Education

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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Education
2:46 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Texas House Wants to Tackle School Finance During Session

Texas' school finance system, which a district court judge ruled is unconstitutional, is currently tangled up in the appeals process at the State Supreme Court.
Nathan Bernier/KUT

In a somewhat surprising move, the state House Public Education committee Chair announced Wednesday that the house will try to tackle the state’s school finance system this legislative session.

The school finance system, which a district court judge ruled is unconstitutional, is currently tangled up in the appeals process at the Texas Supreme Court. Many people familiar with education politics in Texas believed the legislature wouldn’t make any decisions before the court ruled. But at a press conference this morning, House Education Committee chair Jimmie Don Aycock said the state must act now.

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun March 22, 2015

Higher Ed: How to Understand Deeply and Make Meaning

Remember "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey," that spoof of affirmations and pithy sayings?  They're funny for sure, but the idea of understanding something deeply is a serious part of education during school and beyond. In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how to understand something deeply and how that impacts learning. Sound intimidating? Listen on - it's really not!

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun March 15, 2015

Higher Ed: Learning to 'Unlearn'

Credit creative commons

Learning.... it's what we all go to school for, right? Well, have you ever thought about what we're actually doing when we learn? Sometimes, it's just memorizing names, dates, or facts that we can reproduce on a test. We might ace the test, but have we really learned anything?

In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the important role "unlearning" plays in learning. What exactly is "unlearning?" Listen on to find out!

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Education
4:23 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Map: If the Voucher Bill Passes, How Much Would Travis County Private Schools Cost?

Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), who filed the school vouchers bill in the 2015 legislative session. The bill would allow students and their families to use state dollars to attend private schools.
Ryan Loyd/TPR

For the 61 percent of economically disadvantaged students who attend Austin Public Schools, private school tuition might seem impossible for their families to afford. Sometimes public school is the only option for parents or guardians, and they are forced to keep their children in schools that are struggling academically.

Some Republican state lawmakers say that shouldn’t be the case.

“Not just the wealthy who can send their children to private school, and not just those who have the mobility to move to the suburbs," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said at the beginning of the 2015 legislative session.  "But for parents in the inner cities where their children are trapped in failing schools, it is their right to have those same opportunities.”

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Higher Ed
3:35 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

Higher Ed: Happiness 101?

History, Biology, English, Calculus. Those are some of the more traditional subjects taught in classrooms.

But what if happiness were taught in school?

In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss teaching happiness in school. What would that look like in a classroom? And if it could be taught, should it be taught?

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Gender Divide
11:19 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Video: Single-Sex Classroom May Focus Students, But Does It Help Them Learn?

Julio Villaneda (left) and Dorothy Wiese (right) both teach math at single-sex public schools in Austin.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Do boys and girls learn differently?

Some single-sex supporters say yes, but not everyone agrees — not even those who work at the two new single-sex middle schools on Austin’s east side. 

But teachers at these schools do say there are positives to splitting the sexes.  

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Education
9:37 am
Tue March 3, 2015

#BeSomebody Speaker Draws Controversy at Austin High School

It all started with a high school assembly on the first day back from winter break. The guest speaker was the founder of an Austin-based company with a positive message about following your dreams. But what was supposed to be a motivational speech turned into a war of words between high school students and staff and Kash Shaikh, the founder of #BeSomebody, that played out on blogs and social media.

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