Education

Education
5:47 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Are Schools Investing in Education Technology Properly?

A new study finds states aren't studying the return on investment of education technology, as Eanes ISD hosts iPadpalooza this week.
flickingerbrad/flickr

This week the Eanes School District is holding a conference called iPadpalooza.

Every child in the district has an iPad and schools want to find ways to use them better.

The conference comes as the Center for American Progress released a study that says states don’t know how much investments like these in education technology are actually helping students. 

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Education
9:35 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Why Passing the STAAR Exam Will Get Tougher, Starting Next Year

STAAR Test results released last week show small gains. But as students get used to the test, standards for grading are changing.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

STAAR test results released last week show minimal gains compared to 2012. It was the second year students took the new standardized tests, which teachers and administrators say are more rigorous. 

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Education
5:36 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Westlake Graduate Honored in DC as Presidential Scholar

Keyur Mehta with former Westlake High School Principal Linda Rawlings.
Eanes ISD

Listen to the interview as it aired on KUT 90.5.

Less than one percent of high school seniors across the country are named National Merit Scholars. Less than one-tenth of one percent of students who take the ACT, score a perfect 36. And just four high school seniors from Texas were recognized as Presidential Scholars on Sunday.

Keyur Mehta – a recent Westlake grad – has earned all of these honors and more. He stopped by KUT before his trip to Washington, D.C.

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Medical School
4:01 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Now Hiring: Inaugural Dean for UT's New Medical School

UT is launching a speedy search for a med school dean.
flickr.com/bigbirdz

Calling all big shots: University of Texas administrators have begun the search for the inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School, hoping to fill the office by early next year.

UT released a 21-page document Monday detailing the necessary qualifications for applicants. The document describes the ideal candidate as an inspiring “leader among leaders,” comfortable with serving in the public eye and representing the school to local media and community leaders.

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Education
8:28 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Some Austin Schools Respond to Increasing Asian Population

AISD is using dual language as one way to address the increasing number of Asian students
AISD

The City of Austin estimates Asians and Asian-Americans will exceed the number of African-Americans in the city over next several years, based on new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau

Overall, the school district reaches out to non-English speaking parents and students by providing translators and handouts printed in multiple languages.

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Education
6:33 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Austin Schools Respond to Asian Influx

More students in Austin are speaking Vietnamese and Korean, among other languages.
KUT News

Asians and Asian-Americans will outnumber African-Americans in Austin over next several years, according to city estimates based on new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Austin Independent School District, where students speak 86 languages, is working to accommodate changing demographics.

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Education
6:00 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Central Texas Schools Fight 'Summer Melt'

Barely two-thirds of high school grads in Texas who want to go to college actually make it there.
Jeff Heimsath, KUT News

For many students, that summer between high school graduation and the first year of college is one of anticipation and excitement.

But for others, it can present roadblocks that can lead students to not attend college in the fall. 

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AISD Portable Classrooms
6:54 am
Wed June 12, 2013

What is AISD's Future Plan for Portable Classrooms?

AISD Portable Classroom at Murchison Middle School.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

For at least fifty years, the Austin Independent School District has used portable classrooms as a way to relieve overcrowding. Yesterday, KUT reported more than half of the nearly 650 portables are over 25 years old – some are more than 50 years old. Many teachers and parents say portables conditions are poor.

But what – if anything – can the school district can do about it? 

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Education
5:26 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

HB 5 Passes, but Number of High-Stakes Tests? Still High

Rune Mathisen, Texas Tribune

When Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 5 this week, it signaled that the waves of complaints from parents opposed to high stakes testing, had caught hold. But one irony is that most people — even most journalists — still don’t know the actual  number of test students take.

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Education
4:56 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Study: Students Miss School Mostly Due to Illness

Susan Dawson spoke to 150 educators at a summit, Missing School Matters: Why Students Are Absent in Central Texas
Ann Choi KUT News

A study shows Central Texas students miss more school mostly because of illness. This study, done by a non-profit research group, E3 Alliance, surveyed nine schools in Austin area since 2011. 

The group argues that schools should track the reasons why students miss school. All Texas schools are required to record students' attendance to receive state reimbursement, but they are not mandated to document the specific reasons for the absence.  Excessive absences could especially affect Central Texas because the study indicates that students in this area missed more school days than the state average.

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Education
8:19 am
Tue June 11, 2013

AISD STAAR Scores Inch Up – Still Well Below Future Standards

A sample question on a STAAR test.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Independent School District saw minimal gains on this year’s STAAR tests compared to last year.

Reading, math, science and social studies passage rates each increased by three percentage points from the previous year. Students showed the best results in reading with 79 percent passing in all demographics – including racial minorities and the economically disadvantaged.

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AISD Portable Classrooms
6:22 am
Tue June 11, 2013

60 Percent of AISD's Portable Classrooms At Least 25 Years Old

Some of the portable classrooms at Doss Elementary School.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

This past school year, more than 86,000 students in the Austin Independent School District woke up and went to class each day. For a growing number of those children, their learning is happening inside portable classrooms. 

AISD has almost 650 portable classrooms. The district bought most of them in the 1980's and 1990's. But dozens were purchased before that – some as early as 1952. Many teachers and parents say time is taking its toll on what was supposed to be a temporary solution to deal with overcrowding. 

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Education
4:02 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Now That 'Ink's Dry' on HB 5, Future of Texas Education Bill Secured

Gov. Rick Perry shakes hands with Senate Education Chair Dan Patrick as State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, author of House Bill 5, laughs in the center on June 10, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Speculation over a major overhaul of public education in Texas ended today when Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 5. 

The measure drops required standardized exams, known as the STAAR tests, from 15 to 5.

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Education
7:05 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Last Day of School Means No More Students at Allan Elementary Campus

Allan Elementary will be empty next school year as the IDEA charter school moves out of the district.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Today is the first day of summer vacation, as the public school year came to a close yesterday in Austin. For students at IDEA Allan Elementary School, a charter school run by IDEA Public Schools, it was the last day of school at that campus. They’ll be leaving behind an empty building and taking with them millions of dollars of future district revenue.

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Education
7:47 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

TEA Commissioner: Eastside Memorial Can Remain Open

Texas Education Commission Michael Williams visiting Eastside Memorial High School earlier this year.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The state's top education official has approved a plan by Austin Independent School District that will allow Eastside Memorial High School to remain open. The campus had faced closure after years of failing to meet the state's academic benchmarks and after the Austin school board voted to discontinue a contract it had with the South Texas-based charter school operator IDEA that aimed to reverse sagging outcomes. 

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams made the announcement Wednesday evening at a commencement ceremony for the 129 graduating seniors at Eastside Memorial.

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Education
1:35 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

More Hearings Possible in Texas School Funding Case

Judge John Dietz. He ruled the Texas School Funding system is unconstitutional.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

District Court Judge John Dietz said this morning he will hold a hearing to consider reopening the  Texas School Finance case to weigh the impacts of  changes made to education during the most recent legislative session. 

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Education
11:42 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Ann Richards HS Grad Raises Funds for a Path to Citizenship

Ann Richards School graduate, and former KUT News intern, Ana González is helping undocumented students continue their education.
Courtesy of The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

The first graduating class at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders receives their diplomas this Saturday.

Among the graduates is 17-year-old Ana González, who was the subject of an Austin American-Statesman story profiling the school’s first grads.

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Education
11:00 am
Wed June 5, 2013

AISD Likely to Put Domestic Partner Benefits on Hold

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

AISD says it will likely not grant health benefits to domestic partners of employees. The school district will wait until a federal court decides on the issue.

This is after AISD announced in March it would extend health benefits to domestic partners, which includes same sex and unmarried couples.

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Education
7:01 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Officials: Restored State Education Cuts Won't Help AISD

AISD's 2014 Budget is expected to have a $30 million dollar shortfall and the public education cuts restored by the 2013 legislature aren't expected to help close the gap. The district expects to use reserves to make up the difference.
KUT News

AISD's Chief Finance Officer, Nicole Conley, presented a revised proposed $879 million  budget for the next fiscal year Monday night.

She said although Texas public schools may be getting $3.9 billion dollars restored from the $5.4 billion state lawmakers cut in 2011, AISD isn’t expecting much of a benefit locally from the partial funding restoration. 

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Education
8:12 am
Tue June 4, 2013

AISD Trustees Approve Plan for Eastside Vertical Team

TEA Commissioner Williams is expected to make a decision soon on whether to accept the district's proposal.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The Austin Independent School District Board approved a plan last night for the elementary and middle schools that feed into Eastside Memorial High.

Eastside hasn’t been meeting academic standards and could be shut down. In an effort to keep it open, the board approved a partnership with Johns Hopkins last month.  But that program’s plan didn’t include an outline of what should happen at feeder schools.

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