Eric Hale is the first Black man named Texas Teacher of the Year: ‘I’m not the first to deserve it’

“I’m the first to win it, but I’m not the first to deserve it,” he said.

Hale teaches first and second grade at David G. Burnet Elementary School in Dallas, where 98 percent of students live below the national poverty line.

For Hale, being an educator is about far more than teaching letters and numbers.

“I am a teacher because I’m chasing the ghost of the educator I needed as a child,” he said. “My mission is to make sure that children that are going through poverty and traumatic experiences get the hope they need.”

Hale’s own childhood trauma steeled him, he said, supplying him with the necessary tools to reach out to children living through similar circumstances.

Growing up in West Phoenix, Ariz., Hale’s troubles began when he was 6. His stepfather’s mental health challenges spurred erratic and violent attacks toward his mother and the children. Hale and his

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Texas flouted special education guidelines for therapy, U.S. officials say

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Texas has failed to ensure children with developmental delays have early access to speech and occupational therapy and other services, according to a letter ​written this week by U.S. education officials who say the state is not complying with federal special education guidelines.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has three months to draw up a plan to ensure that a program that pays for infants and toddlers to receive such early intervention therapies is reaching all eligible Texans, federal officials wrote. Failure to do so could cost the state federal funding.

After years of budget cuts in Texas caused nonprofit therapy providers to drop out of the program, U.S. Department of Education officials found Texas to be in “significant noncompliance” with education guidelines on early intervention services.

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Texas earns an ‘F’ in how it teaches students about climate change, groups say

Texas is failing to properly educate students on the realities of climate change and global warming, according to a new report by the National Center for Science Education and the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund.

The report gave Texas and five other states an “F” grade in terms of how well their schools addressed the scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by human activity, as well as the consensus that there are ways to mitigate its impact.

“A failing grade on this topic is simply not acceptable,” said Kathy Miller, president of the TFN Education Fund, in a press conference.

The report comes as the Texas State Board of Education prepares to overhaul public school science standards this fall. Representatives from the National Center for Science Education and TFN recommended that Texas reassess how climate change is taught during that overhaul.

A lack of proper science education

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Education watchdogs give Texas an ‘F’ for its climate change curriculum

Texas is one of just six states to receive an “F” grade for its teachings of climate change in public schools, according to a Thursday report by the left-leaning Texas Freedom Network Education Fund and the National Center for Science Education.

A natural gas facility near Coyanosa, Texas, Aug. 12, 2020. (Jessica Lutz/The New York Times)


A natural gas facility near Coyanosa, Texas, Aug. 12, 2020. (Jessica Lutz/The New York Times)

The report said Texas’ standards “largely ignore the issue” of climate change and generally fail to acknowledge the seriousness of the crisis. The findings come as Texas is in the process of updating its science curriculum standards, which will be finalized next month.


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“Scientists have long warned that climate change would lead to increasingly extreme weather events, and it’s critical that education policymakers in Texas and elsewhere act with the urgency the crisis requires,” Kathy Miller, president of the TFN Education Fund, said in a release. “This means

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What Texas stands to lose by failing to require LGBTQ-inclusive sex education

The Texas State Board of Education is revising the health and sex education standards for Texas students, and we have a real opportunity to take a much-needed step forward for all youth across our state.

The last time the board revised the standards was 1997, a generation ago. Bill Clinton was in the White House, fewer than 20% of American households had internet access and the world was mourning the death of Princess Diana.

We’ve come a long way since then. Marriage equality has been the law of the land for five years, LGBTQ workers are covered under federal employment law, and public opinion polling shows Texans overwhelmingly support equal rights for LGBTQ people. But LGBTQ youth in Texas still do not see themselves or their experiences reflected in the curriculum. The board missed a chance in September to protect students by voting to exclude information on sexual orientation and

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Texas teachers concerns mount as school start nears

There is a lot of uncertainly when it comes to the upcoming school year; an uncertainty that state educators are trying to navigate.

HOUSTON — With the seemingly daily change of plans, announcements, decrees, conference calls and legal opinions, bringing students back to the classroom in Texas has turned into a fight; a fight between the Federal government, state and local administrators in charge of the health departments and education systems. 

Add to that teacher groups, airing their concerns about what they call either unrealistic safety suggestions or unimplementable plans, and parents who want their kids back in school. No one is really certain what tomorrow will look like, much less when and how the kids are supposed to be learning.

Texas teachers from across the state who spoke with KHOU11 say they are either feeling unheard or left out of the discussions and planning at the decision-making levels, telling

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What Texas lawmakers are saying about Trump’s COVID diagnosis

WASHINGTON — Texans were sending out prayers and jeers in equal measure after President Donald Trump announced he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19.

a man and a woman holding a sign: An artist from Gurukul art school paints a poster carrying a message for U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania in Mumbai, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. President Trump said early Friday that he and first lady Melania have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that plunges the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

© Rajanish Kakade, STF / Associated Press

An artist from Gurukul art school paints a poster carrying a message for U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania in Mumbai, India, Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. President Trump said early Friday that he and first lady Melania have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that plunges the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

“I hope this is a wake up call that this virus is not a hoax or something cured by injecting bleach,” Julián Castro, the former San Antonio mayor and U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary, tweeted after wishing the president well. “We need a plan, not the same divisive, dangerous

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Online Alcohol Safety Education Program Available at No Cost for High School Students in Florida, Texas, and New York

– Digital course helps students make better choices about alcohol safety and gives teachers additional e-learning resources during COVID-19 –

The Youth Alcohol Awareness and Education Foundation, Inc.—established by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits to fund programs that support alcohol safety and underage drinking prevention—today announced the AlcoholEdu for High School online curriculum is now available at no cost for all public and private high schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties in Florida, Dallas and Collin counties in Texas, and Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, and Richmond counties in New York for the 2020-2021 school year. After successfully launching the program in South Florida in 2017 and then Dallas in 2019, the Youth Alcohol Awareness and Education Foundation is proud to further expand the AlcoholEdu for High School program into New York for this latest school year. The program will be available in these three markets for the next

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2020 Election: Texas Board of Education, Austin ISD board seats

There are several State Board of Education seats on the ballot, as well as Austin Board of Trustees seats.

AUSTIN, Texas — While the presidential race is at the top of the ticket this November, down the ballot, Central Texans will make decisions that will impact the way children are taught in classrooms.

“You know, in many ways it’s, it’s more important, I think, than even elections at the State or federal level because those are the individuals who are close to home,” said Glenda Ballard, a lifelong educator and the associate vice president of graduate and professional studies at St. Edward’s University. “Those are the individuals who are most nearly going to reflect the values of the area and are going to impact the same decisions that are ultimately made.”

Let’s look at some of what’s on the ballot that directly impacts education in Central Texas. 

There are 15

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Texas families struggle with digital divide for virtual learning

The TEA said it is working to address the problem. Part of its Operation Connectivity is to map the dead zones and bring affordable internet to students who need it.

HOUSTON — Every day, a million times over, Jamie Gould pleads for her kids’ patience, pushes them to keep studying as they repeatedly lose internet connection and provides tech support to the best of her non-technologically-inclined ability. 

“We have a lot of horrible internet connection issues out here,” Gould said.

The mom of three living south of San Antonio in Bexar County said she lives in a dead zone where multiple hotspots provided by the school district are not working.

“I feel like I’m failing as a mom, because I’m not able to give them the Internet like we need at the moment,” Gould said.

It’s week six of virtual learning for Gould’s two middle schoolers and a high schooler.

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