Education

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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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun April 26, 2015

Higher Ed: Turning Learning Upside Down

Credit Dawn Endico/flickr

We all know the traditional classroom drill: Go to class, listen to a lecture, take notes, go home, do the homework, come back to class, repeat. What if that model were reversed, and students heard the lecture information outside the classroom and spent class time wrestling with questions and ideas? In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss inquiry-based learning. Sounds dry? Not at all - listen on!

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Education
10:54 am
Fri April 24, 2015

New High School Graduation Plans Means More Work for Texas School Counselors

As a school counselor at East Side Memorial, Jennifer Mullins juggles between catering to the academic and personal needs of students. That responsibility has increased since the state passed HB 5.
Credit Sarah Jasmine Montgomery/KUT

KUT and our city hall reporting partner the Austin Monitor are looking at needs that have typically been paid for by the state, but have become local responsibilities. Some call them unfunded mandates. KUT News and the Austin Monitor will look at key examples of that interaction in our series, “The Buck Starts Here.”  Today, Tyler Whitson and Kate McGee take on education.

Jennifer Mullins is sitting in her office at Eastside Memorial High School when a staff member comes in and asks for a stress ball. There’s a student outside that needs help. Mullins walks out the door and immediately takes control. 

"Hey bud, hey! Stress ball! Just breathe," Mullins says.  The student was having a negative reaction to a medication.

Mullins is one of two school counselors at Eastside Memorial High School who handles both emotional and academic support. Every student there is labeled at-risk. Mullins says she spends half her time dealing with students' needs outside the classroom.

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Education
11:57 am
Mon April 20, 2015

Fenves Named Next President of UT Austin

University of Texas President Bill Powers speaks to Provost Gregory Fenves during a board of regents meeting on July 10, 2014.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: After more than three weeks as the sole finalist for the job, Gregory Fenves has been named the next president of the University of Texas at Austin. 

And this time, the current executive vice president and provost has been elevated without any dissent. The vote to hire him was 8-0 by the UT System Board of Regents. Regent Wallace Hall abstained from voting.

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Education
9:56 am
Mon April 20, 2015

Fried Food in School Cafeterias: 'It's About Freedom and Liberty,' Says Ag Commissioner

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller says a ban on deep fryers in school cafeterias goes against his philosophy of local control.
Sarah Jasmine Montgomery/KUT News

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller wants to end a decade-old ban on deep fried food in Texas public schools. 

Miller, who was elected last year, believes local school districts — not the state or federal government — should decide whether schools serve fried foods. He says the ban on deep fat fryers goes against his philosophy at the Department of Agriculture. 

“We’re about giving school districts freedom, liberty and individual responsibility," Miller says. "We’re all about local control and not big brother, big government control.” 

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun April 19, 2015

Higher Ed: Choosing a College

Credit Dawn Endico/flickr

What does Spring bring with it? The weather turns warmer. Flowers bloom. Taxes are due. And for students pursuing an education beyond high school, it's time to make a big decision: where to go to college. It can be a stressful but also exciting time in a student's academic career. In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how students can determine if a college is the right place to study.

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun April 12, 2015

Higher Ed: Creating New Knowledge

Dawn Endico/flickr

What does it take to do heavy duty research and generate new ideas in an academic field? A pile of degrees and years and years spent closed off in a room with noses to the grindstone? Not necessarily! In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore what it takes to create new knowledge and who is actually qualified to do that.

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Austin ISD
7:00 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Now a Charter School, Travis Heights Elementary Has More Autonomy, But Fewer Students

Travis Heights Elementary sits in a wealthy Austin neighborhood, but 76% of its students are economically disadvantaged. As housing in Austin becomes more expensive, Travis Heights is watching its own enrollment decline.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Enrollment at Travis Heights Elementary School has dropped by seventy students this year — about 13 percent of the student population. 

It's a uniquely diverse school in an increasingly economically segregated Austin Independent School District. 

The median home price in the neighborhood is $689,000, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. But last year, 76 percent of the students who attended Travis Heights were considered economically disadvantaged. 

As the school celebrates its 75th anniversary Saturday, parents, staff and alumni must also consider its future. As affordable housing complexes scattered around the neighborhood become more expensive, more low-income families are leaving Travis Heights for cheaper housing.

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Gender Divide
10:04 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Austin Single-Sex School Students Reunite for Etiquette Class

Gus Garcia Men's Leadership Academy hosts a Cotillion class for both boys and girls after school.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

There are girls on campus at Gus Garcia Young Men's Leadership Academy, and some of boys are trying to take advantage of that situation.

“He’s asking that girl out, and if she says no I’m going to laugh in his face," says sixth grader J.D. Gomez between bites of cookies and lemonade. "Me too!" says another student.

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Higher Ed: How Technology Impacts Learning

Brandon Patterson/flickr

Smartphone ownership in the United States is up to about 64% , according to data from the Pew Research Center. With all those smartphones in people's hands, we should be a lot smarter, right? How does technology impact the way we learn? In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore the relationship between technology and learning. We've come a long way from chalk and erasers; listen on to find out if that's been for the better or the worse.

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Education
2:12 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Debate Over Eanes ISD Bond Package Gets Heated

Former Eanes School Board Presidents, Al Cowan and Clint Sayers, pictured here at a 2014 vote.
KUT News

A press conference criticizing the $52 million bond package proposed by the Eanes Independent School District grew heated Tuesday after some Eanes school board members showed up, challenged the critics to a debate and accused them of spreading false information. 

Two former Eanes School Board Presidents, Al Cowan and Clint Sayers, organized the press conference. They run a group called Citizens for Academic Excellence in Eanes (CAEE). They say the bond package is borrowing money for unnecessary and "luxury" items and will only increase Eanes' budget problems. The school district is expecting a $5.4 million dollar budget gap next year. 

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Gender Divide
9:02 am
Mon March 30, 2015

For History Teachers, It's Not Always Easy to Get Students of Color to Connect with Curriculum

Candace Hunter teaches U.S. History at the Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy. She says the struggle to connect history with young students has less to do with race and more to do with socioeconomics.
Credit Filipa Rodrigues, KUT

James Brewster and Candace Hunter have tough jobs.

They teach U.S. history at the new single-sex middle schools in Northeast Austin: Gus Garcia Young Men's Leadership Academy and Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy. Both schools are located in low income neighborhoods with majority minority students.

Teaching students in low income neighborhoods brings its own set of challenges, but teaching social studies brings more difficulties. Many times their students have had little to no exposure to U.S. history before entering their classrooms.

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

Higher Ed: The Meaning and Nuance of Numbers

Credit creative commons

From pre-K and all the way through graduate studies in math, we learn about numbers. But think about it - what is a number, really? What does the concept of  "four" or a "million" of something actually mean? In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger try to define what numbers really are and how we make meaning of them. It's tougher than you might first think. Listen on to hear their attempt!

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Education
11:19 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Map: The Cost of Private Schools Under Two Different Voucher Bills

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

This week, the Texas Senate Education committee started to tackle multiple bills that would create school voucher programs. The proposals are strongly supported by conservative lawmakers, especially Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

One bill filed by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) would create a grant giving parents 60 percent of the annual cost for maintenance and operations per student, or about $5,200, through the proposed Taxpayer Savings Grant. Another bill would give 75 percent of that annual per-student funding to parents, or just over $6,500 though the so-called Education Tuition Grant.

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