UT President Bill Powers Won't Resign Until June 2015, But His Departure Will Probably Suck

Categories: Education

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Bill Powers's resignation will be effective June 2, 2014

UT Austin's beloved president submitted his resignation for June 2015 last Wednesday
afternoon, after being presented with an ultimatum to resign or be fired by the university's chancellor, Francisco Cigarroa.

As the university's Burnt Orange Nation reports:

The [Board of Regents] has been on a crusade to oust Powers for almost three years. It's leader is Rick Perry-appointee Wallace Hall, whose efforts to pin Powers down in an admission scandal have resulted in potential illegal activity and are grounds for impeachment.

Perry has publicly praised Hall for his valiant efforts in 'uncovering the truth.'

If there is evidence that Powers was involved in a scandal, it still hasn't been leaked to the media. Admissions director Kedra Ishop stepped down at the end of June, just days before the investigation was launched, to accept a position at Michigan -- which she described as a promotion.

This "admissions scandal" consists of allegations against Powers for supposedly admitting under-qualified students into the school because of their political connections according to Breitbart, who originally broke the story.

But more important than these politics, surely, is the effect Powers's resignation will have on the people the university is meant to serve -- namely, its students.

Hair Balls interviewed Houston-area Longhorns to get their input, and there seems to be a consensus among them: Powers is clearly an asset to the university, and students love him.

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Municipal Courts Offering Alcohol, Tobacco Education Programs

Categories: Courts, Education

Photo by SuperFantastic

Hey rebel teenagers in trouble with the law, have a minor in possession of alcohol, minor in possession of tobacco, or public intoxication charge you have to deal with? Look no further than the City of Houston Municipal Courts Department to help you.

The Municipal Courts Department is now offering alcohol education programs for minors, and Texas Tobacco Awareness Program education to minors via the Juvenile Case Manager Program. The courses will satisfy judgments that require alcohol or tobacco education for lawbreakers hit with minor in possession of alcohol, tobacco or public intoxication charges handed out in any state court.

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Inmate Moms Learn How to be Moms (and Use Computers) in Harris County Jail

Categories: Education

Harris County Sheriff's Office
Soon-to-be mothers are given the tools to success for raising their children.

In May, female inmates at the Harris County Jail spent four hours a day, five days a week learning how to use programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the basics of web design.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia partnered with The Mexican Institute of Greater Houston to offer inmates a five-week computer literacy course as part of a larger program called Mentoring Moms. Mentoring Moms, which started in November, is the first program at Harris County Jail that deals exclusively with women and parenting.

"The program hopes to make these moms productive members of society," said Christina Garza of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, "and keep them away from the life of crime that got them into the jail in the first place."

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Rice Professor Will Study People Displaced by Houston's Residential Developments

Photo by Norm Lanier

It doesn't take a lot of looking around to see new construction all over the place in Houston. A Rice sociologist wants to find out who is being affected by Houston's rapid residential development.

Led by sociology professor Steven Murdock, the former head of the U.S. Census Bureau, Rice will begin a three-year study examining the impacts of recent urban development in Houston's metropolitan area.

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HISD Votes to Shake Up Magnet School Funding, Although Some Ask Where It Got Its Numbers

Categories: Education

Houston ISD Live TV
Parent Sana Ahmedani with her son speaks against the magnet funding changes at last night's meeting

In the end, all the cute kids and impassioned adults in turns eloquent and stumbling as they rushed their way through speeches compressed to one-minute increments, came to nothing last night when the Houston ISD school board voted to go along with Superintendent Terry Grier's reallocation of funding for the district's magnet program.

Hurt most, of course, will be T.H. Rogers whose special blend of vanguard, deaf and multiply-impaired kids won the district so much national recognition over the years. It will lose $925,000 from its budget over three years in a phased-in adjustment.

The school fielded several public speakers Thursday night, as did Kolter Elementary and some of the other schools who will see their funds diminish over the next few years, while other schools' magnet programs receive more money.

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Parents and Students Ask Houston ISD to Leave Their Magnet Schools Alone

Categories: Education

Photo by Margaret Downing
It could have been a prayer meeting. Opponents of magnet funding changes at their schools waved their hands in silent applause in the public speaking portion of last night's HISD board meeting
In the penultimate episode before the upcoming June 19 school board decision on changing the Houston ISD magnet school funding formula, a number of parents and students turned out last night to ask the question: If these programs are working so well, why does HISD want to destroy them?

"I am a single parent and and I'm a taxpayer. And I want public funds to be spent wisely," speaker Susan Goll told the board. "So I am baffled because the current administration and the superintendent are proposing devastating cuts to top schools, schools with a proven record of success at educating children from across our ethnically, economically and racially diverse district. And these cuts are being proposed when there is a budget surplus."

Acknowledging that there were other financial needs in the district such as teacher pay, Goll, the parent of a student going into eighth grade at T.H. Rogers, said: "But these funding needs are not going to be met by undermining schools that have been successful.

"Punishing excellence is not the right decision."

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HISD Magnets Get One More Week to Plead Their Case, Teachers to Get a New Set of Evaluation Rules

Categories: Education

Photo by Margaret Downing
Members of Terry Grier's administration explaining their new and better teacher evaluation plan to HISD trustees Monday
Members of the Houston ISD community upset about proposed changes in funding for magnet programs throughout the district will have one more week to marshal their persuasive skills and move trustees away from the changes proposed by Superintendent Terry Grier.

Board President Juliet Stipeche on Monday morning pulled the item from the agenda for Thursday night's board meeting. It will still be up for discussion - and it's anticipated there will be a lot of it from the public Thursday - but it won't be voted on until June 19.

Trustee Paula Harris hosted a community meeting on the issue for her district at the Hattie Mae White administration building right before the board met for agenda review in preparation for the meeting.

Under the proposed redistribution of wealth, schools like T.H. Rogers would lose thousands of dollars while other magnet schools, previously not so well funded, would gain thousands. Opponents to the change argue that their programs have accomplished a lot in terms of student achievement and recognition for the school district and want to know why what they consider a very successful formula is being jettisoned.

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If It's True, UT Austin Nursing Students Can't Show Too Much This Summer [Updated]

Categories: Education

Dress codes in nursing school, it's a matter of life and death.
Update 5p.m.: We did hear back from UT Austin officials who had to send out a statement on the matter. An update post follows.

After the feminist website Jezebel broke news of a sign hung up around the UT Austin's school of nursing sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday, university officials were quick to respond.

The sign. which called revealing summer attire (mostly women's clothing items) a "distraction" to the learning environment that must not be worn, was taken down by Wednesday afternoon, according to the school's Assistant Dean, Gayle Timmerman. "We're focusing on students portraying a professional image, regardless of where they're at," she told Hair Balls.

She said a part-time staffer created four signs that were meant as "friendly reminders" about the school's dress code. Yes, there is a dress code and it does say "Revealing clothing must not be worn," Timmerman told us. However, it's not a gender-specific guide. So the part about cleavage that's in the original signage that drew the attention, she said, isn't really in the actual student handbook.

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UT System Won't Raise In-State Tuition, So Now What?

Categories: Education

Photo by Phil Roeder from Flickr
The Eyes of Texas are Upon Students' Financial Statements.

Students in the University of Texas system can get their education and keep (some of) their money, too.

The UT System Board of Regents unanimously voted Tuesday not to raise in-state tuition at any of the system's nine institutions.

According to UT spokesperson Karen Adler, the proposed tuition hikes varied at each institution, but would've raised tuition for in-state undergraduates by 2 to 3 percent at each UT school.

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Report Puts Houston Among Big Cities Closing Schools Serving Communities of Color

Categories: Education

Houston lost more than 30 public schools.
A coalition of grassroots community groups has included the Houston Independent School District in its report this month about school closings that disproportionately affect communities of color.

While Houston isn't among the cities with triple-digit closings like Detroit, New York and Chicago, it did make a list of districts that have shut more than 25 schools. Places that include Columbus (Ohio), Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Washington. D.C., Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Baltimore.

Read: HISD Officially Unveils Its Proposed 2014-15 Budget, Which Changes the Magnet School Funding Equation

We left a message for an HISD spokesperson, but we haven't heard back from the district yet.

The report, titled "Death by a Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage," comes on the heels of recent events in Houston, which included the repurposing of Jones High School and an injunction filed against the district by the NAACP (a move later denied by the court).

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