Education

West Plant Explosion
12:54 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

West Schools Resume Classes After Fertilizer Plant Explosion

Students in West ISD are getting a small dose of 'normal' with the return to school.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Students at West Independent School District, in West, Texas, returned to school today for the first time since the fertilizer plant explosion that killed fourteen people and wounded about 200 others.

Counselors and therapy dogs are on hand to support students struggling to deal with the aftermath of the blast.

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Education
12:55 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

SBOE to Review CSCOPE (Update)

CSCOPE

Update: The Texas Education Agency reports the State Board of Education approved a resolution today supporting a review of CSCOPE material. Thirteen SBOE members voted in favor of the measure. Two abstained.

Some conservatives have argued  CSCOPE has an anti-American bias.

According to the TEA's website:

CSCOPE is a curriculum management system created by Texas Education Service Centers with assistance from content experts. It is now used in 875 public school districts, charter schools and private schools in Texas, which educate 34 percent of the state's total student population.

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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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