TALAS E-newsletter – February 11

Posted on February 11th, 2021
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Texas News
Houston Schools to Vote on Dissolving Relationship With Youth Advocacy Group After Survey Shows Majority of Students Oppose Reopening
Strained relations between the Houston Independent School District and a six-year-old youth advocacy group have drawn attention to a constituency that some say has been neglected in recent debates over reopening schools — students.

When the district interviewed parents and teachers on school reopening issues, Student Congress — or StuCon — conducted its own survey. Roughly 3,000 students responded in the summer, when leaders were considering a plan to bring students back to the classroom in October. The results showed most students thought it was safer to continue the fall semester remotely.

CCISD board moves forward in process of becoming District of Innovation
Corpus Christi ISD Board of Trustees approved taking the first step to become a District of Innovation beginning the 2021-2022 school year during a meeting Monday.

Passed in 2017 by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842, the idea of the District of Innovation gives traditional independent school districts most of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open-enrollment charter schools.

To be eligible, a school district’s most recent academic performance rating must be at least acceptable. CCISD’s most recent performance was a B rating in 2019. Due to COVID-19, schools were not rated in 2020.

Black History Month: Longview ISD trustees wage battle for student equality
Shan Bauer, Ted Beard and Troy Simmons are in the fight of their lives — giving every child in Longview ISD an equitable education despite a system designed to do the opposite.

The three Longview ISD board members said, for years, they’ve seen the district’s demographic shift coming.

The largest student population in the district is now Hispanic students, then Black and white.

Gov. Abbott made broadband access a priority. Will Texas students get the internet they need?
Abbott declares such access an emergency item as educators call for a statewide strategy, not a patchwork of solutions.

Taillights on a fleet of Duncanville buses lit up the roads early one morning just after the spring semester started. One turned onto Fouts Avenue and parked for the day as others passed by on their way to ferry students from their homes to their classrooms.

The parked bus remained outside Renaissance Village Apartments for the next 10 hours, another kind of bridge between students and their schools. It was among a handful of vehicles across southern Dallas County that broadcast Wi-Fi signals into nearby neighborhoods.

Texas representatives request formal opt-out process for in-person STAAR test
Fighting for their constituents, Texas state representatives sent a letter to the Texas Education Agency Monday morning requesting a formal opt-out process for the STAAR exam.

The effort was led by Rep. Diego Bernal, who represents District 123 in San Antonio.

According to the letter, representatives are still asking the TEA to reconsider canceling the exam. If that doesn’t happen, they feel a formal process to opt-out would at least make parents feel more comfortable.

Why a Texas lawmaker wants to fund schools based on enrollment instead of attendance
Researchers say ‘average daily attendance’ is a deeply inequitable measure.

Texas schools are largely funded based on who shows up to class, a measure with the potential to undercount students in low-income communities.

Education finance experts say using an attendance-based funding model exacerbates inequities — and that continuing to do so as districts work to recover from the coronavirus pandemic could be especially harmful.

‘They need to move quickly’: A Texas DACA case could force Congress to move on immigration
The judge is likely to overturn DACA protections for more than 640,000 undocumented young people.

The Biden administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill have vowed repeatedly to secure a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. But a federal judge in Texas could be the one to force them to take the first step in making it happen.

Advocates, attorneys and lawmakers expect a ruling within days — or weeks — on a court case that will determine the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides protections for more than 640,000 immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

The Best Thing in Texas: “I’m Not a Cat,” Says West Texas Attorney Who Accidentally Applied Zoom Filter
“If the country can have a chuckle at my expense today, I’ll accept it,” he says.

It’s safe to say that we’re all suffering from Zoom fatigue. Video meetings, which at first seemed like an innovative way to connect, have long since become a chore. As you log on to your zillionth virtual check-in, you might wonder which of your colleagues will forget to unmute, how many people will awkwardly talk over one another, and whose face will freeze when the Wi-Fi falters. Plus, just how many of those who’ve turned off their video are still paying attention, if they’re even in the room? It can all be a bit tiring, which is why rare, small moments of levity are the best thing about Zoom: a curious dog or child wandering into the frame, for example. Those moments remind us that we’re not just pixels on a screen but simply very tired humans, doing our best.

Announcements
Discussion Workshop with Coppell ISD and NoRedInk
Wednesday, February 17, 12:00pm CST

Is writing a waste? Discuss with Coppell ISD and others:
You’re invited to join a discussion group for TX administrators about how to counteract learning loss and meet grade level writing standards.
After you join, you will also receive a gift card for lunch of your choosing from Buc-ees, Whataburger, or Rudy’s BBQ!

Event sponsored by NoRedInk.
GALA Event: Networking / Mentoring for Professionals
Thursday, February 25, 2021 • 6:00 PM CST • Virtual Event
Discover the power of working and connecting with others. Career promotion is as much about who you know as what you know. Get excellent advice on how to think through your objectives, connect with great people, and sharpen your leadership skills while learning from others. Join GALA’s next Zoom event featuring two well-known and respected leaders from the Garland Independent School District.
Keynote Speaker:
Susanna Russell
Chief Leadership Officer Garland ISD
Special Guest:
Zaida Saldivar
Director of English Language Learners
Garland ISD
ALAS/NABSE March ED Fest 2021:
Through Adversity WE are Stronger Together!
March 8–12, 2021
ED Fest Honoring Our Own

Please submit the recognition of a student, volunteer, parent, teacher, support staff, administrator, superintendent, board member, first year higher ed student, or business leader who has demonstrated a “Yes WE Can”/”Si SE Puede” attitude and made going through this past year better because of their action or attitude.

Please submit this form by Feb. 26 2021, preferably as soon as possible.
Looking for a new opportunity?
Supporting Your Career
No Application Necessary: 5 Tips For Using Social Media To Land A Job In 2021
Millennial entrepreneurs Jonathan Javier and Jerry Lee learned the hard way that the traditional career search process rarely works, particularly when you’re searching in the ultra-competitive high tech company landscape. By the age of 25, they’d both landed offers (and worked for) tech giants Snapchat, Google, Cisco and Lucid even though they didn’t graduate from any of the typical coveted target schools. They soon left corporate America to found career search consulting firm Wonsulting with a mission of “turning underdogs into winners.” Their programs are based on a carefully curated strategy that they’ve used to help job seekers land those hard-to-get job offers.

Their techniques are based on the general premise that traditional application processes almost never work, and the smartest path to the job you want is through social media. During this particularly challenging job search market, they offer five specific steps for landing that lucrative dream job.

National & International News
Obama ‘alumni’ create scholarship program to boost young Latinos in public service internships
“For students coming from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, it could mean them not taking an opportunity,” former Obama staffer Antoinette Rangel said.

Some former Obama White House and administration staffers are coming together to create a new scholarship opportunity for Latino students looking to intern in the nation’s capital.

Antoinette Rangel and Alexa Kissinger, both attorneys, co-founded the Latinx44 Scholarship Program, a nonprofit that will award several scholarships to Latino students to help fund a public service-oriented internship in Washington, D.C. The program is being funded by Latinos44, an “alumni” group made up of hundreds of other Latino former officials from the Obama administration.

Influx of Unaccompanied Minors Along Southern Border Could Pose Test for Schools
Thousands of English language learners could be headed for American public schools in the coming months due to recent changes in U.S. immigration policy and devastating natural disasters in Central and South America.

Their arrival could pose a challenge for local school systems, particularly poor districts that might not have enough teachers or space to support them. In recent years, several have turned these children away in violation of their legal rights.

“Some schools across the country have discouraged the enrollment of older immigrant students on the grounds that they are more likely to drop out, will not attend regularly, require significant language instruction or don’t have sufficient years to graduate,” said Maura McInerney, legal director of the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania. “This is discriminatory, unlawful and factually incorrect.”

Four Priorities To Watch From President Biden’s $750 Billion College Proposal
After less than a month in office, President Biden has made his priorities for postsecondary education clear. And, notably, this week, he charged two leading advocates – two women – to deliver the message.

Yesterday, Carmel Martin, deputy director for economic mobility on the White House Domestic Policy Council, joined the recently appointed Acting Assistant Secretary of Postsecondary Education, Michelle Asha Cooper, and told an audience of community college leaders that President Biden’s priorities will focus on affordability, equity and the alignment of education and employment. Martin, certainly among the most thoughtful education policy experts, and Cooper, who has quietly advanced influential policy ideas for more than a decade, are highly mission-driven and no strangers to innovation.

4 Latino Republicans voted against Marjorie Taylor Greene. A first step against disinformation?
The vote comes amid more misinformation and conspiracies in English and Spanish and no strong pushback against Trump’s lies about the election.

The vote by four Latino Republican members of Congress to strip their GOP colleague of her committee posts for her espousal of QAnon falsities and conspiracy theories was the “right decision,” according to a former Latino Republican legislator.

A Democratic analyst described it as “one sane vote,” since most of the legislators had backed then-President Donald Trump’s lies about a stolen election by voting to challenge the Electoral College votes certifying Joe Biden’s win.

Latino-owned businesses are seeing record growth. Big banks are still not funding them.
Latino business revenue growth should be a key metric in helping them gain capital, “but they continue to fall short,” says Stanford University research analyst Marlene Orozco.

Despite being the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. small business ecosystem, Latinos continue to struggle to secure capital from national banks.

That’s according to the State of Latino Entrepreneurship 2020 research study from the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.

“Over the last five years we’ve really been able to dig deep into the challenges facing the Latino segment,” said Marlene Orozco, lead research analyst of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Black, Latino college students disproportionately picked for audits: analysis
An analysis of federal data conducted by The Washington Post found that the Department of Education has disproportionately chosen students from majority Black and Latino areas to be audited.

The Post found that almost a fourth of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applicants were picked to be audited for the 2019-2020 academic year. In comparison, the newspaper notes that the IRS audited less than half a percent of all returns in the previous year.

Using information obtained from an open records request, the Post found that FAFSA applicants from Black-majority communities were 1.8 times more likely to be audited than students from white-majority neighborhoods. Students from Latino-majority communities were 1.4 times more likely to be audited.

Teachers continue to push for COVID-19 vaccine prioritization
A new survey by the National Education Association finds that most members would feel safer if they got the vaccine.

Sheldon ISD elementary school teacher Nicky Irvin recently got the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I feel very fortunate to have gotten that done,” Irvin said.

She has preexisting conditions, qualifying her to get the vaccine.

Syncretic Press, the Hispanic publisher of big questions for little readers in the U.S.
Publishing in times of a pandemic is not easy, but Enrique Morás has managed to make children’s literature in Spanish a bridge between cultures and continents. 

Once upon a time, there was an Uruguayan archaeologist whose path led him into finance and who worked for many years in banking. However, he was always fantasizing about what it would be like to explain history to children. 

Until one day, under the influence of Pepe Mujica — the former president of Uruguay who always talked about the finiteness of time — the archaeologist began to rethink what he was doing with his life and what he was really passionate about. He then decided to “leap into uncertainty.”

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!
Our team is driven by a common goal: To make it easier for schools to find substitute teachers and paraprofessionals when you need them.

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  • Swing Education is excited to serve Texas, and we look forward to helping you find more teachers for your classrooms tomorrow than you have today!

Business/Educational Partnerships: Brian A. Peters – 414.418.2119

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