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They should have stamped "fragile" on the House budget package. That is how tricky it was to assemble. Chairman Pitts tried to explain to the tea party members that there was no money in SJR 1; it's just a vessel for moving future payments into the Rainy Day Fund for water projects. That didn't seem to mollify the tea party contingent, led by Van Taylor and Scott Sanford, that gathered at the back microphone. Some members worried that the rating services (Moodys and Standard & Poors) would be alarmed because there wasn't enough money in SJR 1. In fact there is no money in the bill, nor was there intended to be any. The money comes later, in HB 1025, where it will be drawn down from the Rainy Day Fund. It will still be necessary for citizens to vote on whether to approive SJR 1. If they don't approve it in November, the Legislature will be back at square one, and action on the water plan will have to wait until 2015.
Haven't we seen this picture before? Speaker Straus performs well for most of the session, but when crunch time comes, he can't close the deal. His team has no cohesion (except for Geren), and there doesn't appear to be a strategy. So Straus falls back into his old persona of presiding rather than leading. It's happened every session he has been speaker. I wrote much the same story line a few days ago, ending with the prediction that Straus would end up putting Rick Perry in the driver's seat. That is exactly where we are headed.
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Re: My op-ed in the Express-News: Future of Texas Begins in Pre-kinder Classrooms
Thanks for your support, Raul!
Re: State Leaders' Proposal Prolongs Severe Education Cuts
We really need new leadership in this state! What's more important than educating the next generatio...
Great editorial. Prekindergarten makes such a difference. I'm glad to see you and the Mayor pushing ...
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Monday, November 28, 2011
The Texas Tribune reported this weekend that for-profit, alternative teacher-preparation programs in the state are booming. Last session I filed HB 135 to curb the disturbing trend of schools hiring teachers who never had a single day of hands-on student-teaching in the classroom. Many traditional teacher certification programs require 400 or more hours of student-teaching in the classroom. The most disturbing news is this - alternative certified teachers are more likely to teach in impoverished, minority-populated schools with students who rank poorly on the TAKS test.
The bill I filed would have required a minimum of 15 hours of hands-on student-teaching in alternative certification programs. Although it did not pass on its own, we managed to amend another bill to include a watered-down version requiring 15 hours of field-based experience involved in instructional activities. It wasn't as much as I had hoped for, but it was a start.
You can read my blog post from session about why I filed this bill here.