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.

Fernando Aguilar has five kids and named his only son after his hero, Isaac Newton.

"I looked up to him and so does my son, and hopefully one day we can make contributions to society like he did," says Aguilar.

Isaac's in third grade at Herrera Elementary School in Houston. Aguilar thinks his 8-year-old is a smarty, just like the famous physicist: "I think he's going to be a lot smarter than I am."

But when the local school tested Isaac in kindergarten for the gifted and talented program, he didn't qualify.

Image via Flickr/Ashraf Saleh (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

It seems that every year, we hear how college is becoming more and more expensive.

Have you ever heard anyone talk about "getting through" a class or "knocking out" course requirements? What exactly is the point of a "formal" education - just to get a degree, or set a course for lifelong learning?

KUT News

About one in five female undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin experienced some type of sexual assault or misconduct while in college, according to a newly released survey by the Association of American Universities

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.

Twitter/Ahmed Mohammed

Ahmed Mohamed is a 14-year-old who loves tinkering with electronics. On Monday, he brought a homemade clock to school. After he showed it to a few of his teachers, the clock was confiscated. Ahmed was then questioned by police and taken to a juvenile detention facility in handcuffs – accused of making a hoax bomb. He was wearing his NASA t-shirt at the time he was arrested.

Four public schools in North Austin have received a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the federal government to implement a full community school model on their campuses. Austin ISD is expected to announce the grant later this morning. 

The four schools are Lanier High School, Burnet Middle School, Cook Elementary and Wooldridge Elementary. 

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.

Joy Diaz/KUT News

A creative writing competition for English- and Spanish-speaking children is accepting submissions through Thursday.

It's the second year the Austin-based non-profit Voces Latinas has sponsored the event. The group says last year's competition was an experiment of sorts, but its success made the group want to do it annually.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

To understand the challenges many college-bound students face, KUT’s Kate McGee followed three students this summer as they graduated high school and prepared for college. She tracked their progress on a Tumblr site, The Months Between.

Confederate Group Pushes to Save Jefferson Davis Statue

Sep 7, 2015
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: A statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis may have been removed from the south mall of the University of Texas at Austin, but the Sons of Confederate Veterans isn't giving up its fight to save it. 

Todd Wiseman, Damian Gadal, Robert Couse-Baker/Texas Tribune

The system Texas uses to pay for public schools was back in court today, and lawyers on both sides argued over whether the system is constitutional. It's an argument that's been going on for more than thirty years.

This particular case started in 2011, when the state legislature cut more than $5 billion from public education. Two-thirds of Texas school districts sued the state, arguing the cuts made it impossible to meet state academic standards. They won in a lower court. But today, the case was argued in the state Supreme Court.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

A $37 million program to reduce childhood obesity in Texas didn’t actually achieve any of its desired results, according to a new study from the University of Texas

The Texas Fitness Now program gave grants to the state’s poorest middle schools from 2007 to 2011, when the program ended due to budget cuts.

Housing Works via YouTube

The new school year starts today for thousands of students across Austin, but a growing number of students in Austin public schools don’t have a home. Last year, more than 2,600 students in the Austin Independent School District were counted as homeless, which is up from just over 2,000 in 2012.

Andrew Weber/KUT News

Most students in the Austin Independent School District returning to school today are minorities, but many of those students won’t see a minority teacher in front of the classroom. State data show there's a large diversity gap between teachers and students in all Austin high schools and middle schools.

Every single Austin middle and high school has more white teachers than teachers of any other ethnicity. Individually, schools have teaching staffs that are anywhere from 46 to 87 percent white. Last year, 25 percent of the district's middle and high school students were white. 

This summer, KUT is revisiting episodes of the podcast "Higher Ed." This episode was originally posted on April 5, 2015.

Each week, KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Dr. Ed Burger, President of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, about higher education, lifelong learning, and exercising the brain. This week, Ed and Jennifer put away their smartphones and tablets for a few minutes to talk about the relationship between technology and learning. It seems like technology has made it easier to access more information more quickly. That's good, right? But can all that hardware, software, and information be more distraction than enrichment? Listen on to find out.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson/Texas Tribune

University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves announced Thursday morning that the school would move a statue of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis from the Main Mall to the Briscoe Center for American History. University students and community members had been protesting the Davis statue's location on the Main Mall of the campus because of his prominent historical status as President of the Confederacy.

Earlier this summer Fenves convened a committee of students and faculty to determine options for relocating or removing the Davis statue, along with several other statues of Confederate figures. The report released by the committee outlined five options, most of which advocated relocating the statues.

Flickr/cleopold73 (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Just in time for the start of school, The New York Times reports that there’s a shortage of teachers. Across the country, school districts have gone from refusing to renew contracts to scrambling to hire teachers. This shortage is seen particularly in math, science and special education, and it's a result of the layoffs from the recession years, as well as an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.

The issue is so critical that some systems are allowing new hires to train on the job and bringing in people who are still finishing their teaching credentials. According to the Times, the situation is most critical in Louisville, Nashville, Oklahoma City and Providence. However, Texas also fares low.

This summer, KUT is revisiting episodes of the podcast "Higher Ed." This episode was originally posted on March 29, 2015.

Each week, KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Dr. Ed Burger, President of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, about higher education, lifelong learning, and exercising the brain. This week, Ed and Jennifer talk about a subject that we think we understand - numbers. But the concept of a number is really pretty nuanced. And humans aren't the only species that uses the concept of numbers. Listen on to find out more. 

Charlotte Carpenter

Back-to-school shopping is not for the faint of heart.

To the uninitiated, it may seem like total madness.

But, really, it's family time: parents read school lists out loud while children run around in search of items. It's also a time children in foster care rarely experience, but, for the first time, a non-profit is trying to provide children in foster care with a similar experience.