Education

Education
5:56 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Can You Opt Your Child Out of Texas Standardized Tests?

STAAR testing begins Monday, but some parents in Texas are choosing to keep their kids home as part of the growing Opt Out movement.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Standardized testing in Texas begins today and some parents across the state are choosing to opt their children out of the testing process.

Last week, a Waco family made news when they publicly told their school district they did not want their fourth grader taking the state tests because they were morally opposed to testing. 

Under state law, that's illegal. 

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Austin ISD
9:12 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Austin School Superintendent Carstarphen Leaving for Atlanta

AISD Supt. Carstarphen is leaving Austin ISD for Atlanta Public Schools.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has been named as the sole finalist for the superintendent job in Atlanta, Georgia.

She was chosen from a list of four candidates for the position.

Carstarphen came to Austin ISD in 2009. The district has faced significant challenges during her tenure, including $60 million in funding cuts after the 2011 Legislative session.

In a statement today, Carstarphen said Austin had risen to meet those challenges.

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Education
9:09 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Dallas Cowboy Teaches Pflugerville Kids About Healthy Breakfast

Dallas Cowboy George Selvie visited a Pflugerville elementary school Thursday to encourage students to eat a healthy breakfast.
Credit Lynn Romero for KUT News

Some kids in Pflugerville got a special, guest visitor today. George Selvie, Dallas Cowboys Defensive End, was at Ruth Barron Elementary Thursday morning encouraging kids to eat a healthy breakfast.

"It's important for us because, as in recent years, they're saying now kids are obese so having the opportunity with Fuel Up to Play 60 to come out here and talk to the kids, letting them know that eating healthy is great, you know their gonna try to go out there and do it," said Selvie.

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Education
6:48 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Texas Representatives Hear Update On HB 5 Implementation

State lawmakers gathered at the capitol Wednesday to discuss the implementation of HB 5, which changes graduation requirements for high school students. The law is expected to be fully in place by the next academic year.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

Lawmakers were at the Texas Capitol Wednesday talking about the implementation of House Bill 5, the bill that changes graduation requirements and reduces the number of end of course exams for high school students    The meeting gave lawmakers an opportunity to express concerns with the new standards, while teachers, superintendents and education officials gave a status update on implementation.

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Education
10:21 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Austin Student Designs Billboard for Youth Art Month

This billboard, off of Montopolis road, was designed by Bowie High School senior, Julia Lund. In celebration of Youth Art Month, AISD held an art contest in which the winner was allowed to design 10 billboards around Austin.
Sam Nicole Ortega for KUT News

Austin ISD is celebrating Youth Art Month with a student designed billboard scattered around the city. The district held a contest to select the design for ten billboards to promote a student art show.

Education
4:30 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Another Step in Texas Program Allowing School Marshals to Pack Guns

Law enforcement trainers are in San Marcos this week, learning how to teach the school marshal program.
flickr.com/smarterlam

The groups that will train Texans in the state's controversial school marshals program – allowing an undercover, armed staff member on school campuses – gathered in San Marcos today.

"You’re not going to see someone walking around looking like Joe SWAT, but a normal teacher," said Boake Slape, one of the 18 law enforcement trainers at the training facility. "You won’t even know. But if a problem is going to happen, they can respond much quicker than a police department or sheriff’s department can."  

 

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Education
1:27 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Interview: Dr. Clay Johnston on Innovations at Dell Medical School

Dr. Clay Johnston (center), speaking after being named inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School.
KUT News

The Dell Medical School at UT Austin is scheduled to open for classes in 2016. The man leading the school to that opening is newly appointed dean, Dr. Clay Johnston.

Johnston spoke with Texas Standard host David Brown about what needs to happen before classes begin – and more importantly, how the new medical school will break the mold for student education and patient care.

"We can't treat this as our one opportunity to change things," Johnston says. "The reality is that academia – at least in medicine – moves very, very slowly. So we want to create the structures, the culture, that allow us to continually move, to be nimble and move forward."

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Education
12:02 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

What You Need to Know About Central Texas School Bond Elections

Many Central Texas school districts are asking voters to approve millions of dollars in bonds for a variety of projects.
flickr.com/59937401@N07

What should you know about Central Texas schools this election season?  

In a word: Bonds.

Bond packages can be convoluted, making them easily misunderstood or overlooked. But bond elections have become an important source of income for area school districts as funds elsewhere shrink.

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UT-Austin
12:15 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

UT-Austin Approves Partnership to Build World's Largest Telescope

The Giant Megellan Telescope is an international project to build the largest telescope of its kind.
GMTO.org

Update: UT-Austin has received the green light to participate in the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope. When constructed, it will be the world's largest telescope. 

The UT System Board of Regents authorized UT-Austin to put $50 million of its research reserves toward the project, and allowed the university to raise an additional $50 million in donations. 

“Being a charter investor in this remarkable scientific tool will benefit our students, our faculty and the whole university,” UT-Austin President Bill Powers said in a statement Friday.“Not only will we be helping to answer the most basic questions about our universe, but our involvement will underscore our status as a top world university. This is the leading edge of science, and it is where Texas must be.”

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SXSWedu
9:11 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Why More Public Schools are Adopting the Montessori Model

Montessori education models have been around for more than a century, but experts say the charter school movement and other factors have made it more popular in public schools in the last decade.
flickr.com/chaimzvi

Disclosure: KUT is a sponsor of SXSWedu.

There are a lot of different opinions for how to educate children. Many are being discussed in Austin this week as part of the SXSWedu conference.

One method gaining popularity in public and charter schools is the Montessori model.

It’s an individualized, structured method in which children control their education with the help of a teacher, rather than a teacher standing in front of a classroom teaching everyone the same idea or subject.
This fall, a Montessori charter school opening up in East Austin is aiming to enroll low-income students.

But as public schools, they must adhere to state and federal standards, while staying true to their unique methods.

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Education
1:59 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

In Austin, College Board Announces Major SAT Changes

Texas Tribune

The SAT, a standardized test that for many students is an intimidating hurdle to clear en route to college admissions, is about to undergo a major redesign. Among the changes being announced by The College Board in Austin on Wednesday: The test will revert to a 1600-point scale, and the essay portion will be optional and scored separately.

According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 182,000 Texas public high school students took the SAT, the ACT (another test used in college admissions developed by ACT, Inc.) or both exams in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available. That total represents nearly 69 percent of all public high school graduates in Texas.

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SXSWedu
3:20 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

How Kendrick Lamar Can Teach Students About Beowulf

Sage Salvo is the creator of Words Liive, a curriculum program that uses hip hop to teach literature and poetry. He's pitching his program at SXSW Edu this week.
Courtesy of Words Liive

Disclosure: KUT is a sponsor of SXSW Edu

What do the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Jay-Z have in common?

A lot, argues Gilbert Perkins,who goes by his stage name: Sage Salvo.

Salvo is an artist and poet from Washington D.C., but he’s also developed a curriculum called Words Liive. It uses rap and hip-hop to teach major themes and devices in poetry and literature – everything from similes and metaphors to epic poems and motifs in novels. Salvo is pitching his curriculum in Austin this week for SXSWedu and stopped by KUT to talk about his curriculum.

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UT Austin
10:53 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

UT Austin to Sell Alcohol at Longhorn Athletic Games Starting Friday

UT Austin will start selling alcohol at Longhorn basketball, baseball and softball games, starting Friday, when Texas Softball hosts the Texas Invitational.
Dave Wilson Photography http://davewilsonphotography.com/

Update: UT Austin says it will start selling beer and wine at Red & Charline McCombs Field Friday when Texas Softball hosts the Texas Invitational. 

“This trial will be in effect this spring for all remaining men’s and women’s basketball, softball and baseball games, and the fan fest area at the Texas Relays,” said UT Men’s Athletics Director Steve Patterson in a statement released Thursday. “We could look into expanding it for other sports events next fall provided the outcome of the trial is positive.”

At the end of the 2014 spring sports season, UT officials, along with UT Police, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and UT Athletics concessionaire Sodexho Sports and Leisure, say they will evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the trial to see if alcohol will be served at other sporting events. 

The beer and wine trial will not include the spring football game on April 19 at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium.

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AISD
11:50 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Austin School Board Approves Three-Year Teacher Contracts

The Austin School Board is scheduled to vote Monday whether to go from one-year to three-year teacher contracts
Nathan Bernier, KUT News.

Update:  The Austin School Board voted to reinstate three-year contracts for teachers and principals in a five to four vote Monday night. At the same meeting, school district officials also proposed to to close a projected $32 million budget gap for Fiscal Year 2015. 

The decision to move to three-year contracts comes after the school district and teacher's union, Education Austin, came to an impasse over the issue last month. Austin ISD went from three to one year contracts in 2011, when the state legislature cut billions in public education funding, also forcing the district to lay off more than 1,000 employees.

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Turning The Corner
8:18 am
Fri February 21, 2014

This Dove Springs Librarian Tells Austin Students to 'Get Mad' and Demand an Education

For the past 11 years, Ivan Cervantes has served as the librarian at Mendez Middle School. He began a program that allows students to use computers and play learning-oriented games before school each morning.
Jon Shapley for KUT News

This article is part of KUT's year-long series called Turning the Corner, which takes a look at Austin's Dove Springs neighborhood. For decades, the neighborhood has had a negative reputation. Now, many community members are trying to change the perception of the 78744 zip code. Listen to those stories here.

In low-income neighborhoods around Austin, 87 percent of children entering kindergarten are considered unprepared for school, which means many of them lack basic literacy skills. At Mendez Middle School in Austin’s Dove Springs neighborhood, that struggle is obvious. Last year, less than half of Mendez sixth graders passed the state standardized test for reading. 

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