Education

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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Education
7:36 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Bill Would Train Teachers to Spot Mental Illness

A lawmaker's initiative would address the problem of mentally ill students.
Erik Reyna, KUT News

A state lawmaker says Texas students are grappling with mental illness, but not all teachers, counselors and principals know how to recognize the signs. So the lawmaker, Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, is backing a mental health bill that he says would encourage educators in more than 1,100 school districts to get the necessary training.

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Education
5:04 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Legislature Tackles Competing Education Bills

Both chambers' bills aim to address the dropout rate in Texas.
Lizzie Chen, KUT News

Changing requirements at Texas high schools is a hot topic at the Capitol. The House has passed its version. Next week, it’s the Senate’s turn.

Both the House and Senate bills would increase flexibility for public high school students in the state. This week, lawmakers passed Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock’s House Bill 5. Aycock, R-Killeen, heads the House Public Education Committee. His bill addresses course requirements and drops the number of STAAR exams from 15 to five, among other changes.

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Education
6:14 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

AISD Sued Over Eastside Documents

Eastside Memorial High School has fallen short of state standards for years.
KUT News

A lawsuit filed today accuses the Austin school district of withholding public information on plans for Eastside Memorial High School.

AISD says it needs to find a third party to help run the troubled school to prevent the state from taking it over. Eastside has not met state academic accountability standards for nearly a decade.

But Steve Swanson, a member of the school’s campus advisory committee, says repeated open-records requests he’s submitted to the district have not turned up planning process documents for the campus. So he’s suing in Travis County District Court.

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Education
5:16 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Senate Panel Hears Bill to Limit Higher Ed Governing Boards

A bill filed in the Texas Senate would limit the power of higher education govrning boards in Texas.
Liang Shi, KUT News

The Senate Committee on Higher Education held a public hearing on Wednesday about a bill that would limit the power of higher education governing boards in Texas — including the UT System Board of Regents.

The bill comes amid accusations that the UT System’s Board of Regents has been micromanaging UT President William Powers Jr. and the University of Texas.

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Education
7:45 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Austin Community College to Break Ground at Highland Mall

Rendering of ACC Highland, phase I.
Elizabeth Day (courtesy BGK Architects)

Austin Community College is breaking ground today at a vacant JCPenney store in Highland Mall. The store will be converted into a learning environment for ACC.

"This is a really big day for ACC as well as the surrounding neighborhood and in fact all of the communities that we serve," ACC spokesperson Alexis Patterson said. "It’s great for the area. It brings new life, new people coming to the mall. And the mall’s still in operation, so we’re excited about the boost this is going to give to the mall as a whole.”

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Education
4:01 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

AISD Expands Health Insurance Benefits to Same-Sex Couples, Unmarried Domestic Partners

The Austin Independent School District is expanding health care benefits to same-sex couples and unmarried domestic partners.
Credit KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is extending health insurance benefits to same-sex couples and unmarried domestic partners within the year. 

The decision comes after Pflugerville became the first Texas school district to offer health benefits for its employees with same sex partners last fall.

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Education
5:21 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

UT Votes Against Fall Break

The general faculty voted against a fall break proposal Monday afternoon.
KUT News

At a special meeting Monday afternoon, the general faculty of the University of Texas at Austin voted "no" on a proposal that would have given students a "fall break" of two more days off in October.

The proposal was fueled by student support, including from UT's Student Government and UT's Graduate Student Assembly. Diane Bailey, chair of UT's Academic Calendar Committee, said the proposal would have started the fall semester two days earlier to give students two days off in the middle of the semester. 

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Education
5:07 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Should School Ratings Take At-Risk Students Into Account?

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte wants schools with lots of former dropouts to get extra credit.
KUT News

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) reports that less than 85 percent of the students in the class of 2010 graduated. At a hearing Thursday in the Texas Senate, lawmakers heard the case for better tracking students who end up back in school.

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, a member of the Senate Public Education Committee, told members that even though high school graduation rates in Texas are improving, some schools aren’t getting credit for their part in those improvements. She was talking about schools that enroll dropouts and give students a high school diploma if they earn their credits and meet the requirements.

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Education
4:59 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

$25 Million Donated for UT Business School Building

A new building for the McCombs graduate program would go up at MLK and Guadalupe.
KUT News

The University of Texas at Austin announced today a pledge of $25 million from alumnus, businessman and former U.T. regent Robert B. Rowling.

The money will go toward the construction of Robert B. Rowling Hall, housing graduate programs of the McCombs School of Business.

The building is planned for the corner of Martin Luther King and Guadalupe, across Whitis from the AT&T Conference Center.

University of Texas
2:02 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Lawmakers, Observers React to Tense UT System Meeting

University of Texas System Regent Steven Hicks listens to a speech at a meeting on May 12, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Longtime employees of the University of Texas System said they could not recall a split vote on the board of regents, which has traditionally settled differences behind closed doors and presented a unified front. That changed on Wednesday, catching higher education observers and even some lawmakers off guard.

The board voted 4-3 — Chairman Gene Powell and another member were absent — in favor of commissioning an external review of the relationship between the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas Law School Foundation, an independently run fundraising organization. 

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University of Texas
2:40 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

UT System Seeks External Review of Law Foundation

The University of Texas System regents voted to continue an investigation of inappropriate employee compensation payments.
Bob Daemmrich

One day after a lawmaker accused University of Texas System regents of engaging in a "witch hunt" aimed at University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers, the board voted Wednesday during a tense meeting to seek an external review of the university's relationship with the University of Texas Law School Foundation.

The arrangement has come under scrutiny since 2011, when Larry Sager, then the dean of the University of Texas School of Law, was asked by Powers to resign. Concerns later surfaced about the foundation's forgivable loan program that some faculty had benefited from, including Sager, who received $500,000.

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University of Texas
6:32 am
Wed March 20, 2013

UT Officials Barred From Deleting Emails – Lawmaker Calls it a 'Witch Hunt' (Update)

UT-Austin president Bill Powers in late 2011. A UT spokesperson says campus officials are complying with a rule to preserve all email communication.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Update: A leading state lawmaker blasted the University of Texas System Regents yesterday over the group's treatment of University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers.

State House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) spoke Tuesday during the first meeting of a special panel on higher education governance.

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Education
7:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

New AISD Elementary School Named After Former Teacher

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: The new elementary school being built in north Austin now has a name: Dr. Janis Guerrero Thompson Elementary. The Austin Independent School District Board voted last night to approve the name.

Dr. Guerrero Thompson was a native Austinite who taught high school in AISD and later worked as the district’s Executive Director for Planning and Community Relations.

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Education
7:17 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Veterans Education Requirements Putting Strain on Texas Colleges?

UT-Austin's Student Veterans Services guides veterans through the benefits of the Hazelwood Act.
Teresa Vieira for KUT News

Colleges and universities in Texas are struggling to pay for the tuition benefits they give to qualifying veterans and their dependents as part of a program called the Hazlewood Act.

As the number of veterans rises, higher education leaders say their institutions need help tackling the costs.

“We continuously get pulled at not to increase tuition. We don’t want to increase tuition. But those are the issues that we follow," Kenth Hance, Texas Tech University Systems Chancellor, says.

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Education
5:05 am
Thu March 7, 2013

SXSW Touts Teaching Tech (But Implementation's Another Thing)

Digital education isn't easy to put into action.
Carlos Morales/KUT News

It’s no longer unusual to see mobile devices in American classrooms. But while many teachers now use them as tools for instruction, others find themselves completely at odds with technology. Questions on how best to bridge that gap keep cropping up at SXSW’s education conference this week.   

One of the messages at the conference was that even economically disadvantaged school districts that are starting to educate students digitally are seeing positive results for students.

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University of Texas
5:19 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Bill Gates Helps Open UT's New Computer Science Building

Bill Gates spoke at the opening of a computer center his foundation financed to the tune of $30 million.
Bobby Blanchard for KUT News

Bill Gates – philanthropist, billionaire, entrepreneur and former chief executive of Microsoft – visited the University of Texas campus today to take part in the opening ceremonies of UT's new computer science building.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall – or GDC for short –  cost the university $120 million to build. The Gates Foundation donated $30 million to the project and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation donated $10 million. The new complex is 140,000 square feet and contains "research clusters" to encourage collaborative work.

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Education
7:07 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Daily Texan to Stay Daily

The Texas Student Media board voted to keep The Daily Texan a daily print publication
KUT News

The Daily Texan is staying daily, at least for now.

The Texas Student Media board voted today to keep the print edition of the publication operating five-days-a-week, with a 50 percent pay cut to student media employees. The proposed budget also included tuition reimbursement cuts for student managers and the hiring of an additional ad salesman.

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Education
6:10 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Carstarphen: Not Clear What's Next for Eastside

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen is dealing with the troubled Eastside Memorial High School.
KUT News

A high school on Austin’s east side is once again facing the possibility of state closure. Eastside Memorial High has received the state stamp of academically unacceptable since 2004. In 2008 it was closed and reopened with a new name -- it used to be Johnston High School.

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Education
6:02 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Carstarphen Supports STAAR Rollback

Austin Superintendent Meria Carstarphen wants the Legislature to ease off on standardized testing.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says she supports measures to dial back standardized testing in Texas schools. One bill proposed by the head of the House Public Education Committee, Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, would reduce the number of STAAR tests required to graduate from 15 to five.

Carstarphen says the new STAAR test was rolled out too quickly.

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