Education

Education
12:16 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

AISD Board Members Face Deadline on Tax Hike Decision

Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

If the Austin school board wants to adopt its budget in June, it has only until May 25 to decide whether to ask for permission to raise property taxes on the November ballot. That’s the timeline the nine trustees will consider at a board work session tonight.

A proposal would cost the owner of an average Austin home an extra $100 a year.

Austin ISD has been trying to get in the habit of adopting its budgets in June, rather than leaving the work until August, just days before the new school year starts. The change would create “considerable benefits”, according to an AISD budget FAQ, because of a one-time accounting change that “effectively generates a two-month expenditure credit for payroll and other liabilities.”

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Police
4:46 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Police Ramping Up Traffic Enforcement Around Schools

APD is on the lookout for unsafe drivers near area schools.
Image courtesy Austin Police

The Austin Police Department is cracking down on traffic violations around schools.

Today, APD announced an initiative to focus on drivers who speed or use their cell phones in school zones. They also want to make sure drivers don’t pass school buses or ignore crossing guards.

In 2009, Austin passed a ban on texting or using the internet while driving. This week, KUT News learned officers have only given out 26 tickets under that law since January of 2010.

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Education
1:57 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Vince Young Encourages Teens to Go to College

Former UT football star Vince Young is the spokesperson for a group encouraging Texas high school graduates to go to college.
Photo courtesy Generation Texas

UT Austin football great Vince Young is back in town today to promote higher education.

Young is the spokesperson for Generation Texas — a group that asked everyone to wear their favorite college t-shirt today in hopes of inspiring high school grads to pursue a college degree.

Young, of course, is sporting a Longhorns t-shirt. He spoke to students at Del Valle High School this morning and told KUT they seemed excited about the possibility of going to college.

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Education
4:38 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott Stepping Down

Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott speaks at the TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011.
Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Robert Scott is leaving the post Gov. Rick Perry appointed him to in 2007. 

When Scott steps down on July 2 from the agency that oversees the public education of Texas' nearly 5 million students, he will be the longest serving education commissioner of the past two decades. 

Scott said in a statement that it had been a "privilege" to serve at the agency and noted that he began his career there in 1994 — when his son was one and his daughter was three months old — and they have both now gone on to graduate from Texas public schools. 

"It's time," he said.

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Education
8:13 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Negotiating The College Funding Labyrinth

About 7 out of 10 students borrow money to pay for college. Here, a Stanford University student walks through the campus in Palo Alto, Calif.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 9:16 am

Now that your child has gotten into college, have you figured out how much it's actually going to cost — and who's going to pay for it?

These questions are hitting college-bound students and their parents right about now, along with the other million questions that nobody seems to have straight answers for. Paying for college can be complicated, if not mind-boggling.

Roughly 7 out of 10 students borrow money to pay for college, and for many, the process might as well be a mystery wrapped in a riddle.

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Education
1:54 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Analysis: Half of Recent College Grads Jobless or Underemployed

Students from John Moores' University celebrate graduation.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 12:54 pm

It's hard out there for a college grad.

The AP analyzed government data and came up with this stunning figure: "Half of young college graduates [are] either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge."

The whole story is worth a read, so we encourage you to click over, but here is the meat of the AP's analysis:

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Education
1:04 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Adults in College: A Steady Trend

Enrollment data from across the nation shows many believe it's never too late to hit the books.
Photo by KUT News

A new report shows 38 percent of U.S. students who were enrolled in postsecondary classes during the Fall of 2011 semester were adults (under the definition of the study, an adult was at least 25 by October 15). That percentage is down slightly from 2010 but went up by more than 4 percent from 2009 to 2010. 

The study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows adults looking for education are consistently choosing to enroll on a full-time basis over part-time. Adult students also prefer 4-year, public institutions. The center looks at data from more than 3,300 college institutions—representing 93 percent of student enrollment.

Meanwhile, the average age of a student at the University of Texas at Austin (22.5) is actually getting younger. 

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Education
4:38 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Fulbright Program Hosts Women Leadership Seminar at UT

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program brings approximately 1,700 foreign students to the United States every year to study for one year or longer.
Fulbright logo courtesy fulbright.state.gov; UT photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News.

Women from Sub-Saharan Africa participating in the Fulbright Foreign Student Program have gathered this week in Austin to participate in a women’s leadership seminar.

The seminar was designed to teach the women in the program how they can use the knowledge they gained in the U.S. to better their communities and themselves when they return to their homes. Participants arrived in Austin on Tuesday and the seminar will continue through Sunday.

Nomoa Mazwai is a South African participant in the program and has been studying economics at Fordham University. She plans to work in education when she returns home.

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Education
11:21 am
Mon April 9, 2012

For-Profit Schools Under Fire For Targeting Veterans

Iraq war veteran Paul Rieckhoff (right), with Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii and Patty Murray of Washington, introduces the GI benefit watchdog bill in Washington. Some lawmakers say for-profit schools are taking advantage of veterans and their educational benefits.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 12:27 pm

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, eager to get an education under the new post-Sept. 11 GI Bill.

Many vets looking for a school find they are inundated by sales pitches from institutions hungry for their government benefits. Now, lawmakers are looking for ways to protect vets without narrowing their education choices.

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Education
4:48 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Sound Off on the AISD Budget Tonight

Reagan High School hosts a forum on the AISD budget tonight.
Photo by KUT News

The Austin school district has a budget of almost a billion dollars to spend next year, and it wants your input on how to do it.

AISD is hosting two public meetings on its preliminary budget and facilities master plan this month. The first meeting is tonight, at Reagan High School, 7104 Berkman Drive, 6-8:30 p.m.

As KUT News previously reported, the 2012-13 preliminary budget would increase spending slightly while assuming the district will lose $8.7 million in federal money and $53.6 million in state funding.

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Education
12:19 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Hoping to Speed On-Time Graduation, UT Refines Orientation Program

Following up on recommendations, the University hopes orientation changes will boost graduation times.
Photo by KUT News

Seeking to boost students’ on-time graduation rates, the University of Texas is refining its orientation program.

A recent report from UT’s Task Force on Undergraduate Graduation Rates looked at ways to increase four year graduation rates. As KUT News wrote at the time of the report’s release, UT’s four-year graduation rate is currently about 50 percent, and the university wants to increase that amount to 70 percent by 2016. Speeding up graduation rates is seen as one solution to the problem of crowded and increasingly expensive college educations.

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Education
11:04 am
Wed March 21, 2012

School Districts Take Advantage of STAAR Rule Change

Photo by Rune Mathisen, Texas Tribune

As the first of 2.5 million Texas public school students prepare to take new state-mandated standardized tests next week, ninth graders in at least a third of the state’s school districts won’t have to worry about how the test will affect their end-of-year grades. 

As of Tuesday, 405 of the state’s roughly 1,200 school districts had told the Texas Education Agency that they would not factor State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) scores into students’ grades for the 2011-12 school year.

The districts have said they will defer the implementation of a rule that says the new end-of-course exams must account for 15 percent of high school students' grades for one year. They are taking advantage of a change in the rollout of the exams the Texas Education Agency announced in February. For many, it was a welcome compromise as the state transitioned to the new system.

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Education
10:06 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Texas Schools Cope as Classes Expand and Staffs Shrink

Alex Train's first grade classroom only had 22 students at the beginning of the year, but has added two more since at Wanke Elementary School in north San Antonio, Friday, March 9, 2012.
Photo by Jennifer Whitney/Texas Tribune

SAN ANTONIO — Ask Phyllis Causey what time she goes to lunch, and the third-grade teacher will give a very specific answer: 11:55 a.m.

“I live on a timer,” she said.

Every minute is accounted for in her meticulously planned workdays. To some extent, that is true every school year. But last fall, for the first time in her 12 years of teaching, 23 students were enrolled in her San Antonio elementary school class — making those minutes even more precious.

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Education
3:28 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

USDA To Give Schools More Ground Beef Choices After Outcry Over 'Pink Slime'

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will give schools alternatives to ground beef made with what critics have called "pink slime."
mcnsonbrg@yahoo.com iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 2:16 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has weighed in on the use of so-called pink slime in beef served in the government's free and reduced-price school lunch program.

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Education
7:41 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Protesters ‘Occupy’ Arne Duncan’s Austin Speech

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is in Austin, where he was a keynote speaker at South by Southwest’s second annual SXSWedu conference. But Duncan also took time today to speak to a crowd at Austin Community College’s Eastview campus for a “town hall” discussion on education issues.  

But once applause greeting Ducan settled, he received  a more abrupt welcome: Three Occupy Austin members stood and shouted out a prepared statement attacking the privatization of public schools and other educational grievances.

The "mic check" can be read on Occupy Austin Twitter magnet Kit O'Connell's website. It reads in part (emphasis in original): "As Secretary of Education, Your job is to discover a way to provide schools & teachers PUBLIC resources & funding, NOT from private charters & corporations."

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Education
1:06 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

June or November? Political Calculus of AISD Tax Vote

Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin school district wants to ask voters for more money. But it’s still trying to determine when to do that. Holding a tax rate vote during the November general election potentially could be less expensive, but one seasoned political consultant suggests it would be “cheap and stupid.”

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Education
5:11 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Case Renews Focus On Race In College Admissions

Students hoping for a repeal of California's ban on affirmative action in college admissions protest outside of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Feb. 13. The Supreme Court will decide an affirmative action case next fall that could affect college admissions policies across the country.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 7:39 pm

College and university presidents are wringing their hands over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to revisit the issue of affirmative action next fall. Critics of racial preferences are thrilled because the court could significantly restrict the use of race in admissions, but proponents of affirmative action say this would be a huge setback for institutions struggling to diversify their student body.

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Education
4:36 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

AISD Extends Opt-Out Deadline For IDEA Charter Program

Allan Elementary school will be the first campus to host the IDEA charter school program starting in the 2012-13 school year.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Parents with children at Allan Elementary school now have an extra two weeks to decide if they want their kids to enroll in a controversial charter school program launching next year. The Austin Independent School District announced this afternoon that it has set a new deadline for March 9. The original deadline was last Friday, February 24. 

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Education
2:25 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Supreme Court to Consider Role of Race in College Admission

UT's admission policies, possibly including the "top 10 percent" rule, will be heard before the Supreme Court this fall.
Photo by KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court will revisit the issue of race in college admissions

Today, the court agreed to hear a challenge to the affirmative action policy at the University of Texas. The case was brought by Abigail Fisher, who argues she was denied admission to the university because of UT's race-conscious policy.

It's the second time the court has taken up the issue in the past 10 years. In 2003, the court upheld the University of Michigan's use of race in assessing law school applicants by a vote of 5-4. But today's court is more conservative. Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote the majority opinion in the Michigan case. She's since been replaced by Justice Samuel Alito – who tends to vote with the court’s more conservative bloc.

Yale law professor Peter Schuck tells KUT News a number of factors outside the court’s University of Michigan ruling could be in play, as each state university system differs. Here in Texas, Schuck points to the effect the UT system’s “top 10 percent” rule could play.

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Education
4:51 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Austin School Board Examines Contract With Union Tonight

The AISD School Board of Trustees will discuss possible changes to its consultation contract tonight.
Photo by KUT News

The Austin ISD school board will discuss alternatives to their current, longstanding consultation agreement with Education Austin tonight.

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