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24th January 2023
Sen. Brandon Creighton retains control of state Senate Education Committee
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Monday announced this year's Senate committee assignments, appointments that he said will "ensure we succeed in addressing the priorities of the people of Texas.” Sen. Brandon Creighton, a Conroe Republican, maintained control of the Education Committee, which will now oversee higher education legislation in addition to bills that impact K-12 learning. He also will also chair a new subcommittee on higher education. Conservative lawmakers have promised to make education a top focus, with leaders like Mr. Patrick targeting tenure in higher education and Mr. Creighton advocating for a “parental bill of rights” that would likely limit what educators can teach children about race, gender and sex in public schools.
IRS raises teacher tax deduction ceiling
For the first time since the Internal Revenue Service enacted the educator expense deduction in 2002, the agency has raised it from $250 to $300 for the current tax filing season. K-12 educators who work a minimum of 900 hours during the school year will benefit and among the items deductible are classroom materials, including technology equipment and any COVID-19 protective items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Classroom teachers use around $550 of their own money each year to provide their students with basic supplies, according to data from, prompting financial experts to complain that the deduction broadly falls short. Pauline Stavrou, a tax attorney for Frost Tax Law in Baltimore, comments: “The amount is just so small, it’s a joke.”
Jack Yates principal set to return to campus
Jack Yates High School Principal Tiffany Guillory will be returning to her post at the school, an Houston ISD spokesperson confirmed Monday. She was abruptly removed from the position in mid-December, not long before the district shutdown for winter break. The school district declined to provide any details behind the reasoning of her departure. During a board meeting trustees were asked to approve her termination. Six trustees voted against terminating and three in favor.
Corpus Christi ISD to showcase high school programs to potential students
Corpus Christi ISD is hosting a high school expo to showcase career and technical programs across the district. The event is scheduled for Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Carroll High School cafeteria. Seventh through ninth graders are invited to learn about the various offerings at each of the district's high school campuses. "Sometimes the students aren't aware of all the opportunities that are there for them," said Bryan Davis of the CCISD college, career and military readiness office. Some programs are only housed at one campus, but students from across the district can apply to transfer and take advantage of these "programs of choice." These include drones, dental science, maritime, construction management, health care, agriculture, law enforcement and culinary arts. Students who complete a career and technical program have the opportunity to earn industry credentials. Freshmen are encouraged to attend the event if they are considering changing programs. In addition to CCISD middle school students, families from other area districts and the community are invited to attend to see what the district has to offer
Diocese of Brownsville announces new superintendent of Catholic schools
Marcelo Eureste will become the superintendent of Catholic schools on April 17th, the Diocese of Brownsville has announced. Current superintendent, Sister Cynthia Mello of the Sisters of St. Dorothy, will be leaving her role after nine years to take up new responsibilities assigned by her religious community. Mr. Eureste has more than 20 years of educational experience, serving as a teacher, counselor, assistant principal and principal, and served Catholic schools for 10 years in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Most recently, he served five years in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as principal of St. Anthony High School.
Belton trustees approve new Tarver Elementary assistant principal
Belton ISD trustees have approved the hiring of Alysa Curtis as assistant principal at Tarver Elementary School. Ms. Curtis, an educator for a decade, served six years as a teacher at Southwest Elementary before becoming an instructional coach at Sparta Elementary in 2019. Trustees also approved an update on key progress measures as part of the district's five long-term goals. The district said “every campus and central office will implement two or more new, targeted strategies to increase partnerships with parents by May 2023.” “As a district, we've intentionally been working to strengthen our partnership with parents because we know how critical it is to student success,” Jennifer Bailey, executive director of communications and community engagement, said. “…Our school district is stronger because of their partnership.”
New survey challenges schools' education priorities
Many adults in the Unites States feel that K-12 schools should place a higher priority on preparing students for careers and "basic life skills" rather than college readiness, according to a new nationally-representative survey entitled "Purpose of Education Index" by the Massachusetts-based Populace think. In 2019, Americans ranked students being prepared to enroll in a college or university as the 10th highest priority for K-12 schools. In 2022, that fell to 47th out of 57 total priorities. The results vary significantly by race however. Preparing students for college ranked much higher as a priority among Black, Hispanic, and Asian survey respondents. Asian respondents ranked it the highest at No. 9, and Black and Hispanic respondents both ranked it as the 22nd highest priority. White respondents ranked it 46th. Survey respondents said teaching students practical skills, such as learning how to manage personal finances, should be a priority for schools. They also identified teaching students how to “think critically to problem solve and make decisions,” “demonstrate character,” such as honesty and ethics, achieve basic reading, writing, and math skills, and have access to learning supports as the top five priorities.
Cy-Fair students receive free vision care, eyewear at 'See to Succeed' event
Cy-Fair ISD and the Houston Health Department recently teamed up to make sure students get the vision care they deserve. The district held a See to Succeed event January 9th through January 12th, giving 873 students the opportunity to undergo an eye exam and receive new eyewear. The See to Succeed initiative aims to provide a free vision clinic to students ages 6-18 who did not pass state-mandated vision screenings conducted on campus, a district press release details. Cy-Fair ISD said 270 more students from other CFISD elementary and middle schools are expected to visit Houston Health Department for the same service in February. “See to Succeed is an amazing program that serves as a safety net for students that may have barriers in receiving glasses,” Jacy King, program manager for See to Succeed, said in a statement. “When students put those glasses on, they do better academically, behaviorally, and better all around. Seeing that immediate impact is the best feeling of all.”
Greg Abbott breaks ground on new UT Tyler Medical School
Officials broke ground on the new University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine on Monday. Community members joined officials including Gov. Greg Abbott, other elected officials such as Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), U.S. Rep. Nathaniel Moran (R-Tyler), Smith County Judge Neal Franklin, county commissioners, Tyler Mayor Don Warren, city councilmembers along with UT system officials such as Chairman Kevin Eltife, UT Chancellor James Milliken, UT Tyler President Kirk Calhoun and more for the special ceremony in Tyler's midtown medical district for a $308 million Medical Education Building , which will house UT Tyler's new School of Medicine. The Medical Education Building, a planned five-story, nearly 248,000-square-foot facility, will be constructed on roughly five acres in the heart of Tyler’s medical district in Midtown. It will support interdisciplinary education for graduate medical students, resident training and nursing as part of a medical education program expansion throughout the UT Health East Texas Health System.

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