Education

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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Education
12:58 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Texas Education Commissioner Defers STAAR Grading Policy

Education Commissioner Michael Williams (left) deferred the STAAR requirement, a day after Gov. Perry (right) suggested so.
Williams photo Texas Education Agency; Perry photo Gage Skidmore

For the second year in a row, end of course exams won’t necessarily count toward 15 percent of a students’ final grade.

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced today that school districts will be allowed to apply for a waiver to the rule for the 2012-13 school year.

“You know we have to recognize that we are only in the second of the accountability system and the first year of testing,” Williams said. “There probably is some wisdom in saying, ‘Pump your brakes.’”

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Education
4:12 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Perry: Let School Districts Decide on 15 Percent Rule

Shannan Muskopf/Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry is expressing his support for letting school districts themselves choose whether to implement a rule that requires new state assessments to count for 15 percent of high school students' final grades.

In a written statement Thursday — the first time the governor has publicly weighed in on the issue —  Perry praised legislation filed by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, that would leave the decision up to local school districts. He also asked Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams to defer the state's rollout of the rule until the next school year.

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Education
10:30 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Texas Posts Top High School Graduation Rates, But Why?

Brian Gurrola for Texas Tribune

With witnesses in a school finance trial testifying daily on the challenges facing public education in the state, and with a chorus of state leaders citing the failings of traditional public schools in calling for reform, some may be surprised to hear that by one measure, Texas schools appear to be doing quite well.

Preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Education this week shows that Texas — along with five other states — ranks fourth in the nation for its four-year high school graduation rates. With an overall rate of 86 percent in the 2010-11 school year, the state follows Iowa, with 88 percent, and Wisconsin and Vermont, both at 87 percent.

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Education
2:59 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Gov. Perry Wants to Fast Track Vocational Certification in Texas

Gov. Rick Perry announced the creation of a Skilled Workforce Initiatve Tuesday.
KUT News

Governor Perry announced his intention Tuesday to launch a Skilled Workforce Initiative in Texas to address demand for certified, highly-skilled workers in the manufacturing sector.

The initiative would reduce the time it takes for students to earn vocational certification in certain high-demand fields, such as manufacturing and industrial business. Under the initiative, certification programs will award credit to students who enter the program already possessing some experience and skills necessary for certification.  Backers hope the program will allow students to get certified and begin filling jobs more quickly, while also saving them time and money by allowing them to bypass lessons on subjects they’ve already mastered.

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Education
6:56 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Texas School Districts, Charters Are Finalists in Federal Competition

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

By the end of the year, a few Texas school districts may have access to millions in funding that Gov. Rick Perry had passed on two years ago because of concerns about federal intrusion into Texas classrooms.

Since Texas refused to participate in Race to the Top at the state level in 2010, the Obama administration has rolled out a new version of its signature education program to allow districts to apply individually for a separate pot of about $400 million in federal money. Administration officials announced the new round of competition that would emphasize data-driven personalized student learning plans in 2011, after three phases of the state-based contest.

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Education
9:37 am
Tue November 27, 2012

AISD Superintendent Takes Stand in School Finance Trial

AISD Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Austin Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen is expected to take the stand again today in the school finance trial.

AISD is one of about 600 Texas school districts suing the state. AISD says the state has increased academic requirements, but failed to provide funding to pay for it.

The Texas Legislature cut $5.4 billion from public education last year.

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Education
1:30 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

UT-Austin Med School Plans Proceed After Election

First year resident Karthik Mekala, MD, watches Chief Maryam Ayaz, MD, check on a patient at UMC Brackenridge.
Callie Richmond via Texas Tribune

Despite its glowing reputation, Austin has faced a gap when compared with other major metropolitan areas: the lack of a medical school and the cutting-edge research it can provide.

But that gap appears to be closing after Travis County voters approved a five-cent property tax hike this month to help finance a plan to overhaul the region’s approach to health care — including the construction of a research-intensive medical school that will be affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin.

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Education
4:15 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

There's Oil on Them Thar Campuses!

Students in environmental science professor Jeffery Stone's class watch as a seismic shaker truck rolls through Indiana State University's campus.
Tony Campbell Courtesy of Indiana State University

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 5:14 pm

Imagine going to college and finding an oil rig on campus. That's becoming increasingly likely as oil and gas companies use a controversial technique commonly referred to as fracking to extract resources from land underneath campuses across the country.

Environmental science professor Jeffery Stone will never forget the day the earth shook on Indiana State University's campus in Terre Haute.

"They did it like in eight-second pulses, and you could feel the whole sidewalk wobble like an earthquake almost," Stone says.

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AISD
7:38 am
Tue November 20, 2012

New AISD Board Members Take Oath (Update)

New members will soon take to the dais at AISD headquarters.
KUT News

Update (Nov. 20, 7:38 a.m.): The dynamics of the Austin School Board of Trustees continue to shift. The board voted to elect officers last night—including two newcomers.

Vince Torres, District 4, will move from Vice President to President—replacing Mark Williams, who decided not to seek another term.

New member Gina Hinajosa, At Large Position 8, was picked to take Torres' place.

Another new member, Jayme Mathias, District 2, is taking over the role of Secretary. Lori Moya, District 6, had served in the role.

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AISD
1:21 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Here's What AISD’s Performing Arts Center Will Look Like

Artist's rendering of AISD's new performing arts center.
Pfluger Associates Architects

Four new Austin school board members will be sworn in tonight, and one of their first orders of business will be approving the maximum price of a new district-wide performing arts center in the Mueller development.

Contained in the agenda item are the final renderings showing exactly what the center would look like. You can click on the slideshow above to view the images, which were pulled from this AISD document.

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