Education

Education
10:44 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Interview: The UT Art History Professor Who Got An Apology From Pres. Obama

President Barack Obama flashes the "Hook Em" sign during a UT appearance in 2010. President Obama apologized to a UT art history professor who took umbrage with the president's remarks about art history majors.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

President Barack Obama wrote a hand-written apology to a University of Texas art history professor this week.

Ann Johns, a senior lecturer at UT-Austin's Department of Art and Art History, complained via the White House website about the president's remarks in a speech at a Wisconsin factory last month. As CNN notes, stumping for education initiatives, President Obama said "You folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree."

Read more
Education
1:05 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

AISD Struggling to Keep African-American Students in District

The percentage of African-American student in the Austin Independent School District has declined in the past, which has some wondering if black students could be underserved by Austin schools.
Photo courtesy of AISD

Over the last 20 years, the percentage of Austin Independent School District's African American population has steadily declined — dropping from 18.8 percent in 1993-1994 academic year to 8.7 percent last year, according to data from the Texas Education Agency

Some are concerned fewer students could lead to more community issues going unnoticed, or at least underserved, as more African-American students and families leave the district. 

Read more
Education
12:46 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Austin Drivers Should Slow Down in School Zones Today Though Lights May Not Flash

City crews are working to program lights to flash today.
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Lan56

Many area school kids are in class today despite the Presidents' Day holiday. They’re making up for a day missed due to winter weather.

City of Austin Transportation crews are working to manually re-program flashing school zone lights warning drivers to slow down. But only about one-sixth were ready before the start of school this morning.

“If a driver comes up to a school zone and they know that the school is in session and the flasher aren’t going, they should use that same level of caution, drive slower and be aware of students in the area," city spokesperson Samantha Park said.

Read more
Winter Weather
2:41 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Schools Will Have to Make Up Snow Days Starting This Monday

Students across Central Texas have enjoyed snow days this winter, but for Austin-area public school students that could mean extra days of school to make up for lost time.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

The harsh winter weather this year has left local school districts with a mounting number of cancelations and delays. Most school districts in the region canceled classes on Jan. 24 and 28, and delayed start times on Feb. 6 and 11 due to icy conditions.

Those snow and ice days may have seemed like welcome "free days," but they come with a price. The Texas Education Agency requires that canceled class days must be made up. For most school districts, this means giving up holidays such as Good Friday, Memorial Day and Presidents Day (this Monday) to make up for lost time. Below, you can see a full list of make-up days for Austin-area schools.

Read more
Education
12:40 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Most Eighth-Graders Fail to Get Degree 11 Years Later

According to state data, less than one-fifth of eighth grade students in 2001 earned a college degree.
Credit Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

 Among young Texans who started eighth grade in 2001, less than one-fifth went on to earn a higher education credential within six years of their high school graduation. And rates were even lower among African-American and Hispanic students and those who were economically disadvantaged, according to data analyzed by two state education agencies and presented Tuesday in a Texas Tribune news application.  

Since 2012, Houston Endowment, a philanthropic foundation and sponsor of the news app, has advocated for the use of “cohort tracking” to evaluate the state’s education pipeline. The analysis begins with all Texas students entering eighth grade in a given year and follows them for 11 years, giving them six years after high school to earn a post-secondary degree.  

Read more
Education
8:33 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Austin ISD and Education Union at Odds Over Teacher Contracts

Education Austin and AISD are at an impasse over teacher contracts. A three-member committee of board members must now hear arguments and make a recommendation to the full board for a final decision.
Photo by KUT News

Update: Education Austin, the teachers union that represents around 1,800 Austin teachers, and the Austin Independent School District are at an impasse over teacher contracts. The two groups are at odds over contract length: the union wants the district to reinstate three-year contracts, while AISD wants to continue offering one-year contracts.

In a state without collective bargaining laws, it’s rare for a school district to have such a clear-cut process when it and another party can’t agree. 

 

“It’s been very clearly defined that if parties can’t reach agreement, the board of trustees then will ultimately engage in a solution process," Michael Houser, AISD's chief human capital officer, told the school board last night. The last time the district came to an impasse with Education Austin was in 2008. 

Read more
UT System
1:12 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa Steps Down

UT Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced Monday he is resigning to head pediatric transplant surgery at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

After five years, Francisco Cigarroa announced Monday morning that he is stepping down as University of Texas System Chancellor. 

Cigarroa says he's leaving to head the pediatric transplant surgery department at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

"It really ended up being a very personal decision as to what is my next role in life?" Cigarroa said at a press conference Monday morning. "What’s the next mountain I want to climb?"

Read more
School Finance
6:30 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Lawyers Give Closing Arguments in Texas School Finance Trial

Judge John Dietz heard closing arguments Friday in the Texas school finance trial. He says he expects to make a final ruling in the spring.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

There finally seems to be an end in sight in the Texas school finance trial as lawyers gave closing arguments Friday afternoon.

The trial initially examined if Texas constitutionally funds public education. In 2012, District Judge John Dietz preliminarily ruled the system was unconstitutional, but he reopened the trial to see if the actions of the 2013 legislature could change his final ruling.

Read more
Education
5:32 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Round Rock ISD Apologizes, Backs Out of Cell Tower at Elementary School

Construction of the cell phone tower at Pond Springs Elementary School in Round Rock. School officals say they're going to try to get out of the contract to build a cell phone tower on campus after parents complained.
Dana Vasagam

The Round Rock Independent School District is backing away from an agreement with cell phone provider AT&T after parents and community members raised concerns about the construction of a cell phone tower on an elementary school campus.

According to a letter sent to parents, the district agreed to lease land to AT&T to build the tower at Pond Springs Elementary School, but some parents say Monday's letter was the first time they had heard of the agreement.

Read more
AISD
9:27 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Nonprofit Says Austin Schools Don't Address Inequality Among Students

The Texas Civil Rights Project wants AISD to start an independent Equity Foundation to help direct private money to schools in low income neighborhoods
KUT News

A nonprofit legal foundation says the Austin Independent School District isn’t addressing education inequalities between high and low-income students. 

The Texas Civil Rights Project released an updated report Tuesday on equal opportunity in the district. It's urging the district to start an independent equity foundation, which would direct private money to schools in low-income neighborhoods and create a level playing field between students regardless of their parents' income. The foundation would promote equal access to things like books and quality teachers and how schools spend their money.

Read more
AISD
5:56 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Austin ISD Names New Athletic Director

Leal Anderson, AISD's new athletic director, comes to the district from Anderson High School.
hometeamsonline.com

The Austin Independent School District has a new athletic director. Leal Anderson will oversee AISD sports programs that involve more than 14,000 students. Anderson says part of his mission is improving the academic success of students through the character development that happens in athletics.

"I think graduation will increase," Anderson said at a media availability Tuesday." I think the numbers of enrollment will also increase. We'll also have less students dropping out. Those are things that I think are really important, that will help. And that's what I look forward to doing."

Read more
Education
4:43 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Obama Secures Funding To Help Connect Students To Internet

President Obama records students on a classroom iPad while visiting a seventh grade classroom before speaking about goals of connecting students to next generation broadband and wireless technology within five years on Tuesday, at Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Md.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 4:30 pm

President Obama on Tuesday announced that technology companies had pledged $750 million in equipment and services that would help connect students to the Internet.

USA Today reports:

"Money from Apple, Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and other companies, combined with $2 billion from the Federal Communications Commission, will help connect up to 15,000 schools and 20 million students.

Read more
Education
11:05 am
Tue February 4, 2014

In Texas, Fewer Tests Mean Less Time for Teaching Social Studies

State Board of Education member Pat Hardy, photographed in 2011. She says social studies courses are treated like a "redheaded stepchild" by Texas education officials.
Credit Daniel Reese for KUT News

  The reduction in social studies gradation requirements has disappointed many social studies advocates in the state, but it hasn't surprised them. They say the subject often gets pushed aside when it comes to classroom instruction time, especially with an increased emphasis in high-stakes testing.

Unlike math, science and reading, students aren't tested in social studies until eighth grade. Education advocates say lack of social studies standardized tests means less instructional time for the subject.

“It hasn’t been tested," says Pat Hardy, State Board of Education member. "It’s been treated like the redheaded stepchild, and at the end of the day – literally at the end of the day – they’ll say, 'well, you can teach social studies.' Well, how good do you think that is?”

Read more
Education
9:39 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Texas Overhauls Textbook Approval To Ease Tensions Over Evolution

Kansas Board of Education members look over language for a science textbook in 2007. The fight over the teaching of evolution has been particularly fierce in Texas, which because of its size influences many textbook publishers.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 11:01 am

The Texas Board of Education, which has long been an ideological battleground for the teaching of evolution, says it will limit the use of citizen review panels and instead give priority to teachers in determining science and history curricula.

Because Texas public schools represent such a large market for textbook publishers, the state has an outsized influence on what is taught in the rest of the country.

Read more
State Board of Education
12:19 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Texas Education Board Approves New High School Grad Requirements

The State Board of Education approved new graduation requirements that don't require all students to talk Algebra II
John Walker, Flickr

The State Board of Education officially adopted new state high school graduation requirements this morning. The vote was 14 to one in support of the changes. El Paso Democrat Martha Dominguez voted against it.

Last year, lawmakers got rid of the previous graduation plan which required students to take four math, science, English and social studies courses.

Under the new plan, all students are required to take four years of  English and at least three years of math, science and social studies. Students will then have to choose one of five paths to graduation, known as endorsements. 

Read more

Pages