Education

Fisher vs. Texas
11:06 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Minority Students at UT Await Affirmative Action Ruling

UT-Austin continues to defend its use of race in admissions. Some beneficiaries of affirmative action fear what a strike to those policies could mean.
Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

Since 2008, the University of Texas has been ensnared in a legal battle  – Fisher vs. University of Texas at Austin – over its use of race in admissions.

The university says when it comes to deciding whether to accept or reject a student, race is considered as a factor within a factor. But once a student is accepted, what impact does diversity have on the students' learning on campus and in the classroom?

Read more
Online Learning
3:22 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Who Benefits From UT's Massive Open Online Courses?

Using edX to increase brand awareness and exposure for UT is a primary goal of the university’s foray into online courses.
flickr.com/utnapistim

This is the first of a two-part look at the University of Texas' Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), now halfway through their initial semester. Read Part One here.

So what it UT getting for its $5 million investment in edX? 

UT Psychology department chair James Pennebaker describes the money spent on edX as a "great investment." He isn't certain how education will look in the near future – but he said no one has that answer. 

"UT and any serious university has to be revolutionary in its thinking,” Pennebaker says. “We have to look forward to new technologies and teaching strategies.”

Read more
Online Learning
3:53 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Are UT's Massive Online Courses Making the Grade?

James Pennebaker and Sam Gosling prepare to stream their for-credit online course.
Roy Varney for KUT News

This is the first of a two-part look at the University of Texas' Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), now halfway through their initial semester.

The University of Texas’ grand entry into Massive Open Online Courses is underway. The courses, better known as MOOCs, are offered as free ways for the general public to access high quality education.

By any traditional college metric, UT's MOOCs, offered for the first time this fall, would be performing terribly: The majority of students who signed up have dropped out, there is no way to detect cheating, and the grading systems are automated. But halfway through the semester, education experts view UT's MOOCs as a success – and a necessity for building the future of its education network.

Read more
University of Texas
5:49 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Testimony Begins in Hearings on Possible Impeachment of UT Regent

Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, told lawmakers they have enough evidence to impeach embattled UT Regent Wallace Hall
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Lawmakers heard preliminary testimony in an inquiry that could lead to UT Regent Wallace Hall's impeachment. 

Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, told the Texas House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations today that there's enough evidence to impeach Hall and that the regent had unfairly used his power to target UT Austin and President Bill Powers. 

Education
3:11 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Here's What It's Like to Go to School in Northern Ghana

Nkrumah interviews school children in Northern Ghana for her story on education in the area. She won an award for her documentary on the issue.
Citi FM

Since early October, KUT has had the pleasure of hosting Lorrencia Nkrumah, a guest journalist from Ghana, where she covers business for Citi FM. She’s visiting as part of the International Center for Journalists program through the U.S. State Department.

During her stay, Nkrumah discovered she won an award through Search for Common Ground’s Radio for Peacebuilding Africa, and produced a 20 minute documentary about access to education in the northern part of Ghana. Listen below to KUT's Kate McGee talk with Nkrumah about her story.

Education
6:24 am
Mon October 21, 2013

UT College of Communication Receives $50 Million Donation, New Name

The University of Texas at Austin's College of Communication is now the Moody College of Communication.
KUT News

The College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin will soon have a new name – the Moody College of Communication.

The Moody Foundation is donating $50 million to the college, the largest donation in the college’s history.

The donation will be paid out over 10 years and will fund various initiatives, including a $10 million innovation fund and $13 million for graduate student recruitment and retention.

Money will also be used to build a sky bridge across Dean Keeton Street to link the Belo Center for New Media and the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center. UT will provide an extra $5 million to improve classroom space and facilities, which includes the sky bridge.

Read more
Education
3:00 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Can Schools Use Social Media to Prevent Teen Suicide?

A sign on a classroom door at Lanier High School, urging other students to seek counseling after a student shot and killed himself there this week.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Social Media sites have increasingly become a platform where teenagers turn to document their daily activities and thoughts—some which can be serious. Friends of the student who committed suicide at Lanier High School this week say he posted a note and a photo of himself with the weapon on Facebook before he committed suicide.

The student's tragic death comes as researchers from Brigham Young University have found young people with suicidal thoughts or behaviors may be using things like Twitter or Facebook to cry for help.

Read more
AISD
3:23 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

25 Counselors on Hand After Lanier High School Suicide (Update)

Classes resumed today at Lanier High School, after a student fatally shot himself there yesterday afternoon. More than 25 counselors were at the school for students and teachers still trying to cope with what happened.

All schools in Texas must have suicide prevention plans to help teachers and faculty identify and address suicidal behavior, says Karen Ranus of the Austin Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. These signs include changes in behavior, talking about death or a lack of motivation. But, she says, some people are afraid to address these issues openly.

Read more
Higher Education
12:26 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Bill Powers Talks UT Athletics, Budget and the Rise of Texas A&M

From left to right: UT-Austin President Bill Powers, UT spokesperson Gary Susswein and KUT’s David Brown in the KUT studios at the Belo Center for New Media.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

There are few venues in public life where money, sports, politics and policy combine with as much volatility as at a major public university. Given the sheer size of The University of Texas at Austin, President William Powers finds himself constantly in the news.

Powers sat down with KUT"s David Brown to talk about the future of the most lucrative collegiate athletic program in the country, the school's "thin" budget and potential job cuts that could reduce UT's workforce by 20 percent.

 

Read more
Borderlands
4:30 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Acclaimed Author Luis Alberto Urrea on Borders, Bias, and Breaking Down Barriers

Luis Alberto Urrea is speaking Tuesday, Oct. 15 at UT's College of Communication. His talk, “Universal Border: From Tijuana to the World” will begin at 7 p.m.
Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberto Urrea is one of the most distinguished writers in America.  Just don’t tell him that.  Urrea is refreshingly self-effacing when forced to talk about his status as an award-winning and best-selling author. He is perhaps best known for “The Devil’s Highway,” which won the Lannan Literary Award in 2004. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005.

 

Read more
Education
9:32 am
Tue October 15, 2013

As Social Media Evolves, So Do Austin Schools' Anti-Bullying Tactics

Austin school officials try to prevent cyberbullying – although they admit students may be more familiar with social media than many instructors.
KUT News

During the school day, teachers and administrators are in charge of student behavior on school property. But as the number of students with smart phones and on social media increases, so does the number of interactions between students beyond the schoolyard – which in some cases leads to cyberbullying.

In the Austin School District, teachers and faculty try to combat cyberbullying, while also educating students about their own digital footprint.

“We will see cases that involve students going back and forth: name calling, talking about other students," says Beverly Reeves, the AISD ombudsman who deals with cyber-bullying conflicts. This past legislative session, lawmakers allowed school districts to get involved in conflicts on social media when the result trickles back into the classroom.

Read more
Education
7:00 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

LISTEN: 'The Long Game' Takes In-Depth Look at Texas Textbook Battle

Tonight, KUT presents the world premiere of a new radio documentary, “The Long Game: Texas’ Ongoing Battle for the Direction of the Classroom.”

Produced by Trey Kay (producer of "The Great Textbook War," which was honored with Peabody, Murrow, and DuPont Awards), “The Long Game” delves into the culture war battles over public school curriculum content, which have ebbed and flowed in the Lone Star State for the past fifty years. Read more about the program.

Read more
Dyslexia Awareness Month
12:46 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Getting Texas Public Schools to Identify Dyslexia Proves Tough for Some

Ben Cooper, an Austin student who attends boarding school in New York for his dyslexia. He and his parents had trouble getting him services and classes in the Austin school district.
Courtesy of Robbi Cooper

When a student is diagnosed with dyslexia in Texas, state law requires school districts to provide accommodations and services to help that student.  But getting those services depends entirely on a whether a school district recognizes the student’s learning disability – which affects their ability to read, write or spell. And some parents say sometimes it’s hard to get services they need.

Read more
Education
12:06 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

At UT, Awareness of Transgender Students is Still a Work In Progress

Shane Whalley teaches over 100 workshops across UT campus about the issues transgender students face.
Roy Varney for KUT News

Over the last three years, nearly 100 colleges and universities across the nation have added non-discrimination policies that included protection for transgender students from harassment and bullying. 10 of those universities are in Texas. However, even with the increase in non-discrimination policies, there is still a lack of awareness and visibility for many transgender students.

Shane Whalley is the Senior Program Coordinator at the Gender and Sexuality Center in the University of Texas at Austin. Whalley first came to UT as a graduate student, and has seen a lot of changes that include the 2008 non-discrimination policy and the installation of 43 gender-neutral bathrooms across campus. Additionally, Whalley says that there have been changes to the way transgender people are viewed.

Read more
Marathon Kids
12:54 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

More than 30,000 Austin Students Are Trying to Log a Marathon's Worth of Runs

More than 30,000 Austin elementary students are participating in Marathon Kids, a 5-month mission to run a marathon’s length, piece by piece during recess at school.
Credit Kate McGee, KUT News

Thousands of elementary students in Central Texas have started a five-month mission to run a marathon – although not all at once.

It’s part of the annual program Marathon Kids. Over the weekend, students gathered on the University of Texas campus to log the first of many laps between now and February.

When Marathon Kids started more than 15 years ago, 2,000 Austin students joined. This year, more than 30,000 Austin ISD students are participating, not including students from nearby districts and private schools. Kids keep track of their runs until they add up to an entire marathon.

Read more
Dyslexia Awareness Month
10:44 am
Fri October 4, 2013

What It's Like to be a Dyslexic Student in Austin

Ben Shrader is a high school student in Austin with severe dyslexia. He created a video for National Dyslexia Awareness Month to shed light on the reading disorder.
Ben Shrader via YouTube

High school freshman Ben Shrader was in kindergarten when he realized he learned differently than other kids.

“I’d be pulled out of the class at nap time and at break time and those were the best times of day besides recess," he says jokingly. Instead of napping, Shrader received reading therapy to help his severe dyslexia, which made it extremely difficult to read. “It was also as if the letters were 3-D – as if you were wearing 3-D glasses and you were trying to read," Shrader remembers.

Read more
AISD Fascilities Master Plan
3:18 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

After Funding Failure, What's Next for Austin School Facilities Plan?

AISD's Facility Maps. The district approved Facility Master Plan guiding principles last night, and will now begin crafting the actual plan.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin School Board last night approved a set of principles to direct them as they begin to create a Facility Master Plan, a document that will guide the board’s decision making process as it deals with facilities across the city. The principles were approved with an emphasis on community engagement.

“We need to educate all our constituents about a topic that is quite complex. You’re dealing from safety to facility construction, to financial to communications to academics," says School Board President Vincent Torres.

Read more
Education
3:18 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Update: Austin Public Montessori School Gets Charter License

Update: The Texas Education Commission granted a charter school license to the Magnolia Montessori school, which means Austin will have its first public Montessori school option next academic year on the city's east side. The Montessori school plans to open a second charter school in San Antonio in 2016.

Commissioner Michael Williams announced his decision to grant four charter school licenses Friday. They include three other schools outside of Austin, including Carpe Diem Schools, El Paso Leadership Academy and Great Hearts Academies Dallas.

Read more
Turning The Corner
7:29 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Teachers, Non-Profits Key to Helping Middle School Students in Dove Springs

Leonor Vargas is the director of the Mendez Family Resource Center, which provides services to high needs students and families. She says teachers help the center identify students who need help.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

In Austin’s Dove Springs neighborhood, it’s no secret: the middle school there – Mendez Middle School – has challenges. Before last year, Mendez was rated academically unacceptable and faced the struggles found in many low income schools: low test scores, little parental involvement, and chronic absenteeism.

In many cases, the burden of maintaining order at Mendez falls on the shoulders of teachers. Many start their day corralling kids inside the building and greeting them at the front door.

Read more
Sex Education
4:01 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

What's Next for Austin's Sex Ed Program Targeting Teen Pregnancy?

After a steady increase in students becoming pregnant in AISD, the district partnered with Lifeworks and Planned Parenthood to implement programs in middle and high schools to curb pregnancy. Halfway through, pregnancies in the district are down 21%.
Janine, flickr.com

Between 2005 and 2010, Austin school district saw the number of pregnant students in the district steadily increase. By the end of the 2009 school year, the district identified 400 students who were pregnant or who were already parents. (The district doesn't separate whether or not the student parents are male or female.)

In 2010, AISD partnered with Planned Parenthood and the non-profit Lifeworks to implement a program aimed at preventing teen pregnancy in middle and high schools. 

Read more

Pages