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15 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
Bridging the Digital Divide: What Challenge Does Texas Face? (Part 2)
Deep in West Texas is the tiny town of Presidio – a remote community that is 90 miles away from the nearest McDonald’s and more than 200 miles away from the nearest Walmart. So what does a remote city like Presidio have in common with more urban areas hundreds of miles away in the Rio Grande Valley? They are all communities lacking the infrastructure to provide reliable and affordable access to the internet to their residents.With conversations happening about virtual education options for the future, Texas must solve the digital divide and that solution rests on solving infrastructure and access issues. The solutions need to work for students in major metropolitan areas as well as the students in the most rural communities. In part two of Intersect Ed’s look at the digital divide in Texas, we focus on what innovative solutions communities are finding to close the gap between the haves and the have nots of the internet age.
19 minutes | May 14, 2021
Bridging the Digital Divide: What Challenge Does Texas Face? (Part 1)
From students using restaurants’ WIFI to parents spending hundreds of dollars a month on hotspots for their children’s schoolwork, our state’s public education system has been forever changed by the pandemic. In this podcast episode of Intersect Ed (part 1 of 2), we focus on the digital divide — what it is, who is affected by it, how it is affecting Texas public schools and their students, and, most importantly, how experts and lawmakers can help to close the divide.Listen as Tessa Benavides, our media relations associate, digs into how the pandemic has surfaced inequities in our state’s public education — and why in the long term we need to be intentional about how we solve these inequities so all students have equitable access to online learning.
19 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
The Future of Virtual and Remote Learning
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed what schooling has looked like over the past year. It has entirely upended instructional models and brought about a myriad of new issues regarding the equity and accessibility of online instruction.For some students and families, pandemic schooling has been unimaginably difficult. Other students, however, may have thrived off of this model. Moving forward, as online instruction becomes a more visible part of our educational system, it is essential that we find policies – at both the district and state level – that ensure our virtual schools are high quality.Throughout the episode, we highlight the voices of virtual school educators and leaders from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and Texas Tech’s virtual academy. Listeners will learn about the importance of a student-centered administration, funding’s impact on strong district-virtual school partnerships, policies to ensure virtual learning is the best fit for students, and the need for rigorous training and support for students, parents, and teachers.
10 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
Who Vouchers Hurt — and Where School Choice Really Works
In the 86th legislative session, Texas lawmakers committed to increase funding for public schools by passing House Bill 3. That unity led to teachers getting raises, school districts getting funds to offer or expand full-day pre-K programs to eligible 4-year-olds, and taxpayers getting property tax relief.This year, the pandemic presents major budget challenges for public schools. In the 87th legislative session, vouchers could put public schools at risk of losing those funds from the previous session.In our latest Intersect Ed podcast episode, part of our legislative agenda series, our host Alejandro Izaguirre debunks the myth that school choice does not exist in Texas public schools. Listen from education policy professors who will also highlight the negative impacts voucher programs have on students and families. You’ll also hear from experts at Raise Your Hand Texas and school leaders across the state on how public schools are stepping up to offer more school choice options for their students.
19 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
Teachers: Texas' Greatest Asset
Educators are telling us it will take teachers – lots of skilled, well-trained teachers – to close the learning gaps sustained during the last year. But will those teachers be there when the districts start to hire? The pandemic didn’t create the challenges facing the teacher pipeline in Texas, but it has certainly made addressing that problem more urgent.Our 10th episode of Intersect Ed, part of our legislative agenda series, examines the imperative to invest in and improve the teacher workforce in Texas.In this episode, you will hear from Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath on increased challenges facing schools due to the pandemic; financial investments in how the state develops teachers; and the need to shift cultural perceptions of one of our most valuable professions.You will also hear from Dr. Cathy Horn, the Moores Professor and Chair of the Department of Education Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Houston and the Executive Director of the Institute for Education Policy Research and Evaluation. To get a more expansive view of the challenges facing the teacher workforce in Texas, Raise Your Hand reached out to Dr. Horn to conduct a ten-year longitudinal study on the teacher pipeline. The report revealed a number of findings, some of which tell an unsettling story.Listen now to learn why recruitment, development, and retention of the most promising future teachers must be a top priority for the state of Texas. Together, we have the opportunity to move the needle on the persistent inequities that exist in our teacher workforce and ensure the current health crisis doesn’t become a generational education crisis.
16 minutes | Mar 12, 2021
The Misconceptions of the "Missing Students"
This Intersect Ed episode examines the misconceptions around students who are “missing” from their public school. Critics often place blame on educators saying they are not doing enough to find their students. What we know is the exact opposite: educators are going above and beyond to stay connected to their students.As conversations around the state budget begin to happen at the Capitol, our public schools need more funding so they can continue to lead the charge of our state’s recovery. Educators are working tirelessly to support their students every day. This work is often tedious and time consuming, but it is also often the most impactful.In our ninth episode of Intersect Ed, hosted by Raise Your Hand’s Tessa Benavides, we hear directly from superintendents and educators who are working daily to ensure every student across Texas is connected to their school. Throughout the episode, listeners will learn about the lengths school districts are going to find students and what barriers they are helping students and families to navigate throughout the pandemic.
27 minutes | Mar 5, 2021
Education Experts Go Deep on Texas' Second Annual Public Education Poll
We’ve said since the beginning that the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation Poll is for everyone. It is for educators, researchers, lawmakers, and communities. It represents the voices of all Texans about an issue that impacts all Texans. It is Texas’ poll.The eighth Intersect Ed podcast episode features education experts from a variety of fields reflecting on the Foundation Poll data and how it impacts their work. This was always the goal — that Texas across fields would use the research to inform decisions and stimulate action to improve public education for all students and families.The experts we spoke with are: Heather Sheffield the board president of Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessments and a school board trustee in Eanes ISD; Chandra Kring Villanueva, the economic opportunity program director at Every Texan, formally the Center for Public Policy Priorities; Dr. Charles Martinez, the dean of the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin; and Kevin Malonson the Texas executive director for Teach Plus.
21 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
Pre-K: The Essential Pandemic Response
It was March 2019 and early childhood education supporters, dressed in “pre-K purple,” flooded the State Capitol, asking legislators to “Stop the Yo-Yo” and fund full-day pre-Kindergarten for eligible 4-year-olds. We called it the Power of Pre-K Day.Thanks to this and the efforts of so many in the early childhood field, the yo-yo finally stopped bouncing. Full-day pre-K funding was part of the bipartisan House Bill 3 investment in Texas public education that passed in May 2019.Our latest Intersect Ed podcast episode, part of our legislative agenda series, explores why pre-K is more powerful than ever — for all the research-based reasons we’ve touted for more than a decade, combined with the urgency of closing pandemic learning gaps and supporting the state’s economic recovery.Listen as we hear from an educator, renowned researcher, statewide political leader, and sitting legislator about what it’s going to take to preserve pre-K funding in the face of budget challenges.And don’t miss our special dedication at the end of the episode. It sums up everything you need to know about why and how we should support our youngest learners.
9 minutes | Dec 22, 2020
Time to Act: Why We Need the State To Ho-Ho-Hold Schools Harmless This December
This school year, due to the pandemic, Texas public schools have seen steep enrollment declines that could have impacted their budgets. Thankfully the state has stepped in, and rather than funding schools based on their average daily attendance numbers, they opted to fund schools based on historical attendance data, something called “hold harmless.”Unfortunately, the hold harmless funding model is set to expire on Dec. 31, and if it does, schools could be forced to make some pretty severe cuts.In our sixth episode of Intersect Ed, hosted by Raise Your Hand’s Tessa Benavides, we take an up-close dive into what “hold harmless” really means for school districts across the state and what effects schools will immediately feel if it expires.Throughout the episode you will hear from two superintendents and Bob Popinski, Raise Your Hand’s Director of Policy. This episode is part of a series laying out the biggest issues our schools will face in the coming year that Raise Your Hand Texas will champion during the 2021 Texas Legislative session.
16 minutes | Sep 15, 2020
The COVID-19 Crunch
In our fifth episode of Intersect Ed, hosted by Raise Your Hand's Alejandro Izaguirre, we want to give you a landscape view of what school budgets look like for the upcoming school year and how the economic recession may impact school districts in the 2021 Texas Legislative session.You will hear from Chief Financial Officers from school districts across the state, a facilities worker, a principal, and a bus driver on what it's like to run a public school during a global pandemic. Continued investment is one of the most important issues schools across Texas will face and one Raise Your Hand will champion during the upcoming session. This episode is the first in a new series laying out the biggest issues our schools will face in the coming year that Raise Your Hand Texas will champion during the 2021 Texas Legislative session.
19 minutes | Aug 20, 2020
Leaning on Connection to Lead through Crisis
In our fourth episode of Intersect Ed, hosted by Raise Your Hand’s Cody Huie, we’re giving you the opportunity to be a fly on the wall for two fascinating group conversations as school leaders from across the state planned, prepared, and reimagined school for the 2020-21 school year. While there are many unknown and unresolved challenges ahead, these internal conversations demonstrate that district and campus leaders are hard at work to create consistent, quality, and equitable instructional opportunities for all students. And they are not planning in isolation. School leaders across Texas are working together to analyze ideas and strategies for safely reopening schools. This is the core intent of the Raising School Leader’s alumni network – to strengthen connections and encourage collaboration between educators around the state.
16 minutes | Jul 29, 2020
Missed Milestones: Graduating High School During a Global Pandemic
When a high school senior walks across the stage to receive their diploma, it often feels like they are taking their first steps into adulthood. Jackie Peña planned to speak on that stage and pour her heart out to all the other students. She says she is “the first [in my family] to graduate in the top 10 of my class. So graduation for me was kind of like my perfect dream.”For the Class of 2020, however, that milestone ended up feeling very different. Proms were canceled, party plans altered and traditional graduation ceremonies were delayed and held in new socially distant ways. Despite the changes, principals, teachers, and school leaders worked tirelessly to ensure that their high school seniors' accomplishments were celebrated. In our third episode of IntersectEd, hosted by Raise Your Hand Texas’ Alejandro Izaguirre, we will hear from several members of the Class of 2020 in Houston about how school closures and emergency remote learning impacted their final semester of high school. School leaders and educators will also share the ways they tried to help these seniors navigate their final days of high school in the midst of a global pandemic.
17 minutes | Jul 15, 2020
Beyond the Classroom: How Teachers Are Coping and Connecting in the Age of COVID
When Texas schools closed in mid-March, teachers had to pivot almost overnight to a new model of teaching, while simultaneously dealing with crisis management. Over the following months, we saw social media posts of teachers serving meals, leading parades, holding up encouraging signs, or tutoring students across their lawn. As these social media moments began to fade, we wanted to learn more about what their daily work was like throughout the spring semester. In the second episode of Intersect Ed, hosted by Raise Your Hand’s Tessa Benavides, listeners hear from five teachers from across Texas. They share the challenges and successes they had dealing with a lack of access to reliable internet and technology, building an engaging virtual classroom, navigating student engagement through a crisis, and finding ways to meaningfully connect with parents and families.
14 minutes | Jun 25, 2020
Navigating a Pandemic: What's on Teachers' Minds?
For many teachers across Texas, the days before Spring Break marked the last time they would physically be in their classrooms and spend in-person time with their students. Since schools closed permanently for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year, teachers have been working non-stop to adjust to emergency remote learning. This episode hosted by Raise Your Hand’s Victoria Wang, focuses on one key question: How has this been pandemic been affecting teachers’ mental health?
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