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

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.

Nathan Bernier/KUT

In a rare move, thehe State Board of Education preliminarily voted Wednesday against an amendment from the State Board of Educator Certification to change superintendent job requirements. Last month, the SBEC voted to loosen requirements so school boards can hire candidates who have no classroom experience. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Some public schools in South Austin are teaching students how to become business leaders. They’ve implemented an entrepreneurship program for kindergartners through high school seniors that’s the first of its kind in the U.S. The Austin Independent School District unveiled the program at Crockett High School yesterday. 

Courtesy of Travis County Courts

UPDATE Monday: Austin Police are saying a person of interest in the shooting of State District Judge Julie Kocurek has been arrested. Austin Police say in a statement released over social media that the person is being held on unrelated charges in Houston.

"We will not make any further comments at this time due to our ongoing investigation," the statement said

Image by Liang Shi for KUT News

Some students at UT-Austin are concerned about a new federal bill trying to address sexual assault on college campuses. They worry it will deter students from reporting assaults and UT Student Government recently passed a resolution against the bill.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

Wake up, get dressed, pack your homework, maybe a lunch. That’s the typical morning routine for most students. But some students on the U.S.-Mexico border grab something else on their way out the door — their passports.


Nineteen-year-old Arlet Burciaga is one of those students.


When Gene and Shirene McIntyre met with an attendance officer in the El Paso Independent School District in November 2006, their nine grandchildren had already been homeschooled for more than a year. But they were concerned the kids weren’t getting a proper education.

According to court documents, the children were always playing instruments and singing — nothing like traditional school. The children's uncle testified that one child said they did not have to do schoolwork because their parents, Laura and Michael, told them they were “going to be raptured.” 

Courtesy of AISD

In the Travis High School locker room, there is a basket of apples for students to grab a snack after practice. That basket is usually empty by 5:30 p.m., according to students, when the varsity and junior varsity football teams finish practice and head to the cafeteria for study hall. 

"I'm always hungry after practice," says Darrell Davis, a sophomore. "I'm always hungry, period."

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

This year, Texas public schools won’t measure instructional time by days, but they’ll do it by minutes. In the past, Texas public schools years were required to be provide 180 days of instruction. Now, a school year must provide a minimum of 75,600 minutes.

Paul Woodruff for KUT

The second weekend of Austin City Limits starts today.  There’s one difference from last week—Florence and the Machine is headlining Sunday night instead of The Strokes. And Modest Mouse is playing instead of Alabama Shakes. If you look at the line up overall, Florence Welch and Brittany Howard, the lead singer of Alabama Shakes, are the only female performers in the top ten performing slots. It’s a trend seen at music festivals across the country. 

Kate McGee/KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is targeting a new ally in the battle to boost student enrollment at some South Austin schools: real estate agents. The district opened the doors of three neighborhood schools to give real estate agents a better look at what's going on in the classrooms. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUTX

If you've ever attended Austin City Limits, you know the festival is pretty strict about what you can bring inside: two sealed water bottles, no food and no large umbrellas, among other things (no audio equipment, for example — so all of these interviews were done before people entered the park).

But that list of restrictions doesn’t keep people from trying to sneak things in. 


UT Austin is holding its first of two public forums tonight as it decides how to comply with the new law that allows concealed weapons on college campuses in Texas. Public universities must comply with the law, which goes into effect August 1, 2016, but private universities can opt out. Still, there is plenty of uncertainty for private institutions going through the opt-out process.

KUT News

About one in five female undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin experienced some type of sexual assault or misconduct while in college, according to a newly released survey by the Association of American Universities


Four public schools in North Austin have received a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the federal government to implement a full community school model on their campuses. Austin ISD is expected to announce the grant later this morning. 

The four schools are Lanier High School, Burnet Middle School, Cook Elementary and Wooldridge Elementary. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

To understand the challenges many college-bound students face, KUT’s Kate McGee followed three students this summer as they graduated high school and prepared for college. She tracked their progress on a Tumblr site, The Months Between.

Todd Wiseman, Damian Gadal, Robert Couse-Baker/Texas Tribune

The system Texas uses to pay for public schools was back in court today, and lawyers on both sides argued over whether the system is constitutional. It's an argument that's been going on for more than thirty years.

This particular case started in 2011, when the state legislature cut more than $5 billion from public education. Two-thirds of Texas school districts sued the state, arguing the cuts made it impossible to meet state academic standards. They won in a lower court. But today, the case was argued in the state Supreme Court.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

A $37 million program to reduce childhood obesity in Texas didn’t actually achieve any of its desired results, according to a new study from the University of Texas

The Texas Fitness Now program gave grants to the state’s poorest middle schools from 2007 to 2011, when the program ended due to budget cuts.

Andrew Weber/KUT News

Most students in the Austin Independent School District returning to school today are minorities, but many of those students won’t see a minority teacher in front of the classroom. State data show there's a large diversity gap between teachers and students in all Austin high schools and middle schools.

Every single Austin middle and high school has more white teachers than teachers of any other ethnicity. Individually, schools have teaching staffs that are anywhere from 46 to 87 percent white. Last year, 25 percent of the district's middle and high school students were white. 


This week, the Austin Independent School District holds its annual gang resistance and training summer camp for students. For the Austin ISD Police Department, which organizes the event, it’s just one way to try to eliminate gang activity on campuses.

Austin ISD Police Chief Eric Mendez says his department has two goals when it comes to gang activity. First, keep it off campus. Second, make sure students aren’t joining gangs.

“We want to catch them when they’re more statistically inclined to engage in criminal activity or criminal gangs,” says Mendez.