Roy Varney http://kut.org en How Do Austin Students Compare to Other Cities? http://kut.org/post/how-do-austin-students-compare-other-cities <p>Austin public school students in fourth and eighth grade <a href="http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_tuda_2013/#/">scored higher in math and reading</a> than students in other large cities, according to results from a new government study released Wednesday.&nbsp;</p><p>The report looks at results from a national standardized test given to 21 urban school districts with populations of 250,000 people or more. It’s part of the National Center for Education Statistics' National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).</p><p>While the results are positive, the scores remained relatively flat from 2011 – &nbsp;the last time Austin students took the test. Wed, 18 Dec 2013 22:27:29 +0000 Kate McGee & Roy Varney 9399 at http://kut.org How Do Austin Students Compare to Other Cities? Report: 'Lackadaisical' Texas Leadership Does Nothing to Encourage Voting http://kut.org/post/report-lackadaisical-texas-leadership-does-nothing-encourage-voting <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Texas' new voter ID &nbsp;laws can be used to discourage minorities and women from voting.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">That's according to the</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> nonprofit Texas Civil Rights Project. Today, it released a </span><a href="http://www.texascivilrightsproject.org/tcrp-human-rights-reports/" style="line-height: 1.5;">63-page report</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> criticizing the states' voter registration procedures, and a lack of voting registration opportunities.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Last June, the United States Supreme Court </span><a href="http://kut.org/post/voting-rights-act-partially-overturned-texas-implements-voter-id-law" style="line-height: 1.5;">overturned a portion of the Voting Rights Act</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. The act was originally intended to protect voters from discrimination in voting matters, but the Supreme Court ruled that the application of the act, covering large parts of the South,&nbsp;was outdated.</span></p><p>After the Supreme Court’s ruling, Texas instituted a voter identification law. The law requires registered voters to present a valid form of identification to vote. The Texas Civil Rights Project would like to see the voter ID law overturned, because they say it can be used to deter minority populations from voting.&nbsp;</p><p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 22:37:47 +0000 Roy Varney 9384 at http://kut.org Report: 'Lackadaisical' Texas Leadership Does Nothing to Encourage Voting Mack Brown Leaving UT Longhorns After Bowl Game http://kut.org/post/mack-brown-leaving-ut-longhorns-after-bowl-game <p>Texas Longhorn’s Football Coach Mack Brown is leaving the team after 16 years.</p><p>In an email released Saturday night, Brown said the Longhorn job was the best in the country and that he wants to team to get back to the top of college football.</p><p>"<span style="line-height: 1.5;">I sincerely want it to get back to the top and that's why I am stepping down after the bowl game. I hope with some new energy, we can get this thing rolling again," Brown said.</span></p><p>UT-Austin president Bill Powers and new athletic director Steve Patterson heaped praise on Brown in the release. &nbsp;Patterson said Brown was a, "...<span style="line-height: 1.5;">tremendous coach, mentor, leader and ambassador for our university and our student-athletes." While Powers simple said,&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Mack is just the best and he will be missed."</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/124894342&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Sun, 15 Dec 2013 00:58:08 +0000 Ben Philpott & Roy Varney 9351 at http://kut.org Mack Brown Leaving UT Longhorns After Bowl Game City Council Update: Dogs Banned From Auditorium Shores ‘Event Lawn’ http://kut.org/post/city-council-update-dogs-banned-auditorium-shores-event-lawn <p>In its final meeting of the year, the Austin City Council approved a full slate of items.</p><p>Among the measures passed was a decision restricting where dogs are permitted at Auditorium Shores. More than a dozen speakers took to the council floor to argue against the change, which would prohibit&nbsp;dogs from<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;lingering on the so-called "Event Lawn" on the east end of Auditorium Shores.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensely said the department took community suggestions under advisement when revising the $3.5 million plan for the parkland. But under a new amendment, dogs are only allowed on the event lawn when traveling from a parking lot to the neighboring areas where dogs are allowed. (No one on Parks staff or the City Council bothered to explain just how that would be enforced.)</span></p><p> Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:28:44 +0000 Wells Dunbar & Roy Varney 9365 at http://kut.org City Council Update: Dogs Banned From Auditorium Shores ‘Event Lawn’ Hays CISD Plans to Build New Middle School http://kut.org/post/hays-cisd-plans-build-new-middle-school <p style="margin-bottom: 0.21in"><font color="#262626"><font face="TimesNewRoman, serif"><font size="3">The Hays Consolidated Independent School District is expected to move forward with their request for a $60 million bond. The bond would pay for the creation of a middle school, wireless and mobile devices and additional school buses.</font></font></font></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0.21in"><font color="#262626"><font face="TimesNewRoman, serif"><font size="3">The school district views the spending as necessary, if it wants to keep up with student enrollment growth. On Monday, the Hays&nbsp;CISD School Board will vote on a bond recommendation from the district's Growth Impact Committee, a group of citizens charged by the board to assess growth of the community.</font></font></font></p><p> Wed, 11 Dec 2013 17:54:30 +0000 Roy Varney 9343 at http://kut.org Hays CISD Plans to Build New Middle School Interactive: Austin ISD Graduation Rates, Visualized http://kut.org/post/interactive-austin-isd-graduation-rates-visualized <p>During her<a href="http://kut.org/post/carstarphen-tenure-austin-schools-superintendent-looks-back"> State of the District address</a> yesterday, Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen touted the rise in graduation rates among high school students in the district.</p><p>Since she began running the district in 2009, overall graduation rates have increased by eight percentage points. Graduation rates have increased in all subgroups, including Hispanics, English language learners and special education students.</p> Wed, 04 Dec 2013 19:32:33 +0000 Roy Varney 9309 at http://kut.org Interactive: Austin ISD Graduation Rates, Visualized Longhorns Prepare for Thanksgiving Game as Injuries Mount http://kut.org/post/longhorns-prepare-thanksgiving-game-injuries-mount <p>The Texas Longhorns football team will continue their slog through another disappointing season on Thanksgiving night.</p><p>The Longhorns will be facing a new Turkey Day foe: Texas Tech Red Raiders. The team will pose a challenge for a banged up and underperforming Longhorns defense. The Red Raiders feature the #1 passing offense in college football and started the season 7-0 before dropping four straight games.</p><p>Meanwhile, the Longhorns are coming off a blowout 38-13 loss to Oklahoma State. The loss likely trampled any hopes the Longhorns had to salvage a season with a Big 12 Championship. The defeat dropped the Longhorns to a dismal 29-19 record since the start of the 2010 season.</p><p> Mon, 25 Nov 2013 22:39:40 +0000 Roy Varney 9262 at http://kut.org Longhorns Prepare for Thanksgiving Game as Injuries Mount With Help From a Church, Bluff Springs Reboots its Reading Program http://kut.org/post/help-church-bluff-springs-reboots-its-reading-program <p>For the first time in five years, southeast Austin’s Langford Elementary School has a free book program.</p><p>Langford, where 65 percent of the students are learning English as a second language, is able to relaunch its <a href="http://www.rif.org/">Reading is Fundamental</a> program with help from a neighborhood church.</p><p>Richard Villarreal is the lead pastor at Springs Community Church. He approached Langford principal Dounna Poth last spring and asked how his church could help the school.&nbsp;</p> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 23:04:48 +0000 Roy Varney 9211 at http://kut.org With Help From a Church, Bluff Springs Reboots its Reading Program Austin Bike Share Hits the Road in December http://kut.org/post/austin-bike-share-hits-road-december <p><em><strong>Disclaimer: </strong>KUT/KUTX is a sponsor of &nbsp;Austin B-cycle.</em></p><p>The wait is over: Austinites will have a new way to beat downtown traffic come December 21.</p><p><a href="https://austin.bcycle.com/">Austin B-cycle</a> is launching Austin’s first ever bike sharing program. There will be&nbsp;<a href="https://austin.bcycle.com/station-locations/">11 stations</a>&nbsp;located throughout downtown and south central Austin. Participants will be able to visit a station, rent a bike, ride it and return it to any station.</p><p>There’s three tiers of pricing:</p><ul><li>Day pass: $8. Bikes are free to rent for their first half hour, with a $4 charge for each additional half hour.</li><li>Seven day pass: $25</li><li>Annual membership: $80 Wed, 13 Nov 2013 20:42:19 +0000 Roy Varney 9176 at http://kut.org Austin Bike Share Hits the Road in December Failed Bond Threatens Taylor Schools’ Compliance with Disabilities Act http://kut.org/post/failed-bond-threatens-taylor-schools-compliance-disabilities-act <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A small school district northeast of Austin is facing a football field-sized problem.</span></p><p>Taylor Independent School District’s athletic facilities are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Without the ADA-required access, TISD is vulnerable to lawsuits and penalties.</p><p>On Tuesday, voters in the city of Taylor rejected a bond that would have built a new all-inclusive athletics facility that would include accessibility&nbsp;for people who have disabilities. Now the school district faces the possibility of paying $1 million to renovate old athletics facilities that they don’t own.</p><p> Thu, 07 Nov 2013 00:03:32 +0000 Roy Varney 9113 at http://kut.org Failed Bond Threatens Taylor Schools’ Compliance with Disabilities Act Round Rock Schools Are Saving Big Just By Turning Off Computers http://kut.org/post/round-rock-schools-are-saving-big-just-turning-computers <p></p><p>Most computer users are familiar with sleep mode. But the Round Rock Independent School District has found the value in shutting their computers down completely.</p><p>The school district is expected to save an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.roundrockisd.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=32799&amp;pageId=2385829">estimated $251,000 annually</a>&nbsp;by using a program that automatically shuts computers down after 6 p.m. Over 30,000 desktops and laptops are automatically shut down, drastically cutting energy costs.</p> Fri, 01 Nov 2013 19:00:00 +0000 Roy Varney 9061 at http://kut.org Round Rock Schools Are Saving Big Just By Turning Off Computers Who Benefits From UT's Massive Open Online Courses? http://kut.org/post/who-benefits-uts-massive-open-online-courses <p><em>This is the first of a two-part look at the University of Texas' Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), now halfway through their initial semester. <strong><a href="http://kut.org/post/are-uts-massive-online-courses-making-grade">Read Part One here</a></strong>.</em></p><p>So what it UT getting <a href="http://kut.org/post/ut-system-offers-free-online-courses-college-credit-still-costs-you">for its $5 million investment</a> in edX?&nbsp;</p><p>UT Psychology department chair James Pennebaker describes the money spent on edX as a "great investment." He isn't certain how education will look in the near future – but he said no one has that answer.&nbsp;</p><p>"UT and any serious university has to be revolutionary in its thinking,” Pennebaker says. “We have to look forward to new technologies and teaching strategies.”</p><p> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 20:22:48 +0000 Wells Dunbar & Roy Varney 9022 at http://kut.org Who Benefits From UT's Massive Open Online Courses? Are UT's Massive Online Courses Making the Grade? http://kut.org/post/are-uts-massive-online-courses-making-grade <p><em>This is the first of a two-part look at the University of Texas' Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), now halfway through their initial semester. </em></p><p>The University of Texas’ grand entry into Massive Open Online Courses is underway. The courses, better known as MOOCs, are offered as free ways for the general public to access high quality education.</p><p>By any traditional college metric, UT's MOOCs, offered for the first time this fall, would be performing terribly: The majority of students who signed up have dropped out, there is no way to detect cheating, and the grading systems are automated. But halfway through the semester, education experts view UT's MOOCs as a success – and a necessity for building the future of its education network. Thu, 24 Oct 2013 20:53:08 +0000 Roy Varney 9006 at http://kut.org Are UT's Massive Online Courses Making the Grade? At UT, Awareness of Transgender Students is Still a Work In Progress http://kut.org/post/ut-awareness-transgender-students-still-work-progress <p>Over the last three years, nearly 100 colleges and universities across the nation have added non-discrimination policies that included protection for transgender students from harassment and bullying. 10 of those universities are in Texas. However, even with the increase in non-discrimination policies, there is still a lack of awareness and visibility for many transgender students.</p><p>Shane Whalley is the Senior Program Coordinator at the <a href="http://ddce.utexas.edu/genderandsexuality/">Gender and Sexuality Center</a> in the University of Texas at Austin. Whalley&nbsp;first came to UT as a graduate student, and has seen a lot of changes that include the 2008 non-discrimination policy and the installation of 43 gender-neutral bathrooms across campus. Additionally, Whalley says that there have been changes to the way transgender people are viewed.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F114726028" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 10 Oct 2013 17:06:31 +0000 Roy Varney 8896 at http://kut.org At UT, Awareness of Transgender Students is Still a Work In Progress State School Board Undecided on What Courses Should Count for Graduation (Update) http://kut.org/post/state-school-board-undecided-what-courses-should-count-graduation-update <p><strong>Update</strong>: State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, spoke and answered questions regarding House Bill 5 in front of the State Board of Education today.</p><p>Patrick’s endorsement of the bill, which provides for different paths to high school graduation, was met with skepticism from board member Patricia Hardy. Hardy’s concern revolved around the removal of social studies classes from high school graduation requirements. She argued that turning social studies courses into electives limits a student’s exposure to important information.</p><p> Wed, 18 Sep 2013 21:59:06 +0000 Jody Serrano & Roy Varney 8723 at http://kut.org State School Board Undecided on What Courses Should Count for Graduation (Update) Longhorns Running Back Coach Accused in OSU Pay For Play Scandal http://kut.org/post/longhorns-running-back-coach-accused-osu-pay-play-scandal <p></p><p>University of Texas running back coach Larry Porter is accused of illicitly compensating players during his time at Oklahoma State University.</p><p>In&nbsp;<a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20130910/oklahoma-state-part-1-money/?sct=hp_t12_a2&amp;eref=sihp">an investigative report by Sports Illustrated</a>, the Oklahoma State football program is at the center of numerous NCAA violations, ranging from player compensation to drug use. Porter, who coached there from 2002 to 2004, is in his first season with the Longhorns.</p><p> Wed, 11 Sep 2013 21:36:22 +0000 Roy Varney 8655 at http://kut.org Longhorns Running Back Coach Accused in OSU Pay For Play Scandal After BYU Blowout, Longhorns Sack Defensive Coach Diaz http://kut.org/post/after-byu-blowout-longhorns-sack-defensive-coach-diaz <p>When the Longhorns prepare for their game against Ole Miss this Saturday, they’ll do so without Manny Diaz. Defensive coordinator Diaz was fired Sunday after the Longhorns suffered a 40-21 defeat against unranked Brigham Young University this weekend.</p><p>"Our performance on defense last night was unacceptable, and we need to change that," Longhorns head coach Mack Brown <a href="http://texassports.com/news/2013/9/8/FB_0908130601.aspx?path=football">said in a statement </a>on Sunday.&nbsp;The loss stung particularly given&nbsp;<a href="http://kutnews.org/post/mack-brown-longhorns-could-win-it-all-year">Brown’s preseason confidence</a>&nbsp;in the Horns this season.</p><p> Mon, 09 Sep 2013 18:38:44 +0000 Emily Mathis & Roy Varney 8632 at http://kut.org After BYU Blowout, Longhorns Sack Defensive Coach Diaz Longhorns Volleyball Continues to Soar Under the Radar http://kut.org/post/longhorns-volleyball-continues-soar-under-radar <p>Texas Longhorns athletics is best known for football. But spiking a volleyball is what it's best at.</p><p>The Longhorns women’s volleyball team is hosting No. 1 ranked Penn State and No. 2 Stanford this weekend, as they set out to defend their national title.&nbsp;Longhorns head coach Jerritt Elliott sees <a href="http://texassports.com/schedule.aspx?path=wvball">this weekend’s matchups</a>, which also feature eighth-ranked Florida, as an opportunity to garner local attention.</p><p> Thu, 05 Sep 2013 15:05:00 +0000 Roy Varney 8604 at http://kut.org Longhorns Volleyball Continues to Soar Under the Radar Your Guide to Texas Longhorns Tailgating http://kut.org/post/your-guide-texas-longhorns-tailgating <p>College football is back. For many that means a chance to catch their favorite team in action. For others, it’s an opportunity to get down and celebrate.</p><p>The two come together in tailgating – that long held practice of grilling, drinking, and eating in a game day parking lot. When the University of Texas Longhorns open their season against New Mexico State Saturday night, expect to see tailgaters by the drove.</p><p> Fri, 30 Aug 2013 21:05:00 +0000 Roy Varney 8578 at http://kut.org Your Guide to Texas Longhorns Tailgating AISD Head Talks Challenges, Successes and Changes in Austin's Public Schools http://kut.org/post/aisd-head-talks-challenges-successes-and-changes-austins-public-schools <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F107328788" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Today is the first day of school for Austin ISD, and that means nearly 90,000 students filling hallways. Meria Carstarphen, AISD’s superintendent, sees the biggest challenges in a successful year as student safety, school funding, and <a href="http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/staar/">STAAR testing</a>.</p><p> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 18:45:26 +0000 Roy Varney & Nathan Bernier 8538 at http://kut.org AISD Head Talks Challenges, Successes and Changes in Austin's Public Schools