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Our readers talk back.
Columns  April 19, 2002
"...Let's Help Out the Teachers..."

Capitol Chronicle
The New Governor opens his campaign for re-election.
News Column  February 2, 2001, by Michael King
"...Perry is basing it on Bush's reading initiative, which he described in glowing terms during an earlier visit with Capitol reporters. Statewide, Perry said, the program has trained 183 "master reading teachers," with another 349 in the pipeline (master teachers get a salary bonus upon completion of the training program)..."

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Balcones Responds
Columns  December 6, 1996
"...At 3:52 this morning I awoke composing this letter about the faculty meeting I had attended the previous afternoon. We had a presentation from four teachers who had returned from visiting a private school in Boston to tell us of new strategies to use to accommodate different learning styles..."

Naked City
News Story  May 4, 2007
"...• The A+ Federal Credit Union offers grants of up to $1,000 to teachers to use on starting or continuing existing programs, including materials and professional development. The deadline has been extended to Friday, May 11..."

Is the Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door?
AISD's budget cuts could be deep and painful.
News Story  January 31, 2003, by Michael King
"...Special-education teacher Brenda Urps-Williams was speaking specifically of her own students at Paredes Middle School, as she considered the effects of just-announced Austin ISD budget proposals that would save $7.2 million by eliminating 71 special-ed teachers and 166 teaching assistants. "There's no way," she said, "we could meet the needs of these students." That truism likely applies to many of the budget cuts now officially under consideration by AISD...."

Naked City
News Story  March 29, 2002, by Lauri Apple
"...On March 25, Education Austin -- the union that represents a majority of AISD teachers -- released their "consultation proposals" regarding the upcoming budget cycle. Among the highlights: raises for both teachers and classified staff that, with a 3% raise, plus "steps" for experience, would equal a nearly 4.8% pay increase for district teachers..."

Rep. Donna Howard on the 86th Texas Legislature
“Let’s target some new money toward childhood literacy, toward high school success, toward teacher quality – the kind of things that research shows make a difference”
News Story  January 3, 2019, by Austin Sanders
"...You have to have quality principals who can hire quality teachers, regardless of how much money you put into the system – and covering pay, pensions and benefits is important, obviously. You have to have people who can bring the best that we need into the classroom...."

AISD Prepares to Slice the Apple
School district battles its budget monsters
News Story  December 6, 2018, by Austin Sanders
"...At the final meeting of Austin ISD's Budget Stabilization Task Force on Nov. 14, Eric Ramos pleaded with the committee to recommend cost-saving measures that would avoid impacting teachers and the students they serve..."

Asenath Andrews: 'A Place Where People Know Us'
Detroit's Catherine Ferguson Academy has a 90% graduation rate with pregnant teens
News Story  March 1, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Pregnant teens and young mothers would be sent there for a few weeks – mostly to prepare to have their children adopted. In the 1960s, Andrews said, "The story would be that you were traveling in Europe, if you were white, and you'd gone down South to see relatives, if you were black." Finally, the Salvation Army convinced Detroit public schools to provide some teachers..."

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Our readers talk back
Columns  February 4, 2005
"...Educational deficiencies are not created overnight; it takes prolonged neglect and systematic refusal to adhere to strong standards. During the Sixties, teachers unions in general, and the NEA in particular, began "relaxing" standards for their members and forcing school boards to march to their drummer..."

Naked City
Headlines and happenings from Austin and beyond
News Story  December 17, 2004, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...Not to be forgotten, Our Hometown GOP Matriarch, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn – recently anointed by none other than Boisterous Bob Novak as "the brains of the Texas Republican Party" – announced Tuesday that she's recommending a $3,000-a-year pay raise for all Texas teachers, automatic increases every two years, and a bonus to those teachers whose schools improve on state accountability rankings. How to pay for this magnanimity? Strayhorn argues that teacher turnover can cost as much as $13 billion a year, so if higher pay cuts back on turnover, the raises pay for themselves ....."

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Our readers talk back.
Columns  September 20, 2002
"...First, while John Christensen's Global Science: Energy, Resources, Environment was indeed funded in part by the Mineral Information Institute, the text also supported by the United Engineering Foundation Inc. and the National Science Teachers Association...."

Postmarks
A point-counterpoint on Long Park development; Austin Music Network's bad move; and a call for a car-free council member.
Columns  April 7, 2000
"...Help the Teachers!..."

The Spirit of 76th
The Presidential Card
News Column  June 17, 1999, by Erica C. Barnett
"...Democrats were accused of playing the presidential card in their protracted and ultimately fruitless fight to win long-sought hate crimes legislation in the Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans were accused of playing politics with teachers' futures with their stubborn insistence on tax breaks for property owners over pay increases for teachers...."

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Don't Dissolve District
Columns  May 1, 1998
"...But, unlike him, she's also been very active in South, East, and Central Austin schools for more than a decade. She knows what children, teachers, and schools need to be successful..."

High Tech, Low Priority?
Not Everyone Is Sold on Computers in Schools
News Story  July 25, 1997, by Roseana Auten
"...That was before she became one of 125 teachers in the Austin Independent School District (AISD) to receive four new desktop computers and a laptop for her use. Verburg, a member of AISD's District Technology Leadership Team, a core group of teachers meant to cut the path for the district's $50 million-plus plan for technology, said the computer lab has really changed what takes place in her classroom..."

School of Hard Fox
Superintendent Jim Fox Is Far From Warm and Fuzzy
News Story  December 13, 1996, by Roseana Auten
"...But school trustees, parents, and teachers alike profess that Fox tends to be more personable in small groups or one-on-one. And he "lights up like a Christmas tree" around children, insists Kathy Rider, president of the AISD Board of Trustees..."

'When I Was Your Age'
The full text to the Obama back-to-school speech
DAILY News  September 7, 2009, by Richard Whittaker
"...I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn...."

New Akins Principal: Running from Ysleta?
Ysleta ISD board apologizes for actions of former Bel Air High School Principal Daniel Girard, who is coming here to head Akins High School
News Story  June 29, 2007, by Justin Ward
"...Last week the Ysleta Independent School District board officially apologized for the actions of former Bel Air High School Principal Daniel Girard, who will be coming to Austin to head Akins High School in August. Teachers brought grievances against Girard last October, claiming he violated state law by forcing them to work through their lunch periods..."

Grandma vs. Cowboy
Can Strayhorn lasso Perry? Maybe the Lege will tell.
News Column  June 24, 2005, by Amy Smith
"...But she also enjoys a good row. She told her sun-baked supporters – including teachers, kids, anti-toll roaders, quarter-horse owners, and gray-haired ladies – that she was ready for what promises to be a brutal, knock-down campaign fight..."

Naked City
News Story  June 14, 2002, by Lauri Apple
"...Leaders of the state's two largest teachers organizations said last week that thousands of Texas teachers are still in the dark about the terms of last year's school health insurance bill. Under the legislation, school employees get a $1,000 stipend that they can either apply to insurance premiums or have added to their paychecks..."

Naked City
AISD hosts a conference of public and higher education leaders to determine and discuss priorities for public education in Texas.
News Story  February 16, 2001, by Kevin Fullerton
"...The establishment of a statewide teachers' health insurance plan promises to be the Legislature's flagship education piece this session, and that may be unfortunate for local school districts. Not that anyone begrudges health coverage for teachers, but with the state's share of public education spending at an all-time low, school districts are wary of another expensive state mandate -- especially when the current school finance system is on the brink of collapse...."

Naked City
Off the Desk
News Story  July 31, 1998
"...Parents and teachers at Casis Elementary breathed an audible sigh of relief earlier this month as Dr. Barry Aidman signed on as principal, just in the nick of time..."

Re-Forming AI$D
What's behind the national involvment in local school board races?
News Story  November 26, 2014, by Richard Whittaker
"...It all seems quite noble. Great teachers..."

Perry Poisons Education Funding
How will Texas schools fare without federal education money?
News Story  September 17, 2010, by Richard Whittaker
"...With the application failing, Superintendent Sheryl Davis told the Waco Tribune-Herald that she was going to have to cut line items to cover those commitments. "All across Texas, districts are laying off teachers," said Education Austin Co-President Rae Nwosu, "and in the long run, it's going to affect the students."..."

Naked City
News Story  July 6, 2007
"...• The Education Trust released a report recently noting that teachers in high-poverty, high-minority schools are typically paid less than their suburban counterparts. The 10 largest school districts in the state were reviewed; according to the report, teachers in Austin working in the city's highest-poverty elementary schools earn an average of $2,688 less per year than those teaching in schools with fewer low-income students..."

School Board Election Preview
Race to fill District 2 spot on AISD board of trustees promises to be highly contested, with four candidates vying for empty seat left by board's longest-serving member, Rudy Montoya
News Story  April 19, 2007, by Justin Ward
"...Both Guerra and Guzman say they want to increase input from the community but by different means. Guzman wants to see a more formal structure for community involvement, such as a district standing advisory committee of parents, students, and teachers..."

On the Lege: Budget Rollout
The budget battle begins at the Capitol
News Column  March 30, 2007, by Amy Smith
"...On that score, education advocates – the ones who rally for respectable funding – are not terribly optimistic that lawmakers will free up more money for the cause. Ted Melina Raab, a lobbyist for the Texas Federation of Teachers, said there would be $600 million readily available – if lawmakers would just end their fixation with "performance incentive" bonuses..."

Naked City
Headlines and happenings from Austin and beyond
News Story  February 23, 2007
"...• Austin teachers are eligible for a grant that could provide up to $10,000 to create or supplement arts and music classes. Victoria Knight-McDowell, creator of Airborne herbal cough syrup, will provide $250,000 to teachers across 25 states, including Texas..."

Lege Notes
News Column  June 24, 2005
"...The two Houses may have an appetite for more, but Perry has proposed the floor – a 30-cent tax decrease with an increased $7,500 homestead exemption, closing a couple of loopholes and tossing out plans to replace the franchise tax because "no one has saluted that flag," he said. The plan also gives a modest $1,500 raise per year to Texas teachers..."

The Hottest Race in Texas
The David Fisher-Todd Staples Senate Contest in East Texas Will Decide the Fate of the State Senate -- and the U.S. House
News Story  October 27, 2000, by Michael King
"...Their widest differences appear over who would better deliver for East Texas on those issues. For a rural region which has often been designated "medically underserved," both promise better access to health care and prescription drugs, and to attempt to reduce insurance costs (especially for teachers)..."

Communication Breakdown
Rocked by financial crisis, AISD goes to war with itself – and everyone suffers
News Story  April 15, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...At this point, there is no other way to put it. On the one hand, the district has voted to lay off 1,153 staff members, leaving teachers and staff dispirited and parents worried about next year's classrooms..."

Farewell to Allan
Eastside parents watch AISD and IDEA dismantle their neighborhood school
News Story  June 1, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...Children played in a bouncy castle or lined up for the choo-choo train making loops around the campus. Parents and teachers hugged and handed out free ices, waiting patiently in line for the cheerful clown tying balloon animals..."

What's at Stake in Austin's Schools?
Austin ISD faces a spring election and a brace of persistent problems
News Story  March 31, 2006, by Rachel Proctor May
"...However, the board will also have to decide whether to go beyond across-the-board raises. After berating AISD for letting teacher salaries slip, the teacher compensation task force went on to roast the district for inequitable distribution of the most experienced teachers..."

University High
Community colleges are pushing "college credit" courses for high school students -- but the education is in doubt.
News Story  June 8, 2001, by Kevin Fullerton
"...Partnerships between high schools and colleges that allow students to spend part of their school day on a college campus have been standard practice for more than 20 years. But the so-called "embedded" dual credit class -- in which high school students get college credit for courses taught by their high school teachers (the colleges prefer to call them "adjunct instructors") -- is a relatively new invention..."

Changing Directions
Community-based programs aim to redirect the 'school-to-prison pipeline'
News Story  June 5, 2014, by Dagny Zenovia
"...Like many students, Kaelyn became convinced that her school, rather than providing the support she needed, was employing only punitive reactions to her behavior. For example, when she was assigned to tutoring time in the portable classrooms, she had more difficulty handling her anxiety attacks – but teachers thought she was faking..."

Changing Course
AISD shifts to community-based model for prepping younger kids for college
News Story  September 9, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...Over at Travis High, counselor Roy Larson is preparing for the new school year knowing that the incoming freshman class will be the first to face the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR tests. In another new slice of college-centric terminology, they will form a freshman community with two assistant principals, a counselor, and a group of core academic teachers..."

Public Ed's Future Hangs in Balance
It's Teacher Appreciation Week, but you'd never know it at the Lege
News Story  May 6, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...In case you hadn't noticed amid all the layoffs, budget cuts, and changes to employment law, it is Teacher Appreciation Week in Texas. The bitter irony of the situation has not been lost on statewide teachers' union Texas AFT, which issued a satirical press release May 2 on behalf of lawmakers, stating, "In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we're going to cut your pay, furlough you, cram more kids into your class, and water down your employment rights."..."

AISD Takes a Tax Bite to Voters
School board hammers out a budget
News Story  August 29, 2008, by Richard Whittaker
"...This split in three: $864.7 million for the General Fund, paying for staff and operations; $72.8 million for debt service, which pays off bonds; and $34.3 million for food service. Included in the General Fund were several key components: a 3% pay raise for teachers and full-time staff, continued full employee health care, $10-per-hour minimum wages for full-time employees ($7 for part-time), and increases in workers' compensation...."

Naked City
Headlines and happenings from Austin and beyond
News Story  June 9, 2006
"...The Department of Education has set strict guidelines on full compliance with the standard by the end of the next school year has and asked Texas to resubmit its plan to meet the "highly qualified" requirement, which means every teacher must demonstrate subject-area mastery in each subject taught and pass certification tests. It does not require any particular training for teachers or any mastery of pedagogy, such as classroom management, which many teacher groups consider to be suspect..."

Naked City
Headlines and happenings from Austin and beyond
News Story  June 2, 2006
"...Now we can, and we want to." The legislature mandated a $2,000 teacher raise in the recent special session and provided the district with $11 million from state coffers to cover it. On top of that, the district proposed kicking in another $27 million to increase the raise for teachers; boost the pay of employees who weren't covered by the legislation, such as bus drivers and custodians; and increase health insurance for all..."

Education Irony
Texas Education Agency gives $10 million to schools slated for closure in AISD repurposing plan
News Story  February 17, 2006, by Rachel Proctor May
"...But the real irony (if we can call it that) is the way the Governor's Educator Excellence Award – pitched as an "incentive" plan when Gov. Rick Perry created it via executive order in November – is set up: Low-income schools that show the greatest increases in last year's test scores receive grants of between $60,000 and $180,000 to reward teachers..."

House Gives Perry the Finger
House Bills 2 and 3 die; it's back to square one
News Column  July 29, 2005, by Amy Smith
"...Moreover, teachers say the proposed $1,000 pay raise is insulting, particularly after the Legislature sliced school employees' health care stipend in 2003 and promised to restore it in 2005. Worse, the Texas Federation of Teachers says the current proposal is crafted in such a way that it would actually decrease the salaries of 300,000 service employees, such as cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and custodians, by $41.66 a month..."

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Our readers talk back.
Columns  June 3, 2005
"...I have taught there for seven years. I love the kind, hardworking, dedicated staff of teachers and support personnel that works there..."

The Price of an Education
As the Lege looms, don't bet the house on new money for schools
News Column  November 26, 2004, by Michael King
"...Never mind: The governor wants "new measures for financial accountability in education, a new focus on educational excellence, and a new push for introducing free market principles to education." Translation: no new money but more state oversight for school districts, more standardized testing, and more "merit pay" for favored teachers and districts at the expense of the disfavored.What Your Bosses Want The 16-page Business Council report is less rhetorical and more academic, but it reads like a policy version of Perry's speech: It coyly sidesteps the school-financing question but recommends more "accountability" (academic and financial) for school districts, financial incentives for high-scoring teachers and schools, and sanctions for low scorers. The report adds a couple of additional, although now familiar, wrinkles: expansion and better funding of charter schools (whence? don't ask), and reducing management restrictions on administrators..."

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Our readers talk back.
Columns  October 10, 2003
"...But the conclusion we need to reach is not that taxes are too low, but that criminal amounts of money are being squandered. Students (and teachers too, by the way) are getting a raw deal while bean-counting education bureaucrats with no actual classroom duties are feeding at the trough of steady, fat paychecks and cash bonuses..."

Deconstructing the Public Schools
News Story  May 2, 2003, by Michael May
"..."Why would you lower these very standards that have helped districts become exemplary?" says Gregg. "It is just a way for districts to save money by shortchanging teachers and students, since the Legislature can't find the will to support public schools." The bill's supporters say it "rewards" high-performing districts..."

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Our readers talk back.
Columns  October 25, 2002
"...The Griffin School is a very special place. These are renaissance teachers, extraordinary educators! I see young adults at the school being accepted as they are: individuals..."

If You Can't Stand the Heat ...
Republican Jill Warren is behind in the polls and going negative on her Democratic opponent Ann Kitchen, in the race for House District 48 in Travis County.
News Story  October 13, 2000, by Rob D'Amico
"...Kitchen has raised $136,496, with $4,000 from the Education Austin PAC and $3,000 from the Texas State Teachers Association...."

Wants Better Schools but Less Taxes
Postmarks  October 6, 2003
"...But the conclusion we need to reach is not that taxes are too low, but that criminal amounts of money are being squandered. Students (and teachers too, by the way) are getting a raw deal while bean-counting education bureaucrats with no actual classroom duties are feeding at the trough of steady, fat paychecks and cash bonuses..."

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