Commissioner of Education Michael Williams was notified Sept. 29 by the U.S. Department of Education that it has approved the state’s request for renewal of flexibility from specific provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act, through the end of the 2015-2016 school year. The approval comes with specific conditions that must be met beyond the current year, placing the state on “high-risk status” for continued approval.

TCTA members have a valuable resource from the TCTA Legal Department: the "Removing Disruptive Students from Class" guide. TCTA compiled this outline of key provisions of Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code as a resource for TCTA members and recently UPDATED it to reflect changes made by Senate Bill 107 during the 2015 legislative session. Download the guide here.

All the education groups in Texas knew it was going to be a tough session when a change in Senate rules eliminated the ability of Senate Democrats to block legislation – a crucial weapon in previous sessions. The change meant that just about every bill that created a private school voucher, privatized more public schools or took away school employee rights had a very good chance of passing the Senate, and many of them did. TCTA and other public education advocates had to fight hard to fend off these harmful proposals, most of which were successfully defeated thanks in large part to House leaders and all the Legislative Stars who followed through on their promises as friends of education.

Nearly 100 education-related bills passed in the 2015 session – here are a few worth paying special attention to, including bills to decriminalize truancy, reduce paperwork redundancy and studies on testing and TEKS.

TCTA believes that teachers are responsible for classroom management, but discipline should be addressed – effectively – outside of the classroom. This was the premise behind the legislative proposal that became SB 107. Over the years, hundreds of TCTA members have called in to the TCTA legal department with a common concern. Disruptive students are sent to the principal and sent right back to the classroom, with little to no change in behavior, until now.

Misinformation. It’s a word that came up with regularity during the 2015 session, often applied by legislators and reform supporters to communications between teacher associations and our members, or information provided to legislators.If the legislative definition of misinformation is “explaining what a bad bill actually does, especially when the bill supporters don’t know that’s what the bill does,” then we’re guilty as charged. Read more to see how TCTA's strong offense and defense improved session outcomes.

Mother Teresa once said, “The best way to find yourself is the service of others.” Those words have inspired 2015-16 Texas Classroom Teachers Association state president Teresa Koehler, whom many call Mother Teresa, since she adopted the moniker in her first campaign for Professional Rights and Responsibilities chair. Read more about Koehler and what she hopes to accomplish during her presidency.

This fall could usher in a new era of education reform with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (NCLB). This summer, both the House and Senate chambers passed separate packages of legislation that must now be hashed out in a conference agreement to be signed into law by President Obama. Learn more about both bills and what's ahead.

Presenters at TCTA's annual convention this summer offered many resources for teachers. Here are a few tools you may want to use in your classroom as a new year gets underway to help with classroom and time management as well as make the most of new technology in your lessons.

On Tuesday, the Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in an appeal by the State of Texas and the two groups of intervening plaintiffs (intervenors) who did not prevail at the district court level in the latest round of school finance litigation. Previously, Travis County District Judge John Dietz agreed with three groups representing school districts, taxpayers, parents and students that the current system is unconstitutional. Dietz ruled against the so-called Efficiency Intervenors, who argue that the current system is qualitatively inefficient. He also ruled against most of the arguments of another group of intervenors representing charter schools. These rulings were appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.