Kate McGee

Education Reporter

Kate is the education reporter at KUT, covering the Austin Independent School District, public, and higher education in Texas. She got her public radio start at Fordham University's WFUV. Her voice has been heard on the East and West coasts as a reporter and producer for WNYC and KUNR in Reno, Nevada. She has also appeared on NPR's Morning Edition,  All Things Considered, The Takeaway  and more. In her spare time, Kate enjoys discovering new music, traveling and trying local beers. 

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Callie Richmond for Texas Tribune

State lawmakers met yesterday to discuss whether more Texas community colleges should offer baccalaureate degrees.


Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

*This post has been updated throughout.

University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven says he supports increased tuition at eight of the system's universities, including UT Austin. At a Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, McRaven said tuition at UT schools is below the national average, but so are faculty salaries. Plus, he says many lower-income students attend UT schools on scholarships and grants. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT News

I’m sitting in a black, leather salon chair talking to Jennifer, my hair stylist for the day. We’re discussing how I want to cut my hair. The beauty of radio journalism is that my hair can remain in a top bun every day--like it does--and I don't have to think about it. It also means I have few answers to Jennifer's questions.

"So I kind of would like...I have some dead ends," I say, my voice trailing off. "It’s been a while since I got my hair cut. Maybe a couple inches?"


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

There are 10 acres in the quickly expanding Mueller development that haven't been touched yet. The land is set aside for a public school. But what will that school look like and who will attend it? Right now, those are questions few people are willing to answer.


Nathan Bernier, KUT News

If you’re a teacher in an Austin public school, it’s hard to get a pay raise. Teachers who start out in Austin make around $45,000 a year. If they stay in the district for 20 years, on average, their annual salary increases by just $5,000 in that time, but some in the Austin Independent School District are trying to change that.


Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Some parents say they're concerned the Austin school district's new student transfer policy might force them to leave the district — or Austin altogether. After this fall, the Austin Independent School District will discontinue its policy allowing students to automatically transfer to a school attended by one of their siblings. The reason? Overcrowded schools.

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

Since former Austin school board President Gina Hinojosa vacated her seat to run for the Texas House, the district has a new President and Vice President. And with that new leadership, there could be a renewed focus on the disparities between some AISD schools.


Kate McGee/KUT

Cynde Kaply sits in front of her open laptop, looking at the teacher website for her daughter’s social studies class. Her daughter is in middle school in Leander Independent School District. The website is supposed to have all the online resources her daughter uses for class.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Ever since Alberto Perez was a kid growing up in Dove Springs, he knew he wanted to go to UT Austin.

“I remember telling my mom, pointing at the tower, saying, 'that’s where I’m going to go to school,'" Perez remembers.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The Texas Lottery Commission says, since 1992, it has put $24 billion toward state programs – primarily education.
With tonight’s Powerball jackpot up to a record $1.5 billion, let’s take a look at whether that means more money for public schools.


The fame and money that comes from a professional sports career can captivate the dreams of high school and college athletes. But some argue families and communities need to encourage younger student athletes to pursue other careers besides professional sports—especially among black students. That’s one message coming out of the Black Student-Athlete Summit happening at UT Austin this week.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

Most schools tell students to stay out of jail, but Akins High School in South Austin sends some of its students there once a week to learn how to become correctional officers. The program’s part of the school’s criminal justice curriculum, and allows students a hands-on look at life in the world of corrections officers.


KUT News

UPDATE Friday 1:15 a.m. – The Austin City Council moved forward on new regulations for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft last night.

On a 9-2 vote, the Council passed a framework that, among other things, would require fingerprint-based background checks for drivers. The expanded background check requirement would be phased in over the next year. But some key details remain to be worked out, including what the penalties will be for failing to comply with the law.

Lyft via youtube

Molly is a 26-year-old who lives in Austin. She was laid off from her job in April of this year and given a severance package, but wanted something to do while she looked for a new job. So, she signed up to drive for both transportation network companies in Austin: Uber and Lyft.


Texas Tribune

This year, Austin Police have gotten at least seven reports of sexual assaults by drivers for transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber or Lyft.

That’s one reason some members of the Austin City Council are pushing for tougher regulations for these companies – including requiring drivers to have fingerprint background checks. Right now, the companies conduct background checks that aren’t verified by fingerprints.

A group asked to provide UT Austin President Greg Fenves with recommendations to implement the state's new campus carry law said UT Austin should not prohibit concealed handguns from classrooms, but should prohibit handguns from ticketed sporting events, laboratories and on-campus residence halls, with some exceptions. 


Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The number of investigations involving teacher-student relationships has increased 53 percent in Texas over the past seven years—188 cases so far this year. The State Senate Education Committee met this week to discuss ways to reduce these relationships, but that may be tougher than they realized.


flickr user Bill Selak, / Creative Commons

Texas no longer requires students to take Algebra II to graduate, but new research from a local non-profit finds that when Central Texas students don’t take advanced math courses, they’re less likely to get a post-graduate degree within six years.

The data also show that Algebra II may not be enough.


Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Representatives at Austin’s Safe Place campus say they’re on track to conduct at least 600 sexual assault forensic exams this year. That's an increase from the past few years, when numbers averaged around 450 per year.

Safe Place credits its new clinic in East Austin as one reason for the increase.


Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Almost a year ago the Texas Civil Rights Project told the Austin school district to examine equity between its higher- and lower-income schools, or it would file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Now the district is finally expected to set a timeline to conduct that assessment at its Dec. 10 meeting.

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