means to be a great teacher.
The release of a Texas study on school discipline last month should be a cause for alarm among policymakers and educators throughout the country.
It's up to each of us to speak up about the importance of education in every state across the nation. As parents, students, educators, grandparents -- we have a voice.