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Public schools

AUSTIN — The number of campuses on the annual list of the worst public schools in Texas soared again this year as the 2-year-old rating system pulled hundreds of schools below minimum achievement levels.

If there’s one word that cuts to the heart of the persistent political tensions at DISD headquarters, it is trust.

By this time next month, 181 legislators will arrive in Austin for the 140-day session of the Texas Legislature. Houston's lawmakers will be asked to make serious decisions that affect all Texans - but none more important than proposals relating to public education. To the legislators, I have one simple message: Focus your decisions solely on what is best for Houston children.

By Luisa Kroll

A vision for the future of education sits within a converted church in the heart of a working-class neighborhood in northern Houston, abutted by auto parts stores and a heat treatment plant. At YES Prep North Central, homogeneity reigns: Of the 953 middle and high schoolers at the 11-year-old charter school, 96% are Hispanic, and a similarly large majority live at or below the poverty line. The kids are dressed the same–blue or khaki pants with school-issued polo shirts. But most important, their outcomes are uniform, too: 100% of graduates get into a four-year...

Upon his re-election in 2006, then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein offered the free use of underutilized school facilities to a bumper crop of charter schools opening that year—including my first. Fueled by this policy, charter-school enrollment in the city grew from 11,000 to almost 70,000 by the end of Mr. Bloomberg’s second term in 2013, and my one school grew to 22.

A decade ago, the debate about Washington D.C.’s public schools turned on school vouchers. How many students in the city’s beleaguered schools should get a lifeline out and how many national Democrats would break ranks and support vouchers?

AUSTIN – Enrollment in Texas public schools continues to climb, growing by 19 percent over the past decade and by more than 59 percent over the past 26 years, according to a new report released today by the Texas Education Agency.

In 1997, I graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in economics and decided to do something rare among my peers: teach in a public school. I moved to the Rio Grande Valley and began teaching fourth grade in the Donna Independent School District. My initial optimism turned to quiet outrage, however, as I learned the odds facing students in Valley communities: The average 18-year-old high school graduate from our region performed on par with the rest of the country’s average eighth-grader.

There is a great rift valley between business leaders and public education advocates.

This may be preaching to the choir, but since when has it been deemed appropriate for children to advance through grade school without the capacity to read past a fourth-grade level? I realize this is not just a problem with the education system that struggles to keep kids focused and attending classes. The root of the issue, unfortunately, comes from a lack of help from home.