TALAS E-newsletter – September 5

Posted on September 5th, 2019
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Charters and District Schools Share Strategies on Getting Low-Income Students Through College, Putting Uneasiness Aside
In June 2015, when Pedro Martinez was appointed superintendent of San Antonio Independent School District, everyone in this city assumed he was a good hire. But few realized just how radical that hire would prove to be. Martinez looked around his new district and didn’t like what he saw. The students looked just like him, and they were struggling. Martinez’s family emigrated from Mexico when he was 5, and he grew up poor in Chicago. He was the first in his family to go to college. What worked for him, going to college, wasn’t happening often enough in his new district.

“One of the things I noticed very quickly was the low numbers of students entering colleges, specifically universities. Less than half of our students were attending any type of college after high school, and less than half of those were attending universities,” he said. “Most concerning was a mismatch for some of our top kids. I saw our top kids attending community colleges and lower-tier universities.” Only about 2 percent of students at the San Antonio district ended up in top-tier colleges or universities.

Dallas and Garland ISDs Offering Elective Courses in Ethnic Studies
In a recent legislative session, the Texas Education Agency approved offering a one-credit elective course in ethnic studies, and one of those courses includes African American studies. Dallas ISD and Garland ISD are two of the school districts offering various ethnic study courses this current school year.

 “I think it’s a great opportunity for African American students to learn more about their heritage and history. To understand who they are and where they came from and to get a good feel for all the contributions that have been made by African Americans,” explains Joyce Foreman, Dallas ISD Board of Trustee for District 6.

The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) outlined the Innovative Course Model for Ethnic Studies. Schools will offer ethnic studies focused not only on African American but also Mexican American and Asian American studies. 

Building a Positive Racial Identity Could Help Your Kid Perform Better in School
There’s a large body of research that explores how academic performance is tied to a student’s racial identity, and the conclusions of experts are bleak: Students of color, generally speaking, face a serious achievement gap in schools. Addressing the myriad barriers to getting a proper education — factors like poverty, inadequate facilities, and the racial abuse that ultimately takes a toll on students’ motivation, attendance, and ability to learn — will require necessary systemic and cultural change. 

In the meantime, experts have been exploring the surprising link between how students feel about their racial identity and how that affects their academic performance. By implementing novel programs that, through a holistic approach, allow and encourage students to explore their racial/ethnic identities in a safe space, they’ve found that students end up feeling more engaged with their education. Racial self-esteem is not the most influential factor in a student’s education — the racism of the system is — but institutions and schools can quickly implement these positive racial identity development programs to make immediate headway in closing the country’s achievement gap.

Texas vaccine exemption rates: Look up your district or private school

Health officials are watching pockets of Texas closely because of the number of parents requesting exemptions under Texas’s broad vaccine exemption law . Texas is one of 16 states that allow parents to bypass vaccine requirements for enrolling their kids in school by claiming a conscientious exemption, along with citing medical or religious concerns.

Without an exemption, kindergarteners must have 10 immunizations to be enrolled in Texas schools. Since 2006, when the state first started reporting the data, the exemption rate for kindergarteners in Texas has risen from 0.3% for the 2005-06 school year to 2.15% for the 2018-19 school year.

In Texas, school districts, private schools and charter schools are required to report their vaccine exemption rates. The data collection is done through a survey administered by the Texas Department of State Health Services, but some schools don’t report consistently, leaving gaps in the data. Data for the 2019-20 school year won’t be available until the summer of 2020.

  • New School Development Manager
  • District Charter Partnerships Manager – Internally Texas Partnerships Manager (Education Specialist V)
  • Director of State Funding
  • Early Childhood Specialist
  • Early Childhood Readiness Specialist
Tomball ISD looks to accommodate higher enrollments at Willow Wood Junior High, Wildwood Elementary as new school complex gets underway
Land is being cleared for a 154-acre Tomball ISD complex at Cypress Rosehill Road and Hwy. 99, which will house an elementary school, junior high school, a 10,000-seat district football stadium and community center, and water and wastewater treatment plants.

As new facilities are being built, district officials said they are working to ease overcrowded schools over the next few years. The district announced in April the opening of the junior high would be delayed, citing permitting and other construction challenges.

The district complex will include a $23.9 million elementary school drawing students from Wildwood Elementary and a $43.2 million junior high school drawing students from Willow Wood Junior High, as these campuses have seen enrollments surpass their capacities, district officials said.

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National News
School District Secessions Accelerate School Segregation
THE PHENOMENON IN WHICH wealthy communities take their schools and their tax base and splinter off from larger districts to form their own education systems is promoting racial segregation, according to a first-of-its-kind study published Wednesday.

Since 2000, school district secessions in the South have increasingly filtered white and black students, and white and Hispanic students, into separate school systems, according to new research published in “AERA Open,” a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

“Secession may reflect this narrowing concept of public schools and who the public schools are for,” Erica Frankenberg, a professor of education and demography at Pennsylvania State University and coauthor of the study, says. “Are they for educating everyone, or just kids who look like my kids?”

Read more here: School district secessions
‘Los Seis’: Nearly 50 years later, lives of six Chicano students are remembered
At the University of Colorado Boulder, the story of Los Seis (The Six) seemed almost non-existent. There was little to commemorate the lives of the six Chicano activists who were killed in car bombings nearly 50 years ago. That was until CU Boulder master of fine arts student Jasmine Baetz decided that their history needed to be told. 

On May 27, 1974, CU law graduate Reyes Martinez, CU Boulder junior Neva Romero and CU graduate Una Jaakola were killed in a bombed car at Chautauqua Park. 

Two days later, a second explosion on 28th street took the lives of former CU students Florencio Granado and Heriberto Teran, along with pre-med student Francisco Dougherty. 

The FBI files on the case were lost in a fire, and no one was ever charged for the deaths.

Read more here: ‘ Los Seis
A Plan to Diversify New York’s Segregated Schools
A commission appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio has ideas worth considering.
New York’s public schools are among the most  racially segregated in the country.

That’s partly a result of decades of policies that have allowed parents of well-off white and many Asian students to steer their children to the most sought-after public schools, while largely consigning the Hispanic and black children, who make up an overwhelming majority of students, to underperforming schools.

A commission formed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017 has proposed  major steps  to change this. In a report released on Aug. 27, the School Diversity Advisory Group recommended replacing gifted and talented programs in elementary schools with magnet and enrichment programs aimed at identifying advanced learners from every background.

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