State of Texas: In-Depth – Back in class

AUSTIN (KXAN) – It’s the sound parents look forward to all summer: the school bell. As students across Texas head back to school, KXAN’s State of Texas: In-Depth took a closer look at how state policies affect students and teachers.

Research by the E3 Alliance found only 41% of students in Central Texas were ready for kindergarten. That’s a 12% drop in readiness. E3 defines readiness as having the right behavioral, social, language, and foundational skills to enter kindergarten. The group found a lack of readiness in early childhood has an impact later in their education.

President of the E3 Alliance, Susan Dawson joined KXAN’s Josh Hinkle on Saturday to discussion policy options to help students succeed. They were joined by Texas Tribune education reporter Kiah Collier.

Accountability

A week before classes began, the Texas Education Agency released accountability ratings for every school in the state. Schools either met standards or require improvement. State law requires schools that fail for several years in a row to undergo major transformations.

From Aug. 22 – Sept. 2, KXAN News will collaborate with the E3 Alliance to focus on various issues affecting students. The interviews will air on KXAN News on the CW Austin starting at 7:00 a.m.

One school that was on the cusp for years was Martin Middle School in Austin Independent School District. Following years of “improvement required,” the E3 Alliance began its RAISEup Texas program. This year, Martin MS met standards.

What to expect this week

State lawmakers like Rep. Larry Gonzales (R – Round Rock) will spend the first week of school studying up on state agencies. The Sunset Advisory Commission, which Gonzales chairs, reviews various parts of the state government looking for inefficiencies.

You can see Rep. Gonzales’ interview on State of Texas: In-Depth in the video clip above.

On Monday, the commission will examine the State Bar of Texas, the State Board of Dental Examiners, the Railroad Commission, and other agencies. The Sunset Advisory Commission makes recommendations to improve the state agencies so they operate better for Texans.

Also something to know: on Tuesday, Republican Candidate Donald Trump will hold a rally at the Travis County Expo Center east of Austin. Trump will speak in the Luedecke Arena. This will be the Republican candidate’s first event in Texas since a poll from Public Policy Polling found Trump only leading former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by 6% in Texas. For some perspective, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won Texas by close to 16% in 2012.

 

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