Spotlight Texas

Two Houston ISD Schools Among the Nation's 20 Best
Two Houston ISD Schools Among the Nation's 20 Best

Gilbert Martinez graduates from high school in May, but he's already on the cusp of selling a calculator app company for millions of dollars.

While that may shock a lay person, he said that type of thing is normal at Carnegie Vanguard High School in the Houston ISD. One classmate invented a water filtration system to serve poverty-stricken communities, earning him the ear of Rice University researchers. Another created a wristband that changes color when the wearer is dehydrated, while a recent alum toured the state with his model wind turbines.
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National Association Taps Dallas' Michael Hinojosa As Latino Superintendent Of The Year
National Association Taps Dallas' Michael Hinojosa As Latino Superintendent Of The Year

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is the 2017 Latino Superintendent of the Year, according to the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS).

In a statement, executive director Nancy Lewin said, "The committee was very impressed with your application, your work, your passion and commitment to education and your continued involvement with ALAS."
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In Texas, Thousands Of Students Are Dropping Out As Early As Middle School
In Texas, Thousands Of Students Are Dropping Out As Early As Middle School
A new report out says in the 2014-2015 school year, 8 percent of Texas students who dropped out did so in the seventh or eighth grades. The Fort Worth school district is taking several measures to prevent students from dropping out before high school and keep them on the path to graduation.
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Texas Lawmakers Consider Fixes to New A-F Grades for Schools
Texas Lawmakers Consider Fixes to New A-F Grades for Schools

Legislative fixes to the new A-F system for grading public schools are underway even before the new accountability standards take hold.

On Thursday, the Senate Education Committee discussed one way to tweak the system, which is supposed to issue ratings next year. The House is expected to debate its version Wednesday.
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House Gives Preliminary Approval to Bill Overhauling School Finance System
House Gives Preliminary Approval to Bill Overhauling School Finance System

State Rep. Dan Huberty succeeded at a difficult task Wednesday: getting the Texas House of Representatives to vote for legislation overhauling the funding system for public education, without a court mandate.

After a four-hour discussion of more than 30 proposed amendments, the House voted 134-16 to tentatively accept its top education leader's plan to inject $1.6 billion into public schools, simplify the complex formulas for allocating that money, and target certain disadvantaged student groups for more funding. The bill must still be approved on a third and final reading in the House. (Update, April 20: The Texas House gave final approval to House Bill 21 on Thursday in a 132-15 vote.)

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For Plano ISD High Schoolers, Class Rank May Soon Be a Thing of The Past
For Plano ISD High Schoolers, Class Rank May Soon Be a Thing of The Past

In highly competitive Plano ISD, where the race for valedictorian has been decided by precious few hundredths — or thousandths — of a grade point, most students may not know exactly where they stand for much longer.

The district is considering dropping class rankings beyond Nos. 1 and 2.

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Texas Education Board Tentatively Votes to Change High School Biology Standards
Texas Education Board Tentatively Votes to Change High School Biology Standards

The Texas State Board of Education tentatively voted to remove language in high school biology standards that would have required students to challenge evolutionary science.

Currently, the curriculum requires students to "evaluate" scientific explanations for the origins of DNA and the complexity of certain cells, which some have argued could open the door to teaching creationism. Wednesday's vote, which had been preceded by a lengthy and contentious debate in recent months, would change how science teachers approach such topics in the classroom. (Update, April 21: The State Board of Education took a final vote Friday to approve the edited biology standards, agreeing to exclude the word "evaluate.")
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Texas Parents Fear Being Outed For Seeking Vaccine Exemptions
Texas Parents Fear Being Outed For Seeking Vaccine Exemptions

If schools were required to reveal more detailed information about how many students have vaccine exemptions, some fear families that choose not to vaccinate their kids might be subject to bullying, harassment, violence and death threats.

House Public Health Committee members heard multiple stories over three hours on Tuesday evening from parents and children echoing fears of increased discrimination if House Bill 2249 were to pass. The bill would require the Texas Department of State Health Services to report every other year on vaccine-preventable outbreaks and how many students at public schools have vaccine exemptions.
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Texas Education Agency Launches Portal Showcasing Outstanding Educators
Texas Education Agency Launches Portal Showcasing Outstanding Educators

The state's commissioner of education on Wednesday announced the Texas Education Agency has established a website showcasing educator profiles.

The site at www.tea.texas.gov/iamtxed features all educator profiles published in the agency’s #IAmTXEd social media campaign. Launched in December 2016, the campaign collects and shares ongoing success stories of Texas educators whose work is leading to greater student outcomes and achievements, Commissioner of Education Mike Morath said. The social media posts are shared statewide each Thursday via the TEA’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

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Texas Mumps Cases Hit 20-Year High
Texas Mumps Cases Hit 20-Year High

Mumps cases have hit a 20-year high in Texas and the highly contagious virus is infecting spring break travelers to popular beaches, state health officials said Wednesday.

The virus is rarely deadly but it can cause discomfort as salivary glands swell up. It can also cause deafness and, very rarely, dangerous encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.
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