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Texas News
Tomball ISD named a Top 5 Finalist in two categories for H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards
Tomball ISD is excited to announce it has been named a State Finalist for two awards in the 2023 Annual H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards. TISD is a State Finalist in the categories of Large District and Outstanding School Board. Tomball ISD is the only school district named a finalist in both categories.

“We are extremely humbled and honored to be recognized by H-E-B as a Finalist in two categories among its Excellence in Education Awards,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora.

Fort Worth ISD sets legislative priorities at special meeting. Here’s what they are
Universal pre-K, a change to the way schools are funded and a local accountability system are among the legislative priorities approved by the Fort Worth school board at a special meeting Tuesday night.

With an estimated budget surplus of more than $30 billion on the first day of the 88th session of the legislature, districts are vying for greater funding for security, special education programs and teacher benefits including salary and retirement benefits.

The recommendations came after Superintendent Angelica Ramsey gathered feedback from parents, students and teachers.

McAllen ISD 3rd Grader Wins National Essay Contest
Andrea Linette Rodriguez, a third-grader at McAllen ISD’s Sanchez Elementary, has won a national essay competition. 

Rodriguez took first place in the Elementary School Level for the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) 2023 Being Bilingual Essay Competition.  

She will read her essay in both English and Spanish at the NABE 2023 Awards Luncheon, February 24, in Portland, Oregon.  

Texas Supreme Court clears way for state’s education agency to take over Houston ISD
The decision from the state’s highest court would allow the TEA to move forward with its plan to replace Houston ISD’s school board members over low academic scores.

The Texas Supreme Court cleared the way Friday for the state to potentially take control of the Houston Independent School District, which state education officials say has been plagued by mismanagement and low academic performance at one of its high schools.

Texas Lege Preview: Are School Vouchers a Shoo-In?
House Dems (and rural Republicans) ready to rally for public education

Rep. Gina Hinojosa, Central Austin’s voice on education in the Texas House, has two children in Austin ISD schools. “My fifth-grader didn’t get a teacher this year because there are just no teachers,” she said. His class was instead divided and combined with two others. “So he’s in a giant class, teachers are struggling, kids are struggling. It’s just – our schools are in crisis.” She recounted a conversation with the teacher who absorbed half of her son’s class: “She said to me, ‘You know, I used to be a great teacher. I used to be the best. But not anymore. Not with all the crap that they put on me.’ I mean, I wanted to cry, because that’s the way our teachers feel right now. They just feel so disrespected and so undervalued.”

Affiliate Feature
RGVTALAS, TALAS’ Rio Grande Valley affiliate, commits to continue TALAS’ mission to improve learning outcomes for Latino learners by providing leadership development, collective impact, advocacy, and a proactive voice for Latino and non-Latino leaders who have a passion for serving the fastest growing student population in the state.
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National News
Students of Color Disproportionately Suffer From Police Assaults at School, Says Report
In 2013, a 17-year-old Texas student spent 52 days in a medically induced coma after police used a taser on him at school. The student fell to the ground, hitting his head on the floor, rendering him unconscious.

Two years later, in Columbia, S.C., a 16-year-old Black girl in Spring Valley High School was placed in a headlock, flipped over in her desk, dragged, and thrown across her classroom by a school police officer.

And in 2021, a school police officer in Long Beach, Calif., shot an 18-year-old while she was a passenger in a car driving away from a fight in the Millikan High School parking lot. She eventually died.

School Board Openings Are an Opportunity for Equity
McCorkle: Board members tend to be whiter and richer than the students they represent. Black & brown candidates can seek open seats and change that

A recent report from School Board Partners found that just 38% of surveyed elected board members said that they intended to run for reelection. In recent years, some 70% of incumbent board members ran again, making such a decline something more than noteworthy.  

Just 24% of public schools feel ‘very prepared’ for active shooters
Despite an increase in safety practices at public schools, only around half or less said they are very prepared for suicide threats or incidents, intruder situations, shooting and bomb threats, active shooters or other armed individuals, according to nationally representative school survey data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Only 55% of public schools said they are very prepared for suicide threats or incidents, and slightly less than a quarter (24%) said they are very prepared for active shooters. Most respondents to the November 2022 School Pulse Panel collection said they are only somewhat prepared for these situations. 

Cracking the Code on STEM Success for Black and Brown Students
Project Lead The Way enables kids, regardless of background, to set goals and build careers in STEM fields.

On a Thursday morning in early June, just outside of Washington D.C, Pratiksha Das and Madeline Morgan stand over a motionless body as they try to figure out how to stanch the arterial bleeding in front of them. What to do first? Tie the tourniquet correctly and the patient will live. Tie it in the wrong place or too slowly and they’ll lose him. It’s a life-or-death situation that the two young women know they could face again and again.

5 higher education lawsuits to watch in 2023
Rulings are expected in several high-profile cases, including those that could determine the fate of race-conscious admissions and the DACA program.

Pending lawsuits stand to reshape the higher education landscape in the next year. The U.S. Supreme Court, which now has a strong conservative majority, is expected to rule on a handful of cases concerning higher education.

That includes lawsuits over new policies, such as the Biden administration’s attempted plan to forgive broad amounts of student loan debt, and longstanding practices, such as affirmative action in college admissions. 

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