Education

Education
5:05 am
Thu January 10, 2013

The Texas School District Where Every Student Gets an iPad

Eanes ISD will soon join a few other districts that provide tablet computers to students.
Carlos Morales/KUT News

The Eanes school district will become one the first in the state to distribute iPads to every single one of its students, kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Texas Legislature paved the way for school districts to adopt tablets two years ago by allowing schools districts to spend textbook money on digital learning materials.

Of course, the school districts still have to buy their own iPads, and that’s what the Eanes school board voted to do last month: Spend $1.2 million to buy enough iPad 2s for every student in the district.

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Education
12:18 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Land Board to Transfer $300 Million to School Fund

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.
Callie Richmond for Texas Tribune

The School Land Board voted Tuesday to release $300 million into the Available School Fund for public schools.

The money will be released in two $150 million installments, one in February and the other on June. The funds had been caught in a standoff between the Legislature and the School Land Board, which operates out of the General Land Office and oversees the state’s public school land. 

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Education
11:34 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Single-Sex Schools Back on AISD Agenda

Pearce Middle School would transition into a single-sex school, under an option considered by the AISD school board.
KUT News

The Austin school board is set to resume discussion on a boys-only school. The move comes just one month after the topic was postponed indefinitely.

The AISD board is set to discuss a total of three single-sex schools in a special meeting tonight: a School for Young Men and turning Garcia and Pearce Middle Schools into single-sex schools – one for boys and the other for girls.

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Education
3:28 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

For Many Kids, Winter Break Means Hungry Holidays

Tamara Burney's kindergartners eat lunch in the Hillview Elementary cafeteria in Jefferson County, Ala.
Dan Carsen WBHM

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 5:10 pm

Holidays are typically a festive time, with breaks from the routine, meals with loved ones, maybe even some gifts. But for many families across the U.S., the season comes with intense stress: Roughly 1 in 5 families with children are not getting enough food.

For some, free or reduced-price school meals have become a major source of basic nutrition. When schools close for the holidays, many of those families struggle to fill the gap.

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Education
5:15 am
Thu January 3, 2013

How Austin Baby Boomers' Tax Perk Hurts Texas' Bottom Line

Texas Tribune

January usually marks a mad rush to the local tax office to pay property taxes. If you are a homeowner turning 65 years old, you can apply for a property tax exemption from Travis County and for a cap to your school taxes. It's a  perk for taxpayers that could affect local school districts. 

First, it’s important to note that thousands of Austinites will be turning 65 this year. That’s why last May, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell appointed task force on aging. Angela Atwood serves on the task force. She say “aging is the issue of our time and Austin and Central Texas is an epicenter nationally.”

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Education
5:14 am
Tue January 1, 2013

UT Researcher Sees Racial Bias in Texas Social Studies

Marjorie Cotera, Texas Tribune

Interview with Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig

Public school students in Texas may or may not learn about important African-American and Latino historical figures because many of the lessons are optional, according to a recently published study by University of Texas researchers. And when it comes to Native Americans and Asian Americans in Texas, "it's almost as if they didn't exist," says the study's author, Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig

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Education
5:05 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Would Mean Cuts to Local Schools

Lockers at Reagan High School in Austin. AISD could stand to lose more than $2 million in federal grants if sequestration cuts are enacted.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Texas would lose about eight percent of its federal education funding if Washington can’t reach a compromise to avoid the package of spending cuts and tax increases contained in the “fiscal cliff.” Most of that money pays for programs to help children from low income families and to help students with disabilities.

Texas’ share of those so-called Title I and IDEA grants would be cut by $174 million, according to Texas Education Agency estimates. In a school district like Austin’s – where almost two out of three students are economically disadvantaged – federal grants would be cut by more than $2 million. You can see an estimate of your school district's cuts by checking this TEA document

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Education
1:05 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Dewhurst, Patrick Discuss Plans for School Reform

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Sen. Dan Patrick R-Houston, during press conference to discuss education reform in Texas including school choice.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Speaking in a Catholic school classroom in Austin, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick gave the first details of what they promised would be a wide-ranging set of proposals for public education policy during the upcoming legislative session.

Patrick, a Houston Republican who chairs the Senate Education Committee, said he would carry legislation that would increase the options for public school students through lifting the state's cap on charter schools, fostering open enrollment within and across school districts, and creating a private school scholarship fund through offering a state business tax savings credit to corporations. 

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AISD
10:38 am
Wed December 19, 2012

AISD Releases List of Schools Frozen to Transfers

Locked up: Bowie High School, pictured above, is one of five high schools frozen for transfers.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Independent School District has released its list of schools that are frozen to transfers for the 2013-2014 school year.

Over two dozen campuses are  frozen to transfers, while another 17 will be reevaluated after requests for priority transfers are approved.

Beginning Jan. 7, parents will be able to submit their transfer requests by mail or in person at AISD's Office of Student Services.

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Education
1:51 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

IDEA Vows to Open Its Own Charter School in Austin

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

http://kut.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/121218-AISD-IDEA-Postportem-news-conference-1055.mp3  

IDEA Public Schools says it will continue to operate in Austin, even after the Austin school board voted last night to cancel its contract with the charter school company.   

“This is certainly the most complex and intricate partnership with a district that we or really almost any charter school in the state of Texas has tried," IDEA founder and CEO Tom Torkelson said outside the IDEA Allan campus this morning. "Hopefully, this won’t stop the school district or other charters in the future from continuing to find great ways to partner and work together.”   

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Education
12:23 am
Tue December 18, 2012

AISD Cancels Contract With IDEA Charter School

A packed school board auditorium last night as supporters and opponents of IDEA Allan watched to see what would happen.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

An experimental partnership between the Austin school district and a South Texas charter school company will come to an end. On Monday night, the AISD board voted narrowly in favor of terminating its contract with South Texas charter school operator IDEA Public Schools. It's a new affirmation of the old cliché, "elections matter." 

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Education
11:21 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Listen: How a Texas Lawsuit Could Change School Finance

Photo by flickr.com/photos/lnx

A school finance lawsuit underway now could transform how we pay for public education in Texas.

About 600 school districts are suing the state. Arguments started nine weeks ago and could last another month or longer and a decision is not expected until after the next legislative session ends. KUT News spoke with David Hinojosa, an attorney with the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

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Education
5:51 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Business Group Wants STAAR Revamped

Implementation of the STAAR test has hit some snags.
Jason Wiseman/Texas Tribune

A business lobbying group that’s been a big supporter of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR exams, has called for some changes, saying that the program may have gone overboard in trying to introduce accountability so quickly.

The Texas Association of Business wants to reduce the number of tests a high school senior needs to pass in order to graduate, and to push the entire program’s full implementation back three years.

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University of Texas
4:41 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

UT Law Prof Lino Graglia's Remarks on Race Provoke Controversy (Again)

Graglia has made previous remarks critical of minority academic performance.
University of Texas School of Law

A controversial University of Texas law professor’s comments on race are drawing negative attention online.

In an interview with the BBC, Lino Graglia said African-Americans and Hispanics are less academically competent than whites. “I can hardly imagine a less beneficial or more deleterious experience than to be raised by a single parent,” Graglia said. “Usually a female, uneducated and without a lot of money.”

At that point, the interview interjected: “I’m black. I was raised in a single parent family. You’re saying I’m likely not as smart as a white person of the same age?”

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Education
3:23 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Texas Fires El Paso School Board (Update)

TEA Commissioner Michael Williams in Austin last week. He is set to dismiss the El Paso school board at 12:30 p.m.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

State education commissioner Michael Williams announced this afternoon that he is removing the entire El Paso ISD school board and replacing it temporarily with a five-member board of managers.

The school district has been embroiled in a testing scandal involving the former superintendent Lorzeno Garcia. Williams says the El Paso ISD school board did not do enough to investigate claims that Garcia was preventing low performing students from taking a standardized test. 

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University of Texas
11:47 am
Thu December 6, 2012

UT System Tackles Issue of Growing Student Debt

UT Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell asks the Board to support Chancellor Dr. Franciso Cigarroa at their Austin meeting on May 12, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

On the agenda for Thursday morning's meeting of the University of Texas System Board of Regents is a discussion on a topic near and dear to the pocketbooks of many students and their parents: student loan debt.

With student loan debt now surpassing national credit card debt, part of UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa's framework for advancing excellence, which was approved in 2011, called for the formation of a task force to study the issue. The task force's report, which includes recommendations on how the system can help ease the burden on students, will be presented at Thursday's meeting.

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Education
6:35 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Coalition Publishes Study Touting Flagship Universities

KUT News

A group that formed in 2011 in response to a prominent push for higher education policy proposals it viewed as misguided released a report on Thursday that makes a case for the value of the state's flagship universities: the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.

The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education report was written by Michael McLendon, a professor of higher education policy and leadership at Southern Methodist University. He previously worked at Vanderbilt University, where he completed much of the work on the report.

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Education
3:22 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

AISD Fixing Cafeterias After Glass Found in Food

Austin ISD parents were sent a letter describing the findings at Allison Elementary.
AISD

Austin ISD is conducting repairs at 18 elementary school cafeterias after an employee found glass in the pinto beans last week at Allison Elementary School. 

"She immediately pulled the pinto beans from the tray and also from the line and called to report the incident," says AISD health supervisor Tracy Lunoff. 

Turns out the sneeze guard broke and glass fell into the food. The vendor, Moduserve, has been called in to fix them. AISD says no students were hurt, and it sent this letter to parents notifying them of the incident. It also called parents directly whose children may have eaten the pinto beans. 

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Education
9:49 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Fulmore Middle School Choir Invited to Carnegie Hall

Fulmore Middle School Advanced Girls Choir may perform in Carnegie Hall next month
flickr.com/wallyg

Fulmore Middle School’s Advanced Girls Choir has been invited to participate in the Distinguished Concert Singers International performance at Carnegie Hall in January.

Composer Francisco Nunez asked the choir to perform his “Music for Treble Voices.”  Nunez, Director of the Youth Choir of New York heard the Fulmore Advanced Girls Choir perform while attending the Texas Music Educators Convention in Dallas. He was impressed with both the girls and their director, Yvette Carroll.

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Education
8:40 am
Tue December 4, 2012

New AISD Board To Examine IDEA Charter Contract (Update)

Allan Elementary school
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: The Austin School Board will continue to talk about the district’s contract with IDEA Public Schools at its regular meeting later this month.

Right now, IDEA is just operating at Allan Elementary. But the charter will grow to include more grades and expand into Eastside Memorial if the board doesn’t make a decision to end or change the contract before the end of the year. Board member Rev. Dr. Jayme Mathias proposed that the contract continue but be changed to keep IDEA from expanding into Eastside Memorial next school year.

Under his proposal, IDEA would continue to include more grades but, instead of moving on to the Eastside Memorial campus, seventh graders would stay at Allan.

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