Education

Education
2:16 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Coming Soon: Standardized Tests for College Students, Universities?

A UT student does some reading. A Texas Senate bill would require academic assessments for college students.
KUT News

Some Texas lawmakers are looking to create an academic assessment tool to measure and compare the teaching abilities of the state’s public universities.

Today, members of the Senate Committee for Higher Education took up SB 436. The bill would make it a requirement for Texas universities to issue students a learning assessment before the first day of class, and during the last semester before graduation. The assessment would act as a tool to monitor student growth.

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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

Listen to the story as it aired on KUT 90.5.

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.  

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Education
4:32 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Education Committee Clarifies Voucher Bill, Sends to Full Senate

Sen. Dan Patrick, who wrote SB 23. It now heads to the full Senate for a possible floor debate.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Senate Education Committee Thursday approved a bill from Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, that creates a scholarship fund to help low-income students leave failing schools and attend private or religiously-affiliated schools.

The bill offers a 15 percent tax credit to businesses that donate money to the scholarship fund.

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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. 

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2013 Legislative Session
2:46 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Texas Senate Considers School 'Voucher' Bills, Despite House Ban (Update)

State Sen. Patrick's bill does not involve funds that would go to the Texas Education Agency.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

UPDATE 5:59 The Senate Committee on Education heard SB 1575 this afternoon from educators and parents supporting the so-called voucher program that would give parents money to move their children from public to private schools. 

The bill’s author Senator Donna Campbell of New Braunfels said that parents and students should have a choice in schooling and claim that failing public schools set back children across the state.

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Austin
7:28 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Classes Resume at McNeil, Boil Water Notice Remains in Place (Update)

A main break has caused McNeil HS and surrounding areas to be on a water boil alert.
flickr.com/kellinahandbasket

Update: Classes resume today at McNeil High School in the Round Rock Independent School District. But students and staff won’t be able to use drinking fountains.

That’s because the area around the school remains under a boil water notice as Austin Water Utility is making repairs to a broken water main.

Classes at McNeil were canceled yesterday because water was shut off to the school. Water is now back up and running – but it’s not safe to drink.

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Education
11:56 am
Mon April 1, 2013

A Closer Look at Austin's English Language Learners

AISD's dual language program comes at a cost, but educators say it helps English learners and native speakers alike in learning the ropes.
flickr.com/cryptic_star

AISD heads spending in bilingual/ESL program

About 850,000 students in Texas are English language learners. That’s one in every six students, and their numbers are growing fast.

Last year, the State of Texas spent an average of $234 per English learning student.  By contrast, the Austin school district spent nearly $1,300 dollars per English learning student. That's five times the state average.

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Education
7:45 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Austin Community College to Break Ground at Highland Mall

Rendering of ACC Highland, phase I.
Elizabeth Day (courtesy BGK Architects)

Austin Community College is breaking ground today at a vacant JCPenney store in Highland Mall. The store will be converted into a learning environment for ACC.

"This is a really big day for ACC as well as the surrounding neighborhood and in fact all of the communities that we serve," ACC spokesperson Alexis Patterson said. "It’s great for the area. It brings new life, new people coming to the mall. And the mall’s still in operation, so we’re excited about the boost this is going to give to the mall as a whole.”

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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.

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Education
5:07 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Should School Ratings Take At-Risk Students Into Account?

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte wants schools with lots of former dropouts to get extra credit.
KUT News

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) reports that less than 85 percent of the students in the class of 2010 graduated. At a hearing Thursday in the Texas Senate, lawmakers heard the case for better tracking students who end up back in school.

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, a member of the Senate Public Education Committee, told members that even though high school graduation rates in Texas are improving, some schools aren’t getting credit for their part in those improvements. She was talking about schools that enroll dropouts and give students a high school diploma if they earn their credits and meet the requirements.

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Education
7:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

New AISD Elementary School Named After Former Teacher

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: The new elementary school being built in north Austin now has a name: Dr. Janis Guerrero Thompson Elementary. The Austin Independent School District Board voted last night to approve the name.

Dr. Guerrero Thompson was a native Austinite who taught high school in AISD and later worked as the district’s Executive Director for Planning and Community Relations.

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83rd Texas Legislature
12:55 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Senate Panel Approves More Money for Public Schools

August 29th Senate Committee on Finance with newly appointed Chair Sen. Tommy Williams R-The Woodlands.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera via Texas Tribune

A panel of senators voted to put $1.5 billion in additional funding for public education in the two-year state budget on Thursday — including $40 million for pre-kindergarten programs, $20 million for the state's Virtual School Network and $4 million to support Teach for America.

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Education
6:10 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Carstarphen: Not Clear What's Next for Eastside

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen is dealing with the troubled Eastside Memorial High School.
KUT News

A high school on Austin’s east side is once again facing the possibility of state closure. Eastside Memorial High has received the state stamp of academically unacceptable since 2004. In 2008 it was closed and reopened with a new name -- it used to be Johnston High School.

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Education
6:00 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Jeb Bush Pushes Education Policies

The Legislature is considering approaches to education.
Lizzie Chen, KUT News

One of the biggest Republican stars in the country provided some advice on overhauling public education to the state Senate today. 

“I would advocate that when you have a chance to reform, it ought to be big,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told the Senate Education Committee. “You ought to go big or go home.”

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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.”

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The Lead
8:54 am
Wed February 27, 2013

The Lead: Earth, Wind (Damage) and Fire (Bans)

Austin's in for a mild day, but areas to the south are under a Red Flag warning.
National Weather Service

Good morning! Austin’s in for a sunny, dry and breezy day with a high in the mid 60s, according to the National Weather Service. No Red Flag warning for Austin today (signaling fire danger from high winds), but San Antonio and counties to the south are under a warning all day. Read more below about area burn bans.

Lead Story: Many Central Texans are still picking up after Monday's high winds. Gusts topping 50 miles an hour toppled fences and tore shingles from roofs.

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Education
10:13 am
Mon February 25, 2013

The Veterinary Clinic Inside an Austin High School

A matted puppy gets some relief from high school seniors at Akins new Pet Clinic.
Joy Diaz, KUT News

Story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM

With so many care options for the four-legged family members, how do you determine where to take yours for a check-up? There are high-end pet spas, plain vet clinics and everything in between. And still, there is a new player in the nearly saturated market.

One of the dogs at this clinic is Frida. She is blonde, tall and beautiful. But, according to her doctor’s report delivered by Mr. John, Frida has some weight problems. 

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Education
4:30 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

'Save Texas Schools' March Heads to Capitol Saturday Morning

The group plans to march to the capitol on Saturday.
savetxschools.org/photo-gallery

"Save Texas Schools" will march to the Texas State Capitol tomorrow morning. The group hopes to encourage Texas lawmakers to support public education by restoring funding cut from Texas schools last legislative session.

The march will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Congress Avenue and Riverside Drive. The group will march north on Congress to the capitol.

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Education
5:24 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Ed Commissioner Answers Eastside Memorial's Call - But Threat of Closure Remains

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams visited with students at Eastside Memorial High School.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Last week, students at Eastside Memorial High School delivered a letter inviting the state’s top education administrator for a visit to hear how the threat of the school’s closure for poor academic performance affected them. It was a long shot, but yesterday Michael Williams spent almost two hours at Eastside Memorial. Students welcomed his visit, but the threat of closure remains.

As Williams’ visit approached, school administrators darted through the impeccable hallways shooting instructions to each other over walkie-talkies. Some students wore ties and sported fresh haircuts.

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Education
4:07 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Barbara Cargill Named New State Board of Education Chair

Barbara Cargill is the first board leader confirmed since 2005.
Caleb Bryant Miller, Texas Tribune

For the first time since 2005, the Texas Senate has confirmed someone to serve a full term as head of the State Board of Education. Barbara Cargill, a Republican from The Woodlands, was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2011.

Cargill has supported a measure that requires students to question evolution. State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, says Cargill reassured him that she would not allow her religious conservatism to interfere with her leadership of the board.

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