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

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

This legislative session, Texas lawmakers have some tough discussions ahead of them about how Texas funds its public schools, but some are asking how lawmakers can have those conversations without an updated look at how much it actually costs to educate kids.  

KUT News

Texas lawmakers are about to spend a lot of time talking about how the state funds its public schools. The question is: Will they make any changes during the legislative session that starts in January? If they don’t, there’s a part of the system that’s set to expire next year. That could be a problem for some school districts across the state.

Sam Ortega for KUT News

The Texas Cultural Trust has a new website that tracks arts education programs at school districts across the state. The map is one way the trust is encouraging parents and students to push for more art education in their local schools. There you can see programs broken down by elementary, middle and high schools in each school district. It looks at how many arts credits were earned by students, the number of art courses offered and the number of students per arts teacher. 

Janine, flickr.com

For more than 15 years, the City of Austin and Austin ISD have partnered to provide services for teen parents in Austin public schools. The program helps at least 150 students with children at Eastside Memorial, Lanier, Reagan and Travis high schools throughout the school year and includes academic support, along with child care, parent education workshops and other social services. 

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

More than 100 of parents and teachers from across the state came to Austin Thursday night to share their struggles getting services for their special needs children. It was the last stop in the U.S. Department of Education’s statewide special education services listening tour, sparked by a Houston Chronicle report that the state was excluding students eligible for special education services on purpose—capping the services for 8.5 percent of students. 

Robert W. Hart / Texas Tribune

The Texas Education Agency wants lawmakers to double the money they approved to expand pre-K programs last legislative session, but some worry that might be a difficult ask.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

Austin ISD is considering a possible relocation of its best school, the Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA), as it determines the future of its campuses. The district has started a months-long process to decide which schools to renovate or close, as well as where to possibly build new campuses.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Last week, Austin ISD released a proposal that suggests building an elementary school on a 10-acre tract in the Mueller neighborhood. That surprised a lot of people involved in the discussion, which has been going on for the past year, and last week’s conversations show just how delicate this situation is.

Cherrywood resident Jennifer Potter-Miller has a child in first grade at Maplewood Elementary. She has another child about to enter kindergarten and she wants to send her kid to public school. But, she has no idea where her kids will go once they get to middle school.

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.

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