Charter Schools

Education
10:03 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Goodwill's Austin Charter Helps Older High School Dropouts Pick Up Where They Left Off

Georgina Hudson takes notes during class at the Goodwill Excel Center. The school is the first free public charter school for adults ages 19-50 in Texas. It's goal is to provide adults the opportunity and support to earn a high school diploma and post-sec
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

In Texas, students over the age of 25 are considered too old to educate, leaving many older high school dropouts with few ways to earn a diploma.

But a new charter school pilot program in Austin is hoping to change that. Goodwill Industries has opened a public charter school for students ages 19 to 50, which they hope to be a model for schools looking to help high school dropouts continue their education and earn their diploma.

Read more
Education
12:00 pm
Sun August 31, 2014

Why Texas Says It's Not Prime Time to Give Deion Sanders' Charter School State Money

Sanders as an NFL Network analyst in 2008.
Michael De Jesus Wikimedia Commons

Football legend Deion Sanders is used to the media spotlight. The two-time Super Bowl winner earned the nickname "Prime Time" for his flashy style and aggressive speed. But it's his Prime Prep Academy that's been grabbing headlines lately. 

The charter school founded by the former Dallas Cowboys cornerback suffered a string of setback, including allegations that led the Texas Education Agency to revoke its charter. The school is currently appealing the decision, but it's in hot water once again for opening a second campus without TEA approval. 

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke to Dallas Morning News reporter Jeff Mosier about the state of the charter school and its outspoken founder. You can read some of the interview highlights below. 

Read more
Education
2:11 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Charters Push Back Against Measure on School Closures

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

In 2013, when Texas passed its first overhaul of charter school policy since 1995 — the year the publicly funded but privately operated schools were first established in the state — lawmakers included a provision intended to speed the shuttering of poor-performing schools.

But nearly 10 months after the Texas Education Agency marked six operators for closure under the new measure, three of those schools remain open. As those charters prepare to open their doors this month for a new school year, they say they are fighting a process that does not account for the full picture of a charter’s financial or academic health.  

Read more
Education
8:11 am
Tue May 6, 2014

This Austin Charter School Slated for Closure May Get a Second Chance

Jon Shapley for KUT News

An Austin charter school slated for closure by the state may be getting a second chance.

The Texas Education Agency had ordered American Youthworks to close by next month. But the school went to court and argued everything was a misunderstanding.

On Friday, a judge agreed to hear the school's case – possibly extending the school's life for at least one more semester.

Read more
American Youthworks
9:01 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Austin Dropout Recovery School Faces Closure After 30 Years

Parc Smith is American Youthworks' CEO. He stands by a tree that highlights the achievements of his students. Students follow a self-paced program until they finally graduate high school.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News.

The fate of an Austin charter school that has run a dropout recovery program for more than 30 years will be decided later this month.

American Youthworks faces closure under a new law that allows the Texas Education Agency to revoke licenses from underperforming charter schools, thus opening those licenses to other organizations.

TEA spokesperson Debbie Ratcliffe says Senate Bill 2 is pretty clear. That’s the law passed last year that, among other things, gave TEA teeth to revoke the licenses of failing charter schools. “If a school has received the state’s lowest, either academic or financial, rating for three straight years, it automatically is closed,” Ratcliffe says.

Read more
Charter Schools
8:48 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Austin Charter Focuses on College Prep Despite New Grad Requirements

St. Edward's University is partnering with KIPP Austin Charter school to help more of its students go to college and get a degree.
www.flickr.com/pitmanra/

The charter school KIPP Austin is announcing a partnership Thursday with St. Edward’s University, in an effort to promote the charter school’s mission to prepare students for college and help them receive a degree.

The private university in South Austin will join more than 40 other colleges and universities nationwide that partner with the nonprofit charter school - including UT Austin and the University of Pennsylvania. 

The partnership comes as public school districts across the state begin implementing new state mandated high school graduation requirements. The requirements allow students to pursue a diploma that prepares them for college or a career. While charter schools like KIPP continue to focus on college, it's unclear what the new requirements that offer career or college preparation mean for low-income students at traditional public schools.

Read more
Education
3:18 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Update: Austin Public Montessori School Gets Charter License

Update: The Texas Education Commission granted a charter school license to the Magnolia Montessori school, which means Austin will have its first public Montessori school option next academic year on the city's east side. The Montessori school plans to open a second charter school in San Antonio in 2016.

Commissioner Michael Williams announced his decision to grant four charter school licenses Friday. They include three other schools outside of Austin, including Carpe Diem Schools, El Paso Leadership Academy and Great Hearts Academies Dallas.

Read more
Education
10:57 am
Tue August 27, 2013

How Travis Heights Elementary Could Change Schools in Austin

Travis Heights School gives teachers and administrators more autonomy in making decisions on lesson plans, food choices and the school's budget.
flickr.com/nabewise

More than 86,000 students in the Austin Independent School District returned to school this week. But at Travis Heights Elementary School, teachers, parents and students are starting a new chapter in the school’s history as the first in-district charter school in Austin. 

If the model catches on, the school could also change how things in the district work, with teachers and administrators having more control over curriculum, scheduling, the budget and even what's served in the cafeteria. 

Read more
Education
6:11 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Texas House Passes Bill to Increase Charter Cap

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

The Texas House passed a bill Thursday that would increase the amount of charter schools across the state.

Right now, Texas caps the number of charters—or publicly funded, privately operated schools—to 215.  Senate bill 2 would increase the number of charter licenses allowed to 305 by 2019.

Read more
2013 Legislative Sesssion
10:00 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Patrick's Charter School Bill Faces Test in House

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, spoke Wednesday as Texas charter school supporters rallied at the Texas Capitol to lobby the Legislature for more funding.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

The state’s charter school system could move closer to its first expansion in nearly two decades on Thursday, as the House is set to take up an education reform measure that passed through the Senate earlier this session.

Senate Bill 2, authored by Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, would increase the number of available state contracts for the schools that are publicly funded but privately operated by nonprofit organizations. 

Read more
Education
6:02 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Teachers Groups Raise Concerns About Charter School Bill

A bill to expand the number of charter schools in the state is drawing criticism from teachers organizations in Texas.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Some teachers organizations are lobbying Texas House members to stop the progress of Senate Bill 2, a bill that would expand the number of charter school licenses in Texas.  

SB-2 would gradually add 90 charter school licenses in Texas by the year 2019.  

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
Education
4:43 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Changes Could Come for State's Charter School Cap

Sen. Dan Patrick proposed SB2, which could increase the number of charter schools in the state
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Thirty-five new charter school permits could be issued every year under the newest version of a bill that aims to improve accessibility to open enrollment charters. An earlier version of Senate Bill 2 would have allowed for unlimited growth of charter schools.

The amendments to Sen. Dan Patrick’s (R-Houston) bill were offered during this morning’s senate hearing on education. 

Read more
Texas
12:27 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Jeb & George P. Bush Talk Texas Education Reform (Update)

Jeb Bush speaking to the Texas Senate Committee on Education this morning.
Ben Philpott, KUT News

Update: This morning, Jeb Bush had much to say on education reform and potential strategies Texas can use to ensure student achievement. His main point was, basically, if you want success, you have to fund it.

“A lesson we learned is put money behind the reforms and you’ll get better results," Bush said. "There’s enough money in the system. This whole argument that somehow we’re not funding schools adequately and I know it’s a big debate here. I would argue that maybe we should be funding the first things first. Put the priorities where you want to see the results and you’ll get a significantly better result.”

Read more
2013 Legislative Sesssion
3:45 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Education Chairman Aims to Expand Charter Schools

Sen. Dan Patrick R-Houston thinks during Senate Education Committee meeting on June 2, 2011
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Broad changes to the state's charter school system, including the creation of a new state board to oversee the state contract process, would result from legislation filed Monday by Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston.

The State Board of Education currently oversees applications for charter school contracts, which state law caps at 215. Patrick's Senate Bill 2 would create a new state entity to authorize the contracts and lift that cap, allowing for an unlimited number of charter school operators in the state.

Read more
Education
7:27 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Charter Schools 'Disappointed' With School Finance Ruling

Judge John Dietz in his courtroom before he ruled that school finance system unconstitutional on February 4th, 2013
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

State district Judge John Dietz's ruling that the Texas school finance system is unconstitutional is being celebrated by many school district administrators, but one group involved the lawsuit is probably not popping champagne bottles tonight: charter school advocates.

“We are disappointed that Judge Dietz ruled against charter school students and their parents, denying them constitutional protections,” Texas Charter Schools Association executive director David Dunn said in a statement. He added, however, that they were pleased with the ruling that the overall education system is inadequate.

Read more
Education
6:56 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Texas School Districts, Charters Are Finalists in Federal Competition

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

By the end of the year, a few Texas school districts may have access to millions in funding that Gov. Rick Perry had passed on two years ago because of concerns about federal intrusion into Texas classrooms.

Since Texas refused to participate in Race to the Top at the state level in 2010, the Obama administration has rolled out a new version of its signature education program to allow districts to apply individually for a separate pot of about $400 million in federal money. Administration officials announced the new round of competition that would emphasize data-driven personalized student learning plans in 2011, after three phases of the state-based contest.

Read more
Austin
2:05 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Mapping the Future of AISD

KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is inviting community input at a public hearing tonight about the 2013–2014 Annual Academic and Facilities Recommendations (AAFR) tonight at the Carruth Administration Center on West Sixth Street.

There are a several important issues on the AAFR, the most polarizing being single-sex schools, improvements for athletic facilities and fine arts programs, and the expansion of the dual language program.

Here's a roundup:

  • The conversion of two middle schools to Single-Sex schools in northeast Austin were talked about back in August, but a School for Young Men was often left out of the headlines. The proposed School for Young Men would be college and career preparatory academy that develops a community of leadership and character centered young men. Enrollment could start as early as next school year.
  • The recommendation to improve athletic facilities has three potential proposals to throw out to community members with price ranges from $82 million to $179 million. Increased pay and flexible schedules for coaches are included within these proposals.

Read more
Education
12:42 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Analyst: School Choice Grant Program Could Save Texas Billions

Lawmakers want to know if giving families educational options will make all schools better.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

The Texas Senate Committee on Education today talked about possible funding options to promote school choice.

Lawmakers want to know if having more school options will create competition and, in turn, make all schools in the state better. One option to encourage school choice is a so-called taxpayer savings grant program. The idea was proposed in the Texas Legislature last year as part of House Bill 33. It would pay up to 60 percent of the amount that the state spends per pupil each year on school maintenance and operations for private school tuition – that’d be about $5,200.

Joe Bast is the President and CEO of the Heartland Institute – a non-profit research center based in Chicago. He looked at the numbers and believes many Texas families would take advantage of the option and that it would save taxpayers a big chuck of money right away.

Read more
news brief
8:12 am
Fri August 24, 2012

AM Update: Armstrong Bombshell, Charter School Hearing, Cedar Park on Salamanders

goat karma http://www.flickr.com/photos/goatkarma/ / Erik Reyna, KUT News / City of Austin by Mark Sanders

A high of 93 under partly cloudy skies is forecast for Austin today but it will feel more like 98 degrees with the humidity. Here are your top morning stories.

Lance Armstrong To Be Stripped of Titles?

Austin cycling legend Lance Armstrong is about to have his Tour de France victories “obliterated” from the record books, World Anti-Doping Agency boss John Fahey tells the BBC. As we posted last night, Armstrong said he was giving up his court battle with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) over allegations he used performance-enhancing drugs since 1996.

Shortly thereafter, the USADA chief said that means Armstrong will be stripped of his titles. Armstrong says USADA doesn’t have the authority to do that, but NPR’s Mike Pesca reports this morning that it does. "Greg LeMond is [now] the only American" to have officially won the world's most prestigious bicycle race, Pesca told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep.

Read more

Pages