Commercial Property owners should pay the real value in property taxes.

Most homeowners pay taxes on the real value of their property. But many large commercial property owners routinely report below-market values on their properties, then use appeals and lawsuits to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. According to an analysis by Real Values for Texas, over the last five years communities across Texas have lost an estimated $5.6 billion in tax revenue because the top 500 taxable commercial properties were appraised at below market value. Read more

Leverage Leadership has got to go!

Leverage Leadership (LL), a Harvard EdLab initiative, began as a pilot in 29 HISD schools in August 2014. The administration plans to expand it to 140 schools by the spring of 2015. This program is deeply flawed, from concept to execution, and poses a grave danger to the health of the district. The HISD school board should halt this program after Year 1 and require a third party evaluation before it is continued or expanded. Read more

First grade benchmark tests

First graders in Houston ISD now take practice tests to prepare for state STAAR tests that they will not take until third grade. So much for HB 5 reducing benchmark testing. Here, below, is an excerpt from a first grade benchmark exam. In this question the teacher reads the prompt to the children. The children are supposed to sound out the pictures. What do you think the second and third images represent? Your guess is as good as mine.  Read more

Ratliffs: The Rotary 4-Way Test vs School Vouchers

Is it the truth?Is it fair to all concerned?Will it build good will and better friendships?Will it be beneficial to all concerned?To school vouchers, the answers are no, no, no and no. Bill Ratliff, longtime Texas State Senator and Lt. Governor and Thomas Ratliff, current member of the State Board of Education, write about vouchers below. Bill Ratliff famously once said that "I am a Republican because I agree with the Republicans at least 51 percent of the time." Our state would ru