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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Education
1:35 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

More Hearings Possible in Texas School Funding Case

Judge John Dietz. He ruled the Texas School Funding system is unconstitutional.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

District Court Judge John Dietz said this morning he will hold a hearing to consider reopening the  Texas School Finance case to weigh the impacts of  changes made to education during the most recent legislative session. 

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Education
11:00 am
Wed June 5, 2013

AISD Likely to Put Domestic Partner Benefits on Hold

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

AISD says it will likely not grant health benefits to domestic partners of employees. The school district will wait until a federal court decides on the issue.

This is after AISD announced in March it would extend health benefits to domestic partners, which includes same sex and unmarried couples.

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Education
7:01 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Officials: Restored State Education Cuts Won't Help AISD

AISD's 2014 Budget is expected to have a $30 million dollar shortfall and the public education cuts restored by the 2013 legislature aren't expected to help close the gap. The district expects to use reserves to make up the difference.
KUT News

AISD's Chief Finance Officer, Nicole Conley, presented a revised proposed $879 million  budget for the next fiscal year Monday night.

She said although Texas public schools may be getting $3.9 billion dollars restored from the $5.4 billion state lawmakers cut in 2011, AISD isn’t expecting much of a benefit locally from the partial funding restoration. 

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Education
8:12 am
Tue June 4, 2013

AISD Trustees Approve Plan for Eastside Vertical Team

TEA Commissioner Williams is expected to make a decision soon on whether to accept the district's proposal.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The Austin Independent School District Board approved a plan last night for the elementary and middle schools that feed into Eastside Memorial High.

Eastside hasn’t been meeting academic standards and could be shut down. In an effort to keep it open, the board approved a partnership with Johns Hopkins last month.  But that program’s plan didn’t include an outline of what should happen at feeder schools.

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Education
7:11 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Threat of Deportation Haunts Immigrant Students

Some advocates at Saturday's Immigration Forum.
Kate McGee, KUT News

More than 100 Austin parents, teachers and community members gathered at Mendez Middle School Saturday for an immigration forum sponsored by the teachers union, Education Austin. Advocacy groups and organizations provided information to undocumented immigrants about a pathway to citizenship and the latest on immigration reform.

It's a process that advocates say can stress out many parents. But it can be a stressor on children as well.

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Austin
5:35 am
Fri May 31, 2013

LGBT Elders Face Extra Challenges

flickr.com/mr-pi

LGBT Pride Month begins June 1. While many situations are unique to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender experience, you many think aging is not. But there are increased risks for LGBT seniors. 

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Education
5:34 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Tuition Revenue Bond Bill is Refiled in Special Session

A state senator has re-filed a bill that authorizes Tuition Revenue Bonds for capitol projects at public universities.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

State Sen. Kel Seliger has re-filed a bill in the special session allowing state universities to issue Tuition Revenue Bonds for capital projects.

However, lawmakers wouldn't be able to take up the issue unless Gov. Rick Perry adds it to the list of  topics for the special session.

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Texas
3:17 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Sergeant Major of the Army Comes to Texas for Memorial Day

Sergeant Major of the Army Ramond F. Chandler III at the Memorial Day ceremony in Georgetown, Tex. Monday morning.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Over a thousand Central Texans gathered on Monday to honor local men and women who lost their lives in service to the U.S. at the Georgetown-Williamson County Veterans Memorial in the Sun City Community Center.

At the memorial, the Texas Army National Guard’s 36th Infantry Division Band played for residents and veterans, with Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III attending the ceremony as a special guest.

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Education
12:13 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Two Big Education Bills Gain Approval from Texas Legislature

The Texas House and Senate passed committee reports on House Bill 5 and Senate Bill 2 on May 26, 2013.
morguefile.com

House and Senate members exchanged high fives and congratulations Sunday night, as they approved  conference committee reports on two bills impacting public education across Texas.

One bill increases the cap on charter schools, while the other reduces the number of end-of-course exams in public high schools.

Both bills are now heading to Gov. Rick Perry's desk for his signature.

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Education
11:21 am
Fri May 24, 2013

After Oklahoma Tornado, Austin Campuses Examine Storm Plans

Even though Austin isn't in the so-called 'Tornado Alley', UT and AISD both have plans in place in case of a tornado
flickr.com/inventorchris2

The recent tornado in Oklahoma and the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut last year have increased people’s awareness of emergency management at schools. 

At the University of Texas’s Police Building, the Emergency Operation Center is quiet right now. But David Cronk, UT’s Emergency Preparedness director, says when there’s a threat or major event, the room can get pretty crowded.

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Education
5:25 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Students Need to Be More Active, Report Says

A teachers advocate says prepping for standardized testing takes time away from physical activity.
Rune Mathisen, Texas Tribune

Students should be getting 60 minutes a day of physical activity, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine. That exercise could happen before, during or after school.

The study also recommends the U.S. Department of Education declare physical education a core subject.

Bill Kohl, who led the committee that wrote the report, says physical activity improves learning in the classroom.

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Education
12:33 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Update: Webb Middle, Elementary Schools Lockdown Lifted


View Larger Map

Update: The lockdown at Webb Middle and primary schools has been lifted, according to AISD officials. Schools will resume a regular schedule. APD was not immediately available to confirm whether or not the suspect has been apprehended.

Original Story (12:18 p.m.): Webb Middle and primary schools are on lock down as Austin Police search for a possibly armed suspect in the St. Johns/I-35 area, according to Austin Independent School District.

The man is suspected to be connected to a woman who tried to cash a forged check this morning on the 6400 block of US-290.

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Education
5:10 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Early TAKS Scores Up at Eastside Memorial

A TAKS Test. Unofficial data shows improvements among 11th graders at Eastside Memorial
KUT News

Preliminary standardized test scores for this school year show improvements in multiple subjects at Eastside Memorial High School – a school that has had a history of failure going back nearly a decade.

According to unofficial data presented to Eastside Memorial teachers this week, 90 percent of students passed the TAKS end of year exam in English and Language Arts. That’s a nearly 20 percent jump from last year. 

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Education
3:53 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Bill to Ban Sale of Sugary Drinks in Schools Heads to Perry's Desk

A bill that would ban the sale of sugary drinks in elementary, middle schools is heading to Gov. Perry's desk
Juan Carlos/Flickr

Middle and elementary school students craving a Coke during the school day may be in trouble.

A bill that would ban the sale of sugary drinks in Texas middle and elementary schools is heading to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk for final approval.

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Education
12:27 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

AISD Board Approves Contract with Eastside Memorial Partner

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen at a press conference. At Monday's Board Meeting, she expressed concerns about a partnership.
KUT News

The Austin School Board Monday night approved a contract with Johns Hopkins University to implement its program — Talent Development Secondary — at Eastside Memorial High School. The decision comes after AISD canceled a contract with a charter school company to run an elementary school that fed into the high school.

The contract now goes to the Texas Education Commissioner for final approval. Although the vote was unanimous, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen questioned if the commissioner would approve the contract.

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Education
6:09 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Non-Profit Ranks Austin Metro Area Public Schools

Harmony Science Academy, ranked top public high school by Children at Risk.
Voices Empower with Alice Linahan/flickr

In a new statewide ranking of schools, Austin has some of the best grades and some of the worst.

The group – Children at Risk – grades schools on an A through F scale. Out of the four major metro areas in Texas, the Austin area has the highest percentage of campuses with A's.

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Education
6:04 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

AISD Considers Putting Ads on School Buses

AISD is considering placing advertising on school buses at its board meeting tonight
KUT News

The Austin School Board tonight will consider contracting with a company to put advertisements on the side of school buses. 

Cynthia Calvert owns the company Steep Creek Media. AISD is recommending the board approve a three year contract with the company.

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Education
2:09 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Austin 5th Grader Represents Texas in National Geographic Bee

Chinmay Murthy, the Texas finalist in the National Geographic Bee.
National Geographic

Update: Chinmay Murthy, the 5th grader representing Texas in the National Geographic Bee, did not move on past the preliminary round of the Bee.  He missed a chance to qualify in the Top Ten by two questions. Murthy is vowing to try again next year.

Original Story (9:18 a.m.): Monday marks the start of the three-day National Geographic Bee in Washington D.C.

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Education
12:27 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Texas Students Solve Math Problems for West Recovery

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams at a check presentation ceremony. Students raised money for West, Texas disaster relief.
Texas Education Agency

Students across Texas helped raise $11,367 to the American Red Cross  West, Texas Relief Fund.

How'd they do it? By solving math problems. 

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Education
4:44 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

This Austin Community's 'Bike Train' Means Safety in Numbers

Rachel Houston, left, and some Brentwood Elementary students biking to school. Houston and her husband, Greg, lead a Bike Train every morning to school.
Kate McGee, KUT News

When you drive around Austin, it's hard not to notice the growing number of cyclists next to your car.

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