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. 

Ways to Connect

Photo by KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is starting to think about what its schools will look like, and where they’ll be located, two decades from now. On Wednesday, it released a set of possible options for its 120 campuses this week, including when and where to potentially renovate schools, build new ones and close others. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

Austin School Board members bid farewell Monday night to former school board Trustee Gina Hinojosa who was elected to the Texas House of Representatives on Election Day. The start of Monday night's Board meeting was bittersweet. As Hinojosa said goodbye to other board members, she encouraged the board to continue to advocate for students across the city.

KUT News

The divide over how Texas should educate its 5.3 million public school students will become clear during the 2017 legislative session. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Textbook publisher Cynthia Dunbar was defending her company’s Mexican-American Heritage book in front of the State Board of Education last week when she made an interesting argument. Historians raised issues with some of the book's content, but Dunbar said that didn’t matter because the school board didn't specify what type of content it wanted.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

Next week, the Austin School Board will swear-in Cindy Anderson to replace Trustee Gina Hinojosa, who was elected to the Texas House this year. The new board will have the fewest number of minority trustees in at least 20 years, and the remaining trustees of color say that's a problem.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez, KUT News

Gov. Greg Abbott and members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus dedicated a monument at the Capitol Saturday morning honoring the contributions of African-Americans.

The monument on the Capitol's south lawn highlights the African-American experience in Texas from the 1500s to slavery and emancipation to more modern achievements in the arts and sciences.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

After months of protests from historians, teachers and lawmakers, the Texas State Board of Education this morning unanimously rejected a controversial Mexican-American studies textbook that would have been used in public schools.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Update (Nov. 16 11:06 a.m.)  ​ The State Board of Education unanimously rejected a controversial Mexican American studies textbook in a preliminary vote Wednesday morning. The vote was 14-0 with Board Member David Bradley absent.

Before the vote, Board Member Thomas Ratliff said he wanted the vote to be clear:

What we are not doing is censoring a textbook. Nothing prohibits either of these publishers to print the books exactly as it is. Nothing prohibits them from resubmitting the book in Proclamation 2018 and nothing we do will prohibit them from selling them to public school districts in Texas. What we are doing is we are following Texas Education Code and our rules. We are not engaging in politics or personalities.

The board is expected to take a final vote on the book Friday. 

Original Post: The Texas State Board of Education is expected to decide whether to approve a controversial Mexican-American Studies textbook this week. On Tuesday, the board took final public testimony on the book.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Austin School Board Trustee Paul Saldaña got a call this morning from a parent who was in tears after dropping off her 15-year-old son at school. The mother said her son is worried about his classmates –­ many of whom come from families with undocumented relatives or are undocumented themselves ­– after the election of Donald Trump.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Jessica Foulke teaches seventh grade social studies at a North Austin charter school. She says her students started texting her early on Election Night as the results came in. Many of them were worried because Hillary Clinton was losing.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

There are five Austin School Board seats on the ballot tonight, but the board won’t see a huge shake up after votes are tallied. In fact, we already know the results of three of those races. That’s because incumbents Ann Teich(District 3), Amber Elenz (District 5) and Yasmin Wagner(District 7) are running unopposed for their seats. Teich and Elenz are running for a second term. Wagner is running for election after she was appointed in 2015 to replace former Trustee Robert Schneider, who passed away.

The real questions are:

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

It’s a familiar story that’s now repeated itself for three Austin School Board election cycles. The political action committee, Austin Kids First, and the local teacher’s union, Education Austin, have donated the most money to the campaigns of local school board candidates.

Mengwen Cao/KUT

Every fall, Education Austin President Ken Zarifis says the local teacher's union has to talk with at least one Austin ISD campus about teacher planning periods – the free time during the school day in which teachers can plan classes, talk with students or meet with other teachers. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz chatted with six Reagan Early College High School students as they gathered at the ACC Highland Mall campus' early voting center on Monday afternoon to cast their ballots on their way to class. The students are among 1,963 young adults in AISD schools that are age 18 or older this month.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

If you live within the Austin Independent School District, you have at least one Austin School Board race on your ballot: the at-large school board trustee. Two candidates, Cindy Anderson and David Quintanilla, are running to replace Trustee Gina Hinojosa, who is running for a Texas House seat vacated last year.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Austin ISD didn’t see as big of an enrollment dip as they thought they would six weeks into the 2016-2017 school year, but enrollment is still down from last year by 541 students.

The district had help from a new transfer policy, which allows students who live outside the district to transfer into AISD schools with space.  This year, the district received 1,434 out-of-district transfer requests. 802 of those requests came from families who are not employees in AISD.

Kate McGee/KUT News

Some Austin School Board members say the city needs safer, more connected sidewalks for students to walk to school. That's why they joined other Hispanic political and business leaders today in support of the $720 million transportation bond put forth by the Austin City Council.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

You probably weren't streaming Monday night's Austin School Board meeting and there's even less of a chance that you were at the meeting itself. Don't worry, we've got you covered. 

Here's a break down of all the night’s action:

KUT News

The number of households with children in Austin is decreasing—especially in the city’s urban core. That means there are more people eligible to vote for Austin ISD School Board trustees who don’t have any children in their neighborhood schools.

Here are a few reasons why you should still care about these school board elections, even if you don’t have kids. 


KUT News

Four of the nine Austin Community College board seats are on the ballot this election. These positions are numbered—but all of the positions are at-large, which means the trustees represent the entire ACC community, rather than specific parts of the 7,000-square-mile district. 

Pages