Education http://kut.org en How Austin Turned a Dead Department Store Into a Community College http://kut.org/post/how-austin-turned-dead-department-store-community-college <p>To Veronica Escobedo, it resembled a fancy hotel –&nbsp;not quite a college campus.</p><p>But the first-year radiology student said the stylish and comfortable furniture, much of it still wrapped in plastic, would encourage her to stay on <a href="http://www.austincc.edu">Austin Community College</a>’s new campus between classes.</p><p>“There are bigger areas to actually study with people,” Escobedo said. “Most of the time I found myself studying with people off campus. The design and architecture make it really feel like a home.”</p><p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:20:50 +0000 Audrey McGlinchy 10858 at http://kut.org How Austin Turned a Dead Department Store Into a Community College Bill To Allow Refinancing Of Student Loans Dies In Senate http://kut.org/post/bill-allow-refinancing-student-loans-dies-senate A bill that would have let millions of people refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate has failed in the Senate, after Republicans objected that it included a tax on the wealthy to pay for it. The measure would have allowed people with older loans to benefit from today's low interest rates.<p>The bill from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., didn't get past a procedural vote, falling by a 56-38 vote. Wed, 11 Jun 2014 17:29:17 +0000 Bill Chappell, NPR 10576 at http://kut.org Bill To Allow Refinancing Of Student Loans Dies In Senate After Charter Fracas, AISD Hopes Allan Childhood Center Regains Parents' Trust http://kut.org/post/after-charter-fracas-aisd-hopes-allan-childhood-center-regains-parents-trust <p>East Austin resident&nbsp;Archette&nbsp;Alexander remembers when she took her son out of the neighborhood public elementary school and put him in a charter school. She says teachers had lost their passion due to all of the testing.</p><p>Now, Alexander’s youngest daughter is three, and she’s interested in putting her back in the school district –&nbsp;at AISD's early childhood center.</p><p>“The passion the other teachers have gives me hope as a parent that kids can thrive here,” Alexander says.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/153873194&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe> Wed, 11 Jun 2014 15:20:41 +0000 Kate McGee 10574 at http://kut.org After Charter Fracas, AISD Hopes Allan Childhood Center Regains Parents' Trust Obama Signs Order Easing Student Loan Payments http://kut.org/post/obama-sign-order-easing-student-loan-payments <strong>(This post was updated at 3:24 p.m. Mon, 09 Jun 2014 18:13:01 +0000 10562 at http://kut.org Obama Signs Order Easing Student Loan Payments Commencement Mashup: The Speech In 8 Easy Steps http://kut.org/post/commencement-mashup-speech-eight-easy-steps <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J77wZbbtt4M</p> Wed, 21 May 2014 11:36:59 +0000 John Poole 10463 at http://kut.org Commencement Mashup: The Speech In 8 Easy Steps Will Texas' New Teacher Evaluation System Rely Too Much on Test Scores? http://kut.org/post/will-texas-new-teacher-evaluation-system-rely-too-much-test-scores <p>Members of the Texas House Committee on Public Education are wrestling with how to evaluate teacher performance in modern classrooms. And while educators and administrators agree the current system needs overhauling, there's little agreement on what will replace it.</p><p>In advance of today's hearing, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams <a href="../../../Applications/Microsoft%20Office%202011/Microsoft%20Word.app/Contents/Lifeatkut90.5">said in a letter</a> that current teacher evaluation criteria – the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) – has "outlived its usefulness."</p><p>Patty Hill, a math teacher at Austin's Kealing Middle School, agrees. She told lawmakers today she’s afraid that by adopting a “flipped classroom” model – posting lectures online for students to view at home, and working collaboratively on 'homework' in the classroom – she is opening herself up for negative evaluations.</p><p> Wed, 14 May 2014 20:24:38 +0000 Lynn Romero 10418 at http://kut.org Will Texas' New Teacher Evaluation System Rely Too Much on Test Scores? This Austin Charter School Slated for Closure May Get a Second Chance http://kut.org/post/austin-charter-school-slated-closure-may-get-second-chance <p>An Austin charter school slated for closure by the state may be getting a second chance.</p><p>The Texas Education Agency <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-dropout-recovery-school-faces-closure-after-30-years" target="_blank">had ordered American Youthworks to close by next month</a>. But the school went to court and argued everything was a misunderstanding.</p><p>On Friday, a judge agreed to hear the school's case – possibly extending the school's life for at least one more semester.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/148134838&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Tue, 06 May 2014 13:11:26 +0000 Joy Diaz 10357 at http://kut.org This Austin Charter School Slated for Closure May Get a Second Chance Are Common Core and Texas Teaching Standards Really That Different? http://kut.org/post/are-common-core-and-texas-teaching-standards-really-different <p>Elgin Middle School sixth grader Allison Graves sits at a computer in math class, using a program called Think Through Math to practice fractions.</p><p>“Your friend gave you a bag of candy," she reads. "There are 36 red candies and 27 green candies. What is the ratio of green candies to red candies?”</p><p>The online math program takes Graves through each lesson step by step. She collects points for correct answers and competes against classmates and other Texas students.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/146249322&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:00:11 +0000 Kate McGee 10290 at http://kut.org Are Common Core and Texas Teaching Standards Really That Different? Austin Dropout Recovery School Faces Closure After 30 Years http://kut.org/post/austin-dropout-recovery-school-faces-closure-after-30-years <p>The fate of an Austin charter school that has run a dropout recovery program for more than 30 years will be decided later this month.</p><p>American Youthworks faces closure under a new law that allows the Texas Education Agency to revoke licenses from underperforming charter schools, thus opening those licenses to other organizations.</p><p>TEA spokesperson Debbie Ratcliffe says Senate Bill 2 is pretty clear. That’s the law passed last year that, among other things, gave TEA teeth to revoke the licenses of failing charter schools. “If a school has received the state’s lowest, either academic or financial, rating for three straight years, it automatically is closed,” Ratcliffe says.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/144532506&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:01:18 +0000 Joy Diaz 10204 at http://kut.org Austin Dropout Recovery School Faces Closure After 30 Years Update on Mexican-American Studies Course in Texas Public Schools http://kut.org/post/update-mexican-american-studies-course-texas-public-schools <p><strong>Update: </strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">High schools in Texas are one step closer to getting state-funded materials to teach courses in Mexican-American studies after a vote today by the Texas State Board of Education.&nbsp;</span></p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 22:49:56 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia & Nathan Bernier 10172 at http://kut.org Update on Mexican-American Studies Course in Texas Public Schools Eanes ISD Names Lone Finalist for Superintendent http://kut.org/post/eanes-isd-names-lone-finalist-superintendent <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Eanes&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">ISD</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;has named Dr. Tom Leonard as the lone finalist to take the place of retiring superintendent Dr. Nola Wellman.</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Eanes</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span>ISD<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Board President Rob </span>Hargett<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> calls Dr. Leonard “a successful, student-centered, seasoned superintendent in a high-performing district, roughly the size and structure of </span>Eanes<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> ISD.”</span></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Dr. Leonard served as superintendent of the Barrington 220 district in Illinois for the past seven years and has more than 20 years of experience working in education.</span></p><p> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 02:22:52 +0000 Lynn Romero 10173 at http://kut.org Eanes ISD Names Lone Finalist for Superintendent This Musician Has a Unique (and Maybe Lifesaving) Message for Kids With Food Allergies http://kut.org/post/musician-has-unique-and-maybe-lifesaving-message-kids-food-allergies <p>It’s becoming more common for kids at school to share a classroom – or a lunchroom&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">–&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">with a student with food allergies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says as many as one in 15 kids in the U.S. have food allergies – and those numbers appear to be on the rise.</span></p><p>The issue is a serious one because kids can become very sick or die from exposure to certain foods. But kids also may feel isolated or be bullied because of the precautions they have to take.</p><p>Some local schools and parents are taking a unique route towards promoting awareness and acceptance.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/143559325&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 11:24:04 +0000 Laura Rice 10141 at http://kut.org This Musician Has a Unique (and Maybe Lifesaving) Message for Kids With Food Allergies More Than 5 Million Kids Are Attending Public School in Texas http://kut.org/post/more-5-million-kids-are-attending-public-school-texas <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">For the first time, more than 5 million students are enrolled in Texas public schools. The Texas Education Agency (TEA)&nbsp;<a href="http://www.tea.state.tx.us/acctres/Enroll_2012-13.pdf">published a report Tuesday</a>&nbsp;that the state hit the milestone last school year when&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">5,075,840 students were enrolled.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The population of Hispanic students had the largest numerical increase, growing by 64,903 in one year. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Rice University demographer <a href="http://hobbycenter.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=66">Steve Murdoch,</a> who used to run the U.S. Census Bureau, says the future of the Texas economy will be determined largely by how well those students are educated.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 00:17:21 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10082 at http://kut.org More Than 5 Million Kids Are Attending Public School in Texas Educators Pounce on Abbott, Push for Expanded Pre-K http://kut.org/post/educators-pounce-abbott-push-expanded-pre-k <p>Yesterday, Republican candidate for Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a proposal to improve early childhood education in Texas.</p><p>During a press conference, Abbott said expanding state-funded pre-kindergarten programs without addressing the quality of instruction “would be an act of negligence and waste.”</p><p>Today, educators from groups endorsing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis gathered in front of north Austin's Lucy Read Pre-kindergarten School&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">to say that expanding pre-k is "not a waste."</span></p><p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:00:53 +0000 Lynn Romero 10078 at http://kut.org Educators Pounce on Abbott, Push for Expanded Pre-K Dallas Cowboy Teaches Pflugerville Kids About Healthy Breakfast http://kut.org/post/dallas-cowboy-teaches-pflugerville-kids-about-healthy-breakfast <p>Some kids in Pflugerville got a special, guest visitor today. George Selvie, Dallas Cowboys Defensive End, was at Ruth Barron Elementary Thursday morning encouraging kids to eat a healthy breakfast.</p><p>"It's important for us because, as in recent years, they're saying now kids are obese so having the opportunity with Fuel Up to Play 60 to come out here and talk to the kids, letting them know that eating healthy is great, you know their gonna try to go out there and do it," said Selvie.</p> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 02:09:11 +0000 Lynn Romero 10048 at http://kut.org Dallas Cowboy Teaches Pflugerville Kids About Healthy Breakfast What You Need to Know About Central Texas School Bond Elections http://kut.org/post/what-you-need-know-about-central-texas-school-bond-elections <p>What should you know about Central Texas schools this election season? &nbsp;</p><p>In a word: Bonds.</p><p>Bond packages can be convoluted, making them easily misunderstood or overlooked. But bond elections have become an important source of income for area school districts as funds elsewhere shrink.</p><p> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 17:02:02 +0000 Lynn Romero 9866 at http://kut.org What You Need to Know About Central Texas School Bond Elections In Austin, College Board Announces Major SAT Changes http://kut.org/post/austin-college-board-announces-major-sat-changes <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px;">The SAT, a standardized test that for many students is an intimidating hurdle to clear en route to college admissions, is about to undergo a major redesign. Among the changes being announced by The College Board in Austin on Wednesday: The test will revert to a 1600-point scale, and the&nbsp;<span style="box-sizing: border-box;">essay portion will be optional and scored separately.</span></p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 1.35;">According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 182,000 Texas public high school students took the SAT, the ACT (another test used in college admissions developed by ACT, Inc.) or both exams in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available. That total represents nearly 69 percent of all public high school graduates in Texas.</span></p><p> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 19:59:53 +0000 Reeve Hamilton, Texas Tribune 9896 at http://kut.org In Austin, College Board Announces Major SAT Changes Winter Storm Delays Schools, Primary Voting in Central Texas http://kut.org/post/winter-storm-delays-schools-primary-voting-central-texas <p><strong>UPDATE: </strong>The National Weather Service curtailed the <a href="http://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=ewx&amp;wwa=winter%20storm%20warning">winter storm warning</a> issued Monday. It is now in effect until 9 a.m. for Bastrop, Burnet, Travis, and Williamson Counties.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>K-12 SCHOOL DELAYS:</strong></p><p>School districts in the Austin area are announcing delayed starts for Tuesday morning, due to the winter weather.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 15:07:42 +0000 KUT Staff 9889 at http://kut.org Winter Storm Delays Schools, Primary Voting in Central Texas Austin School Board Approves Three-Year Teacher Contracts http://kut.org/post/austin-school-board-approves-three-year-teacher-contracts <p><strong>Update:</strong>&nbsp; The Austin School Board voted to reinstate three-year contracts for teachers and principals in a five to four vote Monday night. At the same meeting, school district officials also proposed to to close a projected $32 million budget gap for Fiscal Year 2015.&nbsp;</p><p>The decision to move to three-year contracts&nbsp;comes after the school district and teacher's union, Education Austin, came to an impasse over the issue last month. Austin ISD went from three to one year contracts in 2011, when the state legislature cut billions in public education funding, also forcing the district to lay off more than 1,000 employees.</p><p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 05:50:51 +0000 Kate McGee 9831 at http://kut.org Austin School Board Approves Three-Year Teacher Contracts This Dove Springs Librarian Tells Austin Students to 'Get Mad' and Demand an Education http://kut.org/post/dove-springs-librarian-tells-austin-students-get-mad-and-demand-education <p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;">This article is part of KUT's year-long series called&nbsp;<a href="http://kut.org/topic/dove-springs-turning-corner" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(12, 76, 162);">Turning the Corner</a>, which takes a look at Austin's Dove Springs neighborhood.&nbsp;For decades, the neighborhood has had a negative reputation. Now, many community members are trying to change the perception of the 78744 zip code.&nbsp;</em><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;"><a href="http://kut.org/topic/dove-springs-turning-corner" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(12, 76, 162);">Listen to those stories here</a>.</em></p><p style="margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;"><span style="font-family: Times; line-height: normal; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-size: 14px;">In low-income neighborhoods around Austin, 87 percent of children entering kindergarten are considered unprepared for school, which means many of them lack basic literacy skills.&nbsp;At Mendez Middle School in Austin’s Dove Springs neighborhood, that struggle is obvious.&nbsp;Last year, less than half of Mendez sixth graders passed the state standardized test for reading.&nbsp;</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/135922194&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin-bottom: 0px; line-height: normal; font-family: Times;"> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 14:18:18 +0000 Kate McGee 9821 at http://kut.org This Dove Springs Librarian Tells Austin Students to 'Get Mad' and Demand an Education