Texas Education Roundup

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  • Last week, a GAO Report (.pdf) noted that the Department of Education has listed Texas as a “high risk” state.  We have been marked for “Intensive Technical Assistance” and will be monitored on-site during the 2010 fiscal year.
  • The State Board of Education not only has problems with managing what we teach our children, but there is also controversy about the Board's money management.  Unfortunately, a Democrat is involved this time.

    In July, the board fired its general investment consultant, R.V. Kuhns & Associates. Responsible for shaping the fund's investment strategy and contracting decisions, Kuhns was replaced with a rival, Massachusetts-based NEPC.

    The action was taken directly contrary to the recommendation of the school fund's state staff. Not only did NEPC rank lower than Kuhns in the Texas Education Agency's evaluation, it also cost more – $1.05 million compared with Kuhns' bid of $398,000 for the same work. (In its final proposal, NEPC lowered its fee to $580,000, though it remained the high bidder.)

    The decision to hire NEPC raised concern among state officials because it was championed by board member Rick Agosto, D-San Antonio. As a marketer for institutional investment firms in his private career, Agosto had prior business contacts with NEPC.

  • Last week the 15-year Texas Student Media Director, Kathy Lawrence, retired while siting health reasons.  Assistant VP for Student Affairs Jennifer Hammat was appointed as the interim replacement.  Texas Student Media advises many media organizations run primary by students, including The Daily Texan and KVRX 91.7 FM.
  • Now that funding for the bad policy runs dry, Texas schools begin turing a cold shoulder to the failed “abstinence-only” classes.  This must explain it:

    More government money has been spent on the cause of sexual abstinence in Texas than any other state, but it still has the third-highest teen birth rate in the country and the highest percentage of teen mothers giving birth more than once.

  • Texas Tech Universitiy's enrollment has jumped over 1,500 from last year, to an all-time high of 30,049.
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