Education

Education
10:14 am
Wed July 1, 2015

Not All School Districts Warm to Miller's Food Initiative

Despite the Agriculture Commissioner's lifting a ban on deep fryers in public schools, many say they don't want them back, anyway.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: Students eager to purchase soda and fried foods when they return to school in the fall may be disappointed, despite Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's recent announcement that both will be welcome back on Texas public school campuses after a 10-year ban. 

To the dismay of nutritionists and public health experts, Miller reversed the department's ban on soda machines and deep fat fryers in mid-June as part of a new state nutrition policy calling for more local foods, community engagement and training to help schools serve meals that are "attractive and taste great." 

But many large school districts aren't warming to Miller's initiative.

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Education
9:40 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Will Revisit UT Affirmative Action Case

Fisher v UT, which deals with the school's using race as a factor in its admissions process, will be revisited by the U.S. Supreme Court.
KUT News

Today, the Supreme Court decided that it would take up the case of Fisher v the University of Texas at Austin, a suit dealing with a controversial admissions case at UT Austin. A white woman, Abigail Fisher, sued the school in 2008, claiming the university rejected her based on her race. The University says race is one of a few special circumstances it considers in admissions.

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Education
12:08 pm
Wed June 24, 2015

Parents Debate Name Change for Robert E. Lee Elementary

Robert E. Lee Elementary on Hampton Rd. Some Hyde Park residents want the school to change its name.
Charlotte Carpenter/KUT

In the midst of a national discussion about Confederate symbols, some residents in Austin's Hyde Park neighborhood want the school board to change the name of a local elementary school. Lee Elementary was named for Confederate Army Commander Robert E. Lee. 

"To honor him with naming schools after him is, I think, just inappropriate," says Teresa Griffin, a Hyde Park resident for 25 years and member of the Friends of Hyde Park Neighborhood Association

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Education
9:07 am
Tue June 23, 2015

New Law Requires Special Ed Classrooms to Install Security Cameras Upon Request

BES Photos/flickr

Texas school districts will be required to have cameras in special education classrooms if a parent, school board trustee or staff member requests it, starting in the 2016-2017 school year.  The cameras are aimed at improving safety for more vulnerable students, but some education groups say it’s an unfunded mandate for school districts.

During the legislative session, dozens of parents testified in support of the camera proposal. Many parents who testified spoke about their children who were abused or isolated for long periods of time.

Sen. Eddie Lucio, who wrote the bill, says the cameras would provide protection for students who can’t protect themselves.

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Education
11:49 am
Thu June 18, 2015

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Lifts Ban on Deep Fryers, Soda Machines in Schools

A decade-old ban on deep fryers in Texas public school cafeterias will be lifted July 1.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Note: This story will be updated as it develops.

Texas public schools can once again can have deep fat fryers and soda machines on campus, starting this fall. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, who oversees school nutrition policy in Texas, announced Thursday he’s lifting the decade-old ban as part of his new five-point plan to combat childhood obesity. Miller says schools don’t have to put in deep fryers or soda machines.

"We're just saying if you want [a deep fryer], go get one," Miller said in an interview at his office Thursday. "I'd be surprised if there's a dozen schools [that] put in deep fryers. One thing, we're not going to give them any money. They're going to have to go buy those."

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Education
11:52 am
Wed June 17, 2015

As Summer Begins, Eanes ISD Starts Reducing Staff to Fill In Budget Gap

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

In light of an expected $3 million budget gap next year, Eanes Independent School District has started making preliminary cuts to staffing positions, but district leaders are still unclear exactly how much money they’ll be working with when school starts in August, or whether those cuts will be permanent. 

Now that the legislative session is over and there wasn't a major school finance overhaul, the school district knows how much money it’ll get from the state next year. The problem is that the district is unclear on exactly how much it will receive from the assessed valuation of property in the district boundary.

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Education
10:27 am
Fri June 12, 2015

Behind the Numbers of Texas' Rising High School Graduation Rates

LA Johnson/NPR

This week, NPR Ed is digging into the story behind high school graduation rates across the country. NPR partnered with 14 public radio stations nationwide, including KUT.

At 88 percent, Texas has one of the highest graduation rates in the country, and the Austin Independent School District’s graduation rate has increased 12 percentage points since 2008, compared to the all-time high rate of 81 percent nationally. 

But what's the story behind those rates? Take a look at NPR Ed's interactive below to dig into the numbers.

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Austin ISD
12:39 pm
Thu June 11, 2015

How Hot Wheels Help Austin Fourth Graders Learn Physics

Credit Kate McGee

A group of elementary school students sit on the floor of a classroom at Sunset Valley Elementary. They’re connecting plastic pieces to build orange ramps and pushing tiny race cars down them. The goal is to see if the car can make it all the way around the loop. 

"One, two, three," says one student before letting go of the race car. It doesn't make it.

"Oh! So close!" they yell. 

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Gender Divide
1:07 pm
Thu June 4, 2015

In Austin's All-Boys Middle School, Young Men Find, and Become, Role Models

Bryce Gable works out at track practice after a school day at Gus Garcia Young Men's Leadership Academy, an all-boys middle school.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Raising children isn’t easy, especially if you’re doing it on your own.

At Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy, the new all-boys school in East Austin, many of the students are being raised by single moms or grandmas. Principal Sterlin McGruder recognizes that.

"I feel it's important [that] I’m in the cafeteria, I'm in the hallway, I'm in the classrooms, so that they can have a conversation with me," McGruder says. "They don’t have the male role model at home. They need that male role model who they can talk to. You can tell they're yearning."

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Education
9:42 am
Fri May 29, 2015

As Public Housing Availability Dwindles, A Family Struggles to Stay in Travis Heights

Victoria Hernandez, 27, and her five-year-old son Jayden wait for the bus that takes them daily to his pre-K class in Travis Heights.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Victoria Hernandez and her son Jayden wake up at 5 a.m. each day for Jayden’s pre-kindergarten class at Travis Heights Elementary School. They get ready at their apartment complex on Stassney Lane, four miles away from Travis Heights. Then, they walk to the bus stop to wait for the number one bus.

By the time they embark, it’s about 6:30 in the morning — the sun has just started to rise.

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Texas Standard
3:45 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

UT Austin President Bill Powers: How He Wants to be Remembered

Powers is stepping down as president after almost 10 years.
Photo via Texas Tribune/Flickr

From Texas Standard:

The man who leads the flagship campus of the University of Texas is in his final week of the job.

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers is stepping down June 2.

Powers spoke with Texas Standard about his upcoming plans, his journey to Texas and his own quest of perseverance.

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Education
5:50 pm
Sat May 23, 2015

Updated: UT Campus-wide Commencement Cancelled; Fireworks Ceremony Tentatively Rescheduled

The UT Tower glowed orange in honor of the 2015 graduates, under rainy skies that led to the campus-wide commencement ceremony's cancellation
Trey Shaar KUT News

Update Sunday 3:30 p.m. University officials say that the commencement fireworks ceremony has been rescheduled for 10 p.m. tonight (Sunday), weather-permitting. Check back here for updates.

The University of Texas at Austin has cancelled the outdoor commencement ceremony planned for 8 p.m. Saturday due to inclement weather. UT said just before 5 p.m. that lightning had impeded the set-up for the outdoor event and that the threat of continuing inclement weather led the university "regretfully" to cancel the ceremony. 

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun May 17, 2015

Higher Ed: Learning and Aging

Credit Dawn Endico/flickr

Remember that early 1990's television show Doogie Howser, M.D. about a brilliant teenage doctor? Doogie had graduated from college by the age of ten and had become a doctor at 14. Ok, that may be a little extreme, but is it possible that young people could learn that much that early in life? In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss some of the commonly held assumptions about age and learning. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Listen on for a fresh take.

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Education
5:30 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Rocket-Building Program Aims to Launch Students' Science and Engineering Careers

Students from Kingwood High School celebrate passing a pre-launch inspection as they prepare to launch their 'Big Blue' rocket at the SystemsGo Aeroscience Rockets event 2015 near Fredericksburg, Texas.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

High school students from across Texas are spending the weekend launching rockets near Fredericksburg as a part of an aeroscience engineering program called SystemsGo.

The Willow City volunteer fire station just outside Fredericksburg filled up with high school students from all over Texas at 6 a.m. They bend over nearly 20 different rockets, prepping them for launch.

Students ask questions like: “So when the parachute comes out, where is the air resistance going to be? How is it going to catch air? Did we research that?”

One team of students traveled from Kingwood High School in the Humble Independent School District outside Houston. They’ve been working on their rocket for six months — even building part of it with 3D printers.

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Education
11:11 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Part-Time College Students Less Likely to Graduate Within Six Years, Report Says

Sixty-seven percent of Central Texas college students work while they're in school.
Sean MacEntee/flickr

Two-thirds of the area’s college students work while they attend school, according to a report coming out next week on Texas' education landscape.

Many students who work while attending college are not full-time students. In fact, in Central Texas, “80 percent of our high school graduates who go into two-year colleges are enrolling part-time,” says Christine Bailie with the E3 Alliance.

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Education
2:23 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Abbott Signs Bill to Help Students Who Fail State Exams

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during Texas Public Policy Foundation's grand opening of new building on April 21st, 2015.
Credit Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott warmed up his bill-signing pen on Monday, approving a measure ensuring that some high school seniors who fail to pass state exams can seek an alternate route to graduation.

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun May 10, 2015

Higher Ed: Commencement Reflections

Credit Dawn Endico/flickr

Caps and gowns ... diplomas... speeches... parties... and anxieties about what's next. It's commencement season, and thousands of higher education graduates across the country are packing up their dorm rooms and embarking on the next stage of life. In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger reflect on what commencement means and discuss what most students actually take away from their college experiences. It may not be exactly what you'd expect - listen on.

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Education
7:39 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Some Texas Lawmakers Want to Decriminalize Truancy, But Those on the Frontlines Aren’t So Sure

Judge Yvonne Williams presides over truancy court cases in Travis County. She says some schools think she’s soft on students.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Fourteen-year-old Karyme* has missed 14 days of eighth grade this school year. Her school, part of the Manor Independent School District, has taken her and her mother to court.

Now she and her mother stand in an Austin courtroom facing the presiding judge, Hon. Yvonne Williams.

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun May 3, 2015

Higher Ed: Where Do Ideas Come From?

Credit Dawn Endico/flickr

No doubt you've seen that iconic representation of the moment when a new idea is born. You know — the whole "lightbulb pops up over somebody's head" graphic. It's eye-catching for sure, but it turns out that's not actually how ideas come to us. In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how ideas are formed and how they flow. Listen on to hear how it's more river than lightbulb.

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Education
7:51 am
Mon April 27, 2015

In Texas, Questions About Prosecuting Truancy

Edgar Ramirez, 17, and his mother, Alma, appear before Judge Williams.
Elissa Nadworny/NPR

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 12:31 pm

As long as there have been schools and classes, there have been students who don't show up. And educators scratching their heads over what to do about it.

In most states, missing a lot of school means a trip to the principal's office. In Texas, parents and students are more likely to end up in front of a judge.

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