Education

Education
6:52 am
Thu April 11, 2013

UT Regents to Hold Special Meeting Thursday (Update)

The UT Board of Regents could vote Thursday on a variety of issues regarding the board's power and relationship with Texas lawmakers.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Update: UT's Board of Regents is scheduled to meet this morning to consider whether to release investigative records to the Texas Legislature.

Texas lawmakers have been requesting the release of emails and other documents in a public standoff raising tension between the Capitol and the regents. 

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Education
5:11 am
Thu April 11, 2013

After IDEA, an Unknown Future for East Austin’s Allan Elementary (Updated)

Allan Elementary could be empty this school year after AISD ended its contract with IDEA, the charter school that ran Allan.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: IDEA public schools says in the fall it will open its charter school—currently operated at Allan elementary—at The Church in Austin, located at 220 Foremost Dr. IDEA had to find a new location after the Austin Independent School District terminated its contract with the charter program in December.

The decision to break the agreement with IDEA could result in an empty Allan Elementary building this fall. There are some short and long term options for the school building, but mostly a lot of unknowns. 

Original Story (April 10, 2013, 7:41 p.m.): Last spring, the Austin Independent School District contracted with a charter school – IDEA Public Schools  – to run Allan Elementary. 

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Education
3:25 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

AISD Map Breaks Down Bond Package Money by School

AISD has created an interactive map detailing where the $892M bond package will go.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin School District's 2013 bond proposal is a $892 million package consisting of four bond propositions. The projects range from more security and technology in schools and basic repairs to the construction of new schools and additional classrooms. 

AISD has created an interactive map breaking down how much money and what projects are proposed for a majority of schools in the district. 

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Education
2:34 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Zaffirini Bill Would Clarify Open Records Obligations

Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, on opening day of the 83rd legislative session, Jan. 8, 2013.
Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, filed a bill on Monday to clarify the open records obligations of state agencies, including — some would say specifically — the University of Texas System.

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Education
11:13 am
Tue April 9, 2013

AISD Teacher Accused of Aggravated Sexual Assault (Update)

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update:  Austin school district police say John Joseph Vasquez, a Blazier Elementary school teacher, was arrested Monday for alleged aggravated sexual assault and improper relationship between an educator and a student.

On April 1, the parent of a former AISD student contacted district police alleging the student had been assaulted as a first grader from January to March of 2011. District police conducted a forensic interview with the child, who did not wish to be identified. Police also conducted a short interview with the suspect. District Police Chief Eric Mendez says there may have been multiple incidences, but the investigation is still ongoing. Mendez says there is no reason to believe there are other victims. 

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Education
2:58 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

A&M "Religious Funding" Bill Vetoed

http://www.flickr.com/photos/-marlith-/

A bill passed in the Texas A&M student senate died Friday after the university faced public criticism.

Texas A&M student body president John Claybrook vetoed the "Religious Funding Exemption Bill,” which would have allowed students to opt-out of funding the campus’ Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Resource Center.

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Education
10:00 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Interactive Map: A Closer Look at Austin's English Language Learners

Check out the interactive version of this map, below.
Map Data @2013 Google

About 850,000 students in Texas are English language learners. That’s one in every six students, and their numbers are growing fast.

Last year, the State of Texas spent an average of $234 per English learning student.  By contrast, the Austin school district spent nearly $1,300 dollars per English learning student. That's five times the state average.

The maps below show the geographic distribution of the multilingual population of Austin ISD Area, by percent, as compared to Student Enrollment in AISD Bilingual or ESL programs, ages 5-17.

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Education
4:28 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Senate Education Committee Approves Bill to Pay for Firearms Training in Schools (Update)

Texas lawmakers Thursday will discuss two bills concerning school security.
KUT News

Update: The Senate Education Committee approved a bill Thursday that would pay to train teachers and employees who carry weapons on school property.

There’s a new push for a cap on the cost for the training, but now it looks like even that would be more than enough.

The bill would rely mainly on private donations. If there’s not enough private funding, the state would allocate one million. Senator Dan Patrick (R- Harris County) is sponsoring the bill. He says out a the entire state budget, one million for security is worth it. 

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Education
5:30 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Texas Students Must Pass STAAR Exams to Move to Next Grade

TEA Commissioner Michael Williams says there is enough money to tutor those who don't pass the STAAR exam.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Texas students taking the STAAR test this week will have to pass in order to advance to the next grade.

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams says there is enough money in the preliminary state budget to provide tutoring to fifth and eighth graders who fail the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. 

Right now, state lawmakers have allocated $41 million over the next two years for the Student Success Initiative. SSI provides money to school districts to tutor students who cannot pass the STAAR reading or math tests. 

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Education
4:15 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

AISD Improving but Challenges Remain, Chamber Reports

Strong graduation rates and college readiness are crucial for the local economy, a Chamber of Commers reports says.
KUT News

The Austin school district is making strides in high school graduation rates and applications for college financial aid, and is holding steady with college and career readiness rates, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

The analysis was part of the chamber’s annual education progress report. Shaun Cranston, who helped prepare it, says AISD’s success has broad implications for Austin’s economic development.

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Education
10:39 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Why Did AISD Shut Off its TV, Web Feed Halfway Through Monday's Meeting?

AISD's policy to broadcast meetings, but not dialogues drew some criticism on Twitter Monday
KUT News

Community members watching the Austin School Board’s meeting online or on television Monday may have been confused when the district turned off its feed half way during its special meeting.

The reason, AISD says, is because the meeting transitioned from a Board Meeting to a Board Dialogue. According to the school district, its policy is to broadcast board meetings, but not dialogue sessions.

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Education
5:23 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Chamber of Commerce Supports AISD Bond Package Under Certain Conditions

The Chamber of Commerce says it supports AISD Bond Package with the condition the School Board creates a Facilities Master Plan by June 2014.
KUT News

The story as it aired on KUT

  The Austin Chamber of Commerce says it fully supports the Austin Independent School District’s $892 million bond package for facilities, technology and infrastructure.

But the chamber’s ultimate approval required negotiations.

The Chamber of Commerce wants to see a Facility Master Plan to address under-enrollment and overcrowding in some schools created by June 2014. On Monday, the school board voted to change the title of whatever it’s coming up with from “Master Plan” to “Guiding Principles.” The board also voted to loosen the deadline.

The chamber immediately rescinded its support for the bond propositions. The board then brought the proposal back up for a vote and returned it to its original language. The chamber went home happy.

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Education
4:02 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Your Kid's Campus Will Get a Letter Grade Next School Year

An AISD facilities map. Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced his decision to issue letter grades today.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Texas schools and school districts will be labeled from A to F starting next school year.

The new system will replace the current labels that range from academically unacceptable to exemplary. Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams explained his decision today to the state’s Senate Education Committee.

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Education
8:39 am
Tue April 2, 2013

TEA's Williams Set to Speak on Senate Education Bills

TEA Commissioner Michael Williams will address how the state rates schools.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams is set to address the state Senate Education Committee this morning as lawmakers discuss several bills affecting schools.

Williams is expected to speak about school accountability ratings and how districts are trying to close achievement gaps between minority and white students.

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Education
8:10 am
Tue April 2, 2013

15,000 Already Registered for UT Austin's edX Classes (Update)

edX course registration has opened up for UT-Austin classes, including "Ideas of the 20th Century."
edx.org

Update: The University of Texas System says nearly 15,000 people from around the world have signed up for free, online classes offered by the University of Texas at Austin in just the first three days of enrollment.

The most popular edX class offered by UT so far is Energy 101  –  with more than 5,000 registrants.

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Education
6:22 am
Tue April 2, 2013

AISD Won't Lease Allan Elementary to IDEA (Update)

Allan Elementary School, which AISD is expected to consider tonight potentially leasing the building to IDEA Charter Schools.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: The Austin Independent School District Board last night decided not to lease the Allan elementary school building to IDEA public schools. Allan is closing down at the end of the school year.

That’s because both Allan Elementary and Eastside Memorial High School were part of a plan involving charter school operator IDEA Public Schools. The board canceled the contract with IDEA in December.

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University of Texas
1:20 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Is Perry-Powers Tension About College Rivalry, Policy?

The undercurrents of bickering between UT-Austin President Bill Powers and Gov. Rick Perry offers a gold mine for the conspiratorial set.
Nicolas Raymond / Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Is this about Bill Powers or UT’s tower?

Tensions between Gov. Rick Perry’s administration and Powers, the president of the University of Texas at Austin, are rising, sucking up legislative time and pitting lawmakers, prominent alumni and higher-education critics against one another in a running argument over politics, rivalries and what a public university is supposed to be.

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Education
11:56 am
Mon April 1, 2013

A Closer Look at Austin's English Language Learners

AISD's dual language program comes at a cost, but educators say it helps English learners and native speakers alike in learning the ropes.
flickr.com/cryptic_star

AISD heads spending in bilingual/ESL program

About 850,000 students in Texas are English language learners. That’s one in every six students, and their numbers are growing fast.

Last year, the State of Texas spent an average of $234 per English learning student.  By contrast, the Austin school district spent nearly $1,300 dollars per English learning student. That's five times the state average.

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Education
6:52 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

ACLU Inquiring into AISD Plans for Single-Sex Middle Schools

Pearce Middle School and Garcia Middle School will become single-sex campuses under an AISD plan.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The American Civil Liberties Union wants information from the Austin school district about its plans to convert Pearce and Garcia middle schools into single-sex campuses.

The school board approved the controversial plan in January as part of its effort to improve educational outcomes at the two struggling campuses in northeast Austin. The plan takes effect in the 2014-2015 school year.

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Education
7:44 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Texas Education Experts Weigh Proposals' Impact on Students

Bills passing through the Texas Legislature stir debate on impact to students, especially minorities.
flickr.com/alamosbasement

Story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM

The Texas Legislature is debating bills intended to help more students graduate from high school, by reducing the emphasis on standardized tests and increasing the emphasis on the kinds of education they need to be productive members of the workforce.  

This week, the House passed House Bill 5, which would let high school students take a path to college or take a route intended to lead them more quickly to work. The bill also would drop the number of STAAR exams from 15 to 5.

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