Education

Education
4:01 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

AISD to Talk Bond Proposal Tonight at Community Meeting

Bowie High school, where AISD is holding the first of three community meetings about the 2013 bond package Wednesday evening.
Nathan Bernier/KUT News

The Austin Independent School District is hosting a community meeting tonight on its 2014 budget and its $892 million bond proposal that's up for a vote next month. 

AISD wants to issue bonds to fund capital projects throughout the district. The money wouldn’t be used for day-to-day expenses, but for things like technology upgrades, more classrooms and increased security.

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Education
2:16 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Coming Soon: Standardized Tests for College Students, Universities?

A UT student does some reading. A Texas Senate bill would require academic assessments for college students.
KUT News

Some Texas lawmakers are looking to create an academic assessment tool to measure and compare the teaching abilities of the state’s public universities.

Today, members of the Senate Committee for Higher Education took up SB 436. The bill would make it a requirement for Texas universities to issue students a learning assessment before the first day of class, and during the last semester before graduation. The assessment would act as a tool to monitor student growth.

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Education
6:02 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Senate Panel Passes Its Version of House Education Overhaul Bill

Round Rock Superintendent Jesús Chávez testifies during a Senate Education Committee hearing on April 16, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia

Last month the Texas House passed its education reform bill – HB 5. Today members of the Senate Education Committee took the measure up and began the process of hammering out differences between the House and Senate on the future of education in Texas. 

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Education
3:19 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Eastside Memorial Students Plea to Keep School Open

One of the students featured in the Eastside Memorial video.
YouTube

A video posted on You Tube is pleading with state officials not to close Eastside Memorial High School.

The school is at risk of closure or state takeover if the Austin Independent School District does not choose an acceptable outside partner to run the school and improve the school's performance. 

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Education
6:02 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Teachers Groups Raise Concerns About Charter School Bill

A bill to expand the number of charter schools in the state is drawing criticism from teachers organizations in Texas.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Some teachers organizations are lobbying Texas House members to stop the progress of Senate Bill 2, a bill that would expand the number of charter school licenses in Texas.  

SB-2 would gradually add 90 charter school licenses in Texas by the year 2019.  

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Education
6:38 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

UT-Austin Seeks Dean For New Medical School

UT Austin announced its 18-member search committee Thursday morning for its first medical school dean.
Liang Shi, KUT News

Eighteen people will make up a search committee for the University of Texas at Austin's Dell Medical School's founding dean.

Like most search committees, the one for the inaugural medical school dean is composed of local deans at UT, professors and students. This search committee also has deans from other universities in the UT System and members from Seton Healthcare Family and Central Health, who are partners in the new medical school initiative.

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Education
10:36 am
Fri April 12, 2013

In Texas, Nixing Algebra II Not Out of the Equation

Hank Warner teaches a pre-advanced placement algebra course for ninth-graders at Bowie High School in Austin.
Tamir Kalifa/Texas Tribune

As Texas re-examines what students should learn in order to earn a high school diploma, no part of the state’s curriculum has attracted more attention than a single advanced math course.

In response to calls from educators and employers for graduation standards that allow more opportunities for career-training courses, the state Legislature is considering more flexible diploma requirements that do not include algebra II as a core credit for all students.

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Education
7:52 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Bonds Bill Would Help Texas Universities' Construction Costs

Texas lawmakers are considering a tuition revenue bond bill that would approve billions for new buildings at public universities.
Photo by KUT News.

The last time the Texas Legislature approved construction expenses for public universities and community colleges was in 2006. This session, lawmakers are considering a tuition revenue bond bill that would approve billions for new buildings. 

University administrators told lawmakers they need millions of dollars for construction projects on their space-strapped campuses. They cited skyrocketing student enrollment numbers, aging buildings and new research projects as reasons to lay the bricks and mortar.

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University of Texas
4:45 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

UT Regents Backtrack on Open Records, Investigation (Update)

UT Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell, r, convenes the meeting with Chancellor Dr. Francisco Cigarroa on April 11, 2013.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Update: The UT Board of Regents' decision to release public documents to the Texas legislature didn't stop the state Senate from passing a bill that would limit the board's authority and require new regents to complete an ethics training course. The Senate passed the bill today. It now heads to the House for a vote.

Original Story (1:45 p.m.): The UT System Board of Regents voted Thursday to release all records requested by state lawmakers and ask the state Attorney General to conduct an investigation into the relationship between the UT Law School and the Law School Foundation

Last week, regents had considered withholding documents from the legislature. Regent James Dannenbaum says that was a miscommunication.

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Education
4:32 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Education Committee Clarifies Voucher Bill, Sends to Full Senate

Sen. Dan Patrick, who wrote SB 23. It now heads to the full Senate for a possible floor debate.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Senate Education Committee Thursday approved a bill from Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, that creates a scholarship fund to help low-income students leave failing schools and attend private or religiously-affiliated schools.

The bill offers a 15 percent tax credit to businesses that donate money to the scholarship fund.

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Education
11:01 am
Thu April 11, 2013

AISD: Mainly Out-of-State Proposals for Eastside Memorial

AISD received five proposals for the future of Eastside Memorial High School.
KUT News

The Austin Independent School District has received five proposals from outside partners to lead the school improvement plan at Eastside Memorial High School, most of which are from organizations outside Texas.

The five companies include John Hopkins University, Turnaround Solutions Inc., Editure Professional Development, American Institutes for Research, and a local company, Southwest Key Programs, Inc.

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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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