Laura Isensee | KERA News

Laura Isensee

Jen Rice / Texas Station Collaborative

Gov. Greg Abbott spoke for almost an hour Tuesday in his “State of the State” address. Almost as notable as the contents of that speech were the hot topics he didn’t mention.

Houston Public Media

As of this fall, the eight largest cities in Texas have Latino superintendents leading the school districts. The latest to join the list: Richard Carranza in Houston. He impressed the Houston Independent School District with his credentials — and his voice.

When teachers and activists demanded schools in Texas, where more than half of the public school students are Hispanic, teach more Mexican-American studies, the State Board of Education responded by calling for more textbooks on the subject.

So far, though, the only book submitted for approval has drawn fierce criticism.

This week, activists voiced that criticism in front of the Texas Board of Education in a public hearing in Austin. Dozens attended, with some driving hours to the capital from Dallas, Houston and other parts of the state.

San Francisco Unified School District

When school starts this fall, the two biggest systems in Texas will be led by Latinos. Last year, Dallas rehired Michael Hinojosa as superintendent. Today, Houston's board of trustees unanimously chose Richard Carranza as sole finalist for its top job.

The Texas Supreme Court just doesn't want to get involved in how the state pays for its public schools. That was the signal the nine justices sent Friday when they unanimously ruled the state school funding system, which historically has been one of the country's most controversial, constitutional.

In 1973, in a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that there was no federal right to equal school funding in the Constitution.

That was more than 40 years ago, and today Patty Rodriguez, a teacher in the same school district in San Antonio where that fight started, says nothing has changed.

Her father, Demetrio Rodriguez, filed the suit. It became a landmark case, a turning point when the focus around school funding shifted from the federal government to the states.