News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup

Class-Size-Rules Shift Withdrawn in Texas

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Facing a lawsuit by two teachers’ unions, Texas Commissioner of Education Shirley J. Neeley has backed off from a rules change that would have allowed school districts to exceed state class-size limits without a public airing—and vote—on each waiver request.

On Oct. 5, Ms. Neeley had sent a guidance letter to school boards allowing them to grant their district superintendents the authority to ask the state for permission to exceed the class-size cap of 22 students per teacher in grades K-4. Currently, district requests must be made every semester, after a public discussion and a vote by the school board.

The letter provoked protest from teachers’ and parents’ groups, as well as a lawsuit by the Texas affiliates of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

The Texas Education Agency will now try to implement the rule through the commissioner’s formal rule-making process, rather than through a “more informal letter,” according to a statement by the agency.

No district had applied for an exception to the 22-to-1 limit under the Oct. 5 guidelines.

Vol. 24, Issue 11, Page 16

Published in Print: November 10, 2004, as Class-Size-Rules Shift Withdrawn in Texas

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