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Texas News
Biden administration sues to block Texas redistricting maps
The suit, filed in federal court, alleges that the state of Texas is “refusing to recognize the State’s growing minority electorate.”

The Justice Department has sued to block Texas’ updated congressional and state House maps, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday, alleging that the districts redrawn after the 2020 census disenfranchise minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

UTSA business administration graduate inspired to become education leader
“My experiences at UTSA have fed my dreams and led me to consider new directions.”

When business administration major Abi Alejandra Caceres first arrived at UTSA, her plan was to earn a degree to fulfill her dream of owning a beauty business. The fall 2021 graduate is leaving with a new dream inspired by the support and encouragement of faculty, staff and fellow students. Abi now aspires to pursue a career in research and higher education leadership.

As critical race theory and mask mandate debates heat up, Texas GOP takes aim at local school board and municipal races
The Republican Party of Texas announced Monday it had launched a new Local Government Committee to work with county parties on backing candidates for nonpartisan local offices.

Texas Republicans are increasing their involvement in local races, hoping to do more to influence municipal and school board elections that have turned into political battlegrounds during the coronavirus pandemic.

San Antonio-area school district reviews 400 books flagged by a Texas lawmaker’s inquiry
North East ISD, one of the largest districts in the state, appears to be the first one to respond to state Rep. Matt Krause’s investigation into the kinds of books held in school libraries.

A San Antonio-area school district is reviewing the contents of more than 400 books that were flagged in a Republican lawmaker’s investigation into the titles that schools keep in their libraries.

How One Texas School District Is Using Federal Relief Funds to Reduce Class Sizes
Where it once had the area’s highest student-teacher ratio for fifth grade classrooms, El Paso’s largest school district now has the lowest as a result of an influx of federal pandemic relief funds.

The El Paso Independent School District has set a 24-1 student-teacher ratio through the 2022-23 school year to help students get back on track after months of pandemic-related learning interruptions. It’s a popular approach nationwide as districts seek to address learning loss and spend down millions in federal relief dollars.

Sponsor Announcements
TALAS Partner Tynker Offers Grants for Its Spanish Language Coding Curriculum
In line with our mission to bring equitable learning opportunities to all students, we’re excited to announce our new Tynker en Español grants for school districts in the US. 

Tynker started the development of a Spanish language version of its elementary school coding curriculum, Tynker en Español, two years ago. Designed with Spanish-speaking ELL (English Language Learner) students in mind, these courses offer 100+ hours of programming lessons and over 700 activities for grades K-5. Tynker en Español was developed with support from Infosys Foundation USA and in close partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF). The curriculum is being piloted by HHF as part of its Code as a Second Language initiative at Wake County Schools in North Carolina and Fort Worth Independent School District in Texas.

For more details on the grant, please click the button below or contact Venkat Varada at
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National News
The Vast Majority of School Boards Lack Latino Voices. What Can Be Done About It?
When Stephanie Parra, a Latina, attended her first state conference as a newly elected school board member of the Phoenix Union high school district in Arizona, she could count on two hands the people of color in the room.

“It was not a welcoming space, and it was not a space where I felt like I should be,” Parra said.

That was back in 2014. Since then, the state of diversity among school board members across the country has remained low compared to the growing diversity of the nation’s student population. That includes a persistent lack of Latino representation.

‘Equal Treatment, not Special Treatment’: Conservative Supreme Court Justices Appear Ready to Strike Down Religious Barriers to Public School Choice Funding
Maine allows private religious schools to participate in its tuition benefit program for families that don’t have a public high school in their community — except those that seek to instill religious beliefs in their students.

That caveat is at the heart of Carson v. Makin, argued before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, a case that is likely to determine whether states can continue to ban religious schools from school choice programs. Based on the justices’ questioning, experts said Maine, and states with similar laws, would likely no longer be able to defend them.

3 views on the best ways to track down missing students post-COVID
A large proportion of the “missing” are children of color, students with disabilities and English-language learners, advocate says

Even though 300-plus Petersburg City Public Schools students didn’t show up for class last school year, the Virginia district’s enrollment is now higher than it was in 2019.

That’s because district leaders took action in summer 2021 as they, along with administrators across the country, faced the challenge of finding the many students who dropped out of contact during the COVID remote learning shift.

As public trust in teachers declines, how can districts turn the tide?
Data shows a 6-percentage-point dip since the pandemic began, but experts suggest “leaning into the problem” and engaging families to begin addressing it.

At Kearsarge Regional Middle School in North Sutton, New Hampshire, Principal Stephen Paterson admits there is a growing fear among teachers around contacting students’ parents. 

The dedicated Latina leader bringing equity, resources and prosperity to Boston’s Latino community
In her role as the first director of the Latino Equity Fund, Evelyn Barahona is seeking to increase its philanthropic capacity and advocacy for the Latino community.  

Creating networks and building capital are two key components to reaching social and economic success.

Throughout her career, Evelyn Barahona has been a leader in helping people gain access to those things, and more. 

Las Tienditas
This Week’s Featured Sponsor
TALAS sponsors make this newsletter and other TALAS activities possible. Please support them. Click on the logo to learn more!
NoRedInk provides a comprehensive, TEKS-aligned, adaptive, mastery-based writing platform for grades 4-12. NoRedInk balances grammar and writing skills with composition and revision activities. Our platform engages students with personalized, interest-based content which allows teachers to easily differentiate in the classroom whilst tracking mastery on over 1000 skills. Additionally, NoRedInk’s writing assignments allow students to build a portfolio of written work and engage in a highly scaffolded drafting, revision and peer review process. It’s free to sign up and use with students! Learn more about NoRedInk and how it’s proven to improve student performance on STAAR, ACT, and SAT.

Sheryl Colaur – 708-565-3545