News Roundup: TEA Report Cards Show Improvement For Some Houston Schools

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Alexandra HartAugust 16, 2019 4:29 pm

;The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas on Thursday released report cards for public and charter school campuses under the new A-F accountability system.

Houston Public Media’s Laura Isensee reports that Houston ISD, which faces a state intervention at some of its schools, made some improvements. But many of its underperforming campuses are still under scrutiny.

The Texas Education Agency released new report cards with A-F letter grades for all public schools. In Houston: four schools had to improve, or they could trigger a state takeover of the entire school board.

Kashmere High School, which was on the state’s failing list longer than any other school in Texas, made a C. Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan celebrated with the principal, staff and community members.

“It is not how you start the race it’s how you finish the race,” Lathan said.

But the other three schools didn’t make enough progress to completely remove sanctions. Lathan blamed technical rules on one failing grade and pledged they will pass next year.

Still the grades give the State Education Commissioner another reason to consider replacing the Houston school board after state investigators recommended a takeover based on multiple violations.

Parents and teachers can check out state reports cards for all public and charter schools at

Friday, NASA was expected to announce that Huntsville, Alabama will be ground zero for the Artemis program – a mission to send astronauts back to the moon. But Texas lawmakers say the base for the program belongs in Houston.

In a letter sent Thursday to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and Rep. Brian Babin call on NASA to reconsider. The letter argues that Johnson Space Center’s history as mission control for the Apollo program makes it more suitable for the new project. They also cite Houston’s role as home to the Astronaut Corps and International Space Station operations. They’re asking NASA to hold off on the announcement until they receive a briefing on the matter.

An above-average horsefly population this summer is becoming a headache for livestock producers.

The blood-sucking bugs are out in force this year, and inflicting painful bites on horses, cattle and wildlife. It’s not exactly clear what’s behind the explosion. But Sonja Swiger  an entomologist with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, says it may be linked to recent weather conditions.

“Not having super cold winters, having nice amounts of rain of rain at various times throughout the year allows the larva to survive” Swiger  says.

The bad news is that there’s not much livestock owners can do but wait it out. The horsefly season typically ends around the first freeze.