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, where she got her bachelor's degree in American Studies and History. 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. 

Pages

Education
5:11 am
Thu April 11, 2013

After IDEA, an Unknown Future for East Austin’s Allan Elementary (Updated)

Allan Elementary could be empty this school year after AISD ended its contract with IDEA, the charter school that ran Allan.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: IDEA public schools says in the fall it will open its charter school—currently operated at Allan elementary—at The Church in Austin, located at 220 Foremost Dr. IDEA had to find a new location after the Austin Independent School District terminated its contract with the charter program in December.

The decision to break the agreement with IDEA could result in an empty Allan Elementary building this fall. There are some short and long term options for the school building, but mostly a lot of unknowns. 

Original Story (April 10, 2013, 7:41 p.m.): Last spring, the Austin Independent School District contracted with a charter school – IDEA Public Schools  – to run Allan Elementary. 

Read more
Education
3:25 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

AISD Map Breaks Down Bond Package Money by School

AISD has created an interactive map detailing where the $892M bond package will go.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin School District's 2013 bond proposal is a $892 million package consisting of four bond propositions. The projects range from more security and technology in schools and basic repairs to the construction of new schools and additional classrooms. 

AISD has created an interactive map breaking down how much money and what projects are proposed for a majority of schools in the district. 

Read more
Education
11:13 am
Tue April 9, 2013

AISD Teacher Accused of Aggravated Sexual Assault (Update)

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update:  Austin school district police say John Joseph Vasquez, a Blazier Elementary school teacher, was arrested Monday for alleged aggravated sexual assault and improper relationship between an educator and a student.

On April 1, the parent of a former AISD student contacted district police alleging the student had been assaulted as a first grader from January to March of 2011. District police conducted a forensic interview with the child, who did not wish to be identified. Police also conducted a short interview with the suspect. District Police Chief Eric Mendez says there may have been multiple incidences, but the investigation is still ongoing. Mendez says there is no reason to believe there are other victims. 

Read more
Business
4:03 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz Discusses Business with Austin Chamber (Update)

Senator Ted Cruz spoke to the Austin Chamber of Commerce today.
KUT News

Update: U.S. Senator Ted Cruz says he's not giving up his attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Cruz spoke at a sold out luncheon hosted by the Austin Chamber of Commerce Friday. Topics ranged from  healthcare reform and the economy to Cruz's cowboy boots and reputation as a "bomb thrower."

Cruz deflected the question about his "bomb throwing" reputation and instead touted his ability to follow through on campaign promises and get things done in Washington. 

Read more
Education
4:28 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Senate Education Committee Approves Bill to Pay for Firearms Training in Schools (Update)

Texas lawmakers Thursday will discuss two bills concerning school security.
KUT News

Update: The Senate Education Committee approved a bill Thursday that would pay to train teachers and employees who carry weapons on school property.

There’s a new push for a cap on the cost for the training, but now it looks like even that would be more than enough.

The bill would rely mainly on private donations. If there’s not enough private funding, the state would allocate one million. Senator Dan Patrick (R- Harris County) is sponsoring the bill. He says out a the entire state budget, one million for security is worth it. 

Read more
Education
5:30 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Texas Students Must Pass STAAR Exams to Move to Next Grade

TEA Commissioner Michael Williams says there is enough money to tutor those who don't pass the STAAR exam.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Texas students taking the STAAR test this week will have to pass in order to advance to the next grade.

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams says there is enough money in the preliminary state budget to provide tutoring to fifth and eighth graders who fail the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. 

Right now, state lawmakers have allocated $41 million over the next two years for the Student Success Initiative. SSI provides money to school districts to tutor students who cannot pass the STAAR reading or math tests. 

Read more
Education
10:39 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Why Did AISD Shut Off its TV, Web Feed Halfway Through Monday's Meeting?

AISD's policy to broadcast meetings, but not dialogues drew some criticism on Twitter Monday
KUT News

Community members watching the Austin School Board’s meeting online or on television Monday may have been confused when the district turned off its feed half way during its special meeting.

The reason, AISD says, is because the meeting transitioned from a Board Meeting to a Board Dialogue. According to the school district, its policy is to broadcast board meetings, but not dialogue sessions.

Read more
Education
5:23 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Chamber of Commerce Supports AISD Bond Package Under Certain Conditions

The Chamber of Commerce says it supports AISD Bond Package with the condition the School Board creates a Facilities Master Plan by June 2014.
KUT News

The story as it aired on KUT

  The Austin Chamber of Commerce says it fully supports the Austin Independent School District’s $892 million bond package for facilities, technology and infrastructure.

But the chamber’s ultimate approval required negotiations.

The Chamber of Commerce wants to see a Facility Master Plan to address under-enrollment and overcrowding in some schools created by June 2014. On Monday, the school board voted to change the title of whatever it’s coming up with from “Master Plan” to “Guiding Principles.” The board also voted to loosen the deadline.

The chamber immediately rescinded its support for the bond propositions. The board then brought the proposal back up for a vote and returned it to its original language. The chamber went home happy.

Read more
Education
6:22 am
Tue April 2, 2013

AISD Won't Lease Allan Elementary to IDEA (Update)

Allan Elementary School, which AISD is expected to consider tonight potentially leasing the building to IDEA Charter Schools.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: The Austin Independent School District Board last night decided not to lease the Allan elementary school building to IDEA public schools. Allan is closing down at the end of the school year.

That’s because both Allan Elementary and Eastside Memorial High School were part of a plan involving charter school operator IDEA Public Schools. The board canceled the contract with IDEA in December.

Read more
Austin
3:48 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Time to Start Hoarding the Breakfast Tacos: North Korea Wants to Strike Austin?

Kim Jong Un has announced his placing rockets on standby to strike Austin.
courtesy flickr.com/zennie62

Update: UT Politics and East Asia expert Patricia Maclachlan says nuclear weapons are North Korea’s only way to get the U.S. to the negotiating table.

“It has nothing else going for it. It’s the only negotiating card that it really has to get what it wants from the outside world," she says.

But the threat does beg the question: Why Austin?

Read more
Science
5:26 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

UT Scientists Look to Create an Invisibility Cloak (Update)

Researchers at UT tested the new 'invisibility cloak' on this thin metal cylinder.
Dr. Andrea Alu, UT

Researchers at UT have developed a cloak that is barely visible to microwaves

Update: Harry Potter fans and Muggles alike may be one step closer to getting their own invisibility cloaks, if researchers at the University of Texas can help it.

According to the New Journal of Physics, they’ve created a thin material called a “mantle cloak.” Right now the cloak can only make things invisible in a certain range of light waves. It also doesn’t look like a cloak you would wear. It’s a thin tubing made from polycarbonate film, wrapped with copper tape.

Read more
Health
5:20 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Mental Health, Physical Health: $10M Program Looks to Help Both

State Health Services is participating in a $10M study to provide incentives to non-elderly Medicaid recipients to improve their health.
Flickr user Images of Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

Texas is trying to help some Medicaid recipients with behavioral disorders improve their health. 

The state’s health department has embarked on a $10 million dollar project aimed at preventing people with mental health or substance abuse issues from developing chronic diseases.

Read more
Education
4:01 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

AISD Expands Health Insurance Benefits to Same-Sex Couples, Unmarried Domestic Partners

The Austin Independent School District is expanding health care benefits to same-sex couples and unmarried domestic partners.
Credit KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is extending health insurance benefits to same-sex couples and unmarried domestic partners within the year. 

The decision comes after Pflugerville became the first Texas school district to offer health benefits for its employees with same sex partners last fall.

Read more

Pages