Patrick Michels

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels is a reporter for the Texas Observer and a former legislative intern. He has been a staff writer and web editor at the Dallas Observer, and a former editor of the Texas Independent. He has a bachelor's in journalism from Northwestern University, a master's in photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and is a competitive eating enthusiast.

By Patrick Michels:

A multiple-choice score sheet.

Houston ISD Seeks Testing Truce with Opt-Out Parents

Houston ISD would be the first in Texas, at least among the largest districts, to pass a clear policy about opt-outs. The move wouldn’t be an endorsement of the movement — district leadership remains more committed than most to using test scores to guide decisions about teacher pay or student advancement. But the policy would grant a sort of legitimacy to the opt-out movement that it’s struggled to establish elsewhere. Read More

A child draws at a school desk.

Houston ISD Could End Suspensions for Young Students

New report shows disparities in school discipline are more pronounced for kids in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

A vote by Houston ISD school board this month could make Texas’ largest school district the first with a ban on suspending young students. The proposal in Houston, which the board could approve on November 12, would ban suspensions for students in pre-K through the second grade, and allow suspensions of third through fifth-graders “as a last resort.” Read More