Austin ISD, the University of Texas, Austin Community College, Texas A&M University, charter schools, legislative issues, and anything else related to K-12, public education, higher education and workforce development in Central Texas, Travis County, and Austin.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

It’s the end of the school day at the Not Your Ordinary School in North Austin and students in Melissa Hefner’s fourth grade class are sitting in a circle.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

The State Board of Education is hearing public comment today about a controversial Mexican American studies textbook. It was the only Mexican American studies textbook submitted for review to the board this year.

Qiling Wang for KUT

As one of the first black students to attend the University of Texas at Austin, Charles Miles faced a circumscribed life. It was 1956, and there were many places he and other blacks were not allowed to go. So when the pastor of a nearby church announced that blacks were welcome there, Miles and his friends saw no reason to not attend. 

Sean K. Harp via Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: In an impassioned memo sent three days after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ignited national controversy by refusing to stand for the national anthem before a football game, University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven urged his athletes not to repeat the gesture of protest. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

It was a muggy morning on the Long Center Terrance in downtown Austin. Central Texas school superintendents and their staffs fanned themselves as they listened to a local student mariachi band play.

But these education leaders weren’t there to just hear the music. They were there to address a major issue in Central Texas schools: student attendance.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Austin School Board Vice President Paul Saldaña says people describe Austin ISD as really two districts, split into east and west by I-35 – a wealthy western district and a poorer one east of it.

Note: This "Best of Higher Ed" episode was originally released on December 20, 2015.

Doubt. It can make us question some of our deeply-held beliefs. But is that necessarily a bad thing? In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the value that doubt can have for our learning and education.

Jon Shapley for KUT

For many students trying to earn college credit in high school, choosing to take an Advanced Placement course or a dual credit course often comes down to personal preference.

In the blink of a few thousand likes and shares, Texas teacher Brandy Young's homework policy gained the viral notoriety normally reserved for tip-shaming.

Earlier this month, Young informed parents of her Godley Elementary second-graders of her policy for the year: no homework.

Audrey McGlinchy / KUT

At some schools in Austin ISD, most students who take Advanced Placement tests fail those exams. But students at the same schools are passing dual credit classes, college courses taught through Austin Community College. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

LBJ Early College High School and the Liberal Arts and Science Academy share the same building in the Austin Independent School District. But the schools have different philosophies when it comes to how their students should pursue college credits in high school. 

Qiling Wang for The Texas Tribune


From the Texas Tribune: Students, alumni and spectators eagerly snatched up more than 4,500 donated dildos Tuesday evening at the University of Texas at Austin, preparing to assuage their frustration over a new state law allowing handguns to be carried on public university campuses.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Austin ISD offers Advanced Placement courses and tests at all of its schools, but the percentage of students who score high enough on the AP tests to receive college credit varies from campus to campus. 


Judge Lee Yeakel, a federal district judge in Austin, has declined to issue a temporary injunction on the campus carry law. The request for the injunction came in a lawsuit brought by UT Austin professors Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter.

Note: This "Best of Higher Ed" episode was originally released on September 20, 2015.

What happens when you mix together liberal arts and democracy and then throw in a little media coverage? You get a fascinating discussion about the intersection of those three storied institutions.

US Army Corps of Engineers/flickr

Not everyone can get vaccinated. Some people are allergic to vaccines, others are receiving treatment for diseases like cancer, and some people are just too young. But doctors and state health authorities require public school students to be vaccinated—unless their parent signs a waiver exempting them from immunizations. The number of those exemptions is rising in Texas.

Nathan Bernier/KUT

South Austin residents hoping Austin ISD will open a public magnet school in their neighborhood, similar to the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, may be waiting a while. This week’s school board meeting revealed just how far away the district is from making a decision. 

The number of school districts in Texas that did not meet state standards in 2016 rose slightly over 2015, though almost 94 percent of districts statewide did pass.

1,131 districts met the standards, while 66 failed. At the individual school level, 7,667 campuses met the 2016 standards, which is a small improvement over last year.

As the Texas Tribune notes:

Charlotte Carpenter / KUT

Oliver Hill, 81, grew up in segregated San Antonio. He graduated in 1952 from the all-black Phillis Wheatley High School, named for the famous poet who was brought to America as a slave. When Robert E. Lee High School opened across town in 1958 honoring the Confederate general, Hill viewed the name as a deliberate reminder to black San Antonians that the city did not belong to them.

Note: This "Best of Higher Ed" episode was originally released on September 13, 2015.

Have you ever heard of a "value study" in art? It's a way to make a quick sketch of whatever you see and then fill it in with shades of gray. It leaves out detail in favor of broader strokes that capture the essence of the subject. Could this also be a way to tackle a new intellectual endeavor? In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher EdKUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger translate this art technique to learning.