Education

Education
7:18 pm
Mon June 20, 2011

Mueller Advocates Challenge AISD Redistricting Maps

A two-minute countdown clock for people who address the school board during public hearings, such as tonight's on redistricting.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Ever since fresh US Census data revealed large population disparities in Austin ISD's seven trustee districts, AISD has been working to redraw those political boundaries.  One challenge is balancing voter influence without violating the Voting Rights Act by diluting the influence of protected minority groups.

Those sometimes conflicting goals may be tested around the Mueller redevelopment project, a planned mixed-use community being constructed on the site of what used to be a municipal airport.

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Education
10:55 am
Mon June 20, 2011

Austin ISD Makes TAKS Progress But More Schools Missed State Standards

Photo by KUT

Eighty percent of Austin ISD students passed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills this year, an important state standardized test used to rank school districts. It’s the first time AISD met that benchmark.

School board members will hear from staff on the preliminary TAKS results during tonight’s school board meeting. The school district provided a faxed copy of the PowerPoint presentation to KUT News.

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Education
12:14 pm
Fri June 17, 2011

Keeping Full Day Public Pre-K Alive, With Fees

Photo by NolanPhotog http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpnolan/

The 82nd Legislature delivered a fatal whack to state grants for full-day pre-kindergarten. But some public schools are refusing to let the budgetary machete finish off their early-childhood programs, choosing instead to charge tuition.

The state offers half-day pre-K for children who cannot speak English or are from homeless, low-income, foster or military families. That remains fully financed in the budget, according to the Texas Education Agency. 

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Education
1:58 pm
Thu June 16, 2011

Higher Ed "Coalition for Excellence" Formed in Texas

A view of the UT Austin campus from the tower in the Main Building.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

A powerful group of individuals — including former regents, former university system chancellors and former university presidents — from around Texas have joined together to address the state's ongoing higher education controversy.

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Education
4:53 pm
Mon June 13, 2011

Nine AISD Students Will Learn Mandarin in China This Summer

Shanghai is the largest city in China with more than 23 million residents.
Photo by tyler_haglund http://www.flickr.com/photos/haglundt/

With China poised to become the world’s economic leader within the next few decades, learning Mandarin might not be such a bad idea. And if you really want a jump start, try immersing yourself among the 23 million people who occupy China's largest city, Shanghai. That's what nine local high school students will be doing for six weeks this summer. 

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Education
12:59 pm
Mon June 13, 2011

ACC Kyle Campus Construction Held Up By Lawsuit

ACC's campus in South Austin.
Photo by jenbooks http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenbooks/

Austin Community College is waiting for a ruling from the Third Court of Appeals of Texas before it will move forward with construction of a new campus in Kyle.  The lawsuit by a Kyle dentist challenging the outcome of a November referendum also caused ACC to miss out on $20 million in federal bonds.

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Education
1:11 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

Austin School Board To Discuss Redistricting Process Monday

One of two proposed maps to redraw AISD Trustee boundaries in Austin. The red line shows existing boundaries and the colors reflected possible changes.
Image provided by Austin ISD

While it is unlikely to be as politically contentious as the Congressional redistricting process playing out at the State Capitol, the Austin Independent School District is nevertheless tasked with having to redraw boundaries for the seven regional seats on the school board.

The process has to happen before the 2012 general election, and it will not have any effect on school attendance zones.

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Education
12:21 pm
Wed June 8, 2011

Del Valle ISD Names Interim Superintendent

Dr. Kelly Crook was unanimously elected as interim superintendent by the Del Valle school board.
Photo courtesy Del Valle ISD

The Del Valle school board voted 8-0 last night to appoint assistant superintendent of business and finance Kelly Crook as interim superintendent, effective June 13.

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Education
1:28 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

AISD to Offer Paid Pre-K

For the first time this fall AISD will open up its pre-k program for parents willing to pay tuition.
Photo by KUT News.

This fall, for the first time ever, the Austin Independent School District is going to offer pre-kindergarten for those willing to pay tuition.  Right now free, full day pre-k is offered only for students who qualify.  

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Education
12:25 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

Austin ISD Will Close for a Week in July to Save Energy

A view from Austin ISD's headquarters on W. 6th St.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

No one really needs an excuse to take a week off in the summer, but the cash-strapped Austin Independent School District says it will save $471,000 by shutting schools and offices for five workdays in July.

All schools and offices will be closed from July 4-8. They will otherwise be on a four-day work week from June 27 to July 25. Employees will still have to put in their 40 hours during that time frame by working flexible ten-hour shifts.

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Education
10:55 am
Tue June 7, 2011

Report: Harmony Charter Schools Favor Turkish Contractors

A teacher instructs a student at a Harmony Charter School in North Houston.
Photo by Wenjing Zhang, Texas Tribune

The largest charter school operator in Texas, Harmony Charter Schools, has come under the scrupulous microscope of the New York Times.  The paper published a front page, top-of-the-fold blowout on Harmony’s links to the Gulen movement, a Turkish religious group.

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Education
2:39 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Public Education Supporters Protest Under Capitol Dome

Protestors in the Texas State Capitol this afternoon.
Photo by Hannah Jones for KUT News

Dozens of teachers, parents, students and public education advocates protested underneath the Capitol Dome today, urging state lawmakers to spend more of the Rainy Day Fund to reduce cuts to school districts.

“We have got to keep making noise, because it’s raining and that’s an ugly bill,” Louis Malfaro with the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers told the crowd. “So we say, ‘Fund our schools or don’t come back!’”

Protestors repeated the chant and it echoed throughout the cavernous rotunda.

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Education
12:27 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Highland Mall Land Could Soon Be 100 Percent Owned by ACC

Highland Mall is filled with vacant retail space like this former Dillard's location. By August, Austin Community College could own 100 percent of the land beneath the mall.
Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News

Land underneath the beleaguered Highland Mall could soon be under complete ownership of Austin Community College. ACC signed a $16 million deal for the former JC Penney and the surrounding parking lot.

It’s important to distinguish land ownership from building ownership.  ACC would possess all the property beneath the mall, but it would only own three of the four former department stores: the Dillard’s women’s store, Macy’s and JC Penney buildings.

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Education
12:30 pm
Fri June 3, 2011

Now You Can Live Stream AISD High School Graduation Online

Photo of AISD's website by KUT News

For the first time ever, Austin ISD is live streaming this week’s graduation ceremonies on its website.

“We’re doing it for family members who may be out of town and can’t be present at the graduation,” AISD spokesperson Kathy Anthony told KUT News. “Or for teachers, for instance, who are back their campuses and not attending graduation and want to watch the proceedings.”

A link to the live stream is posted on AISD’s front page. Today's ceremonies got underway at noon at the Frank Erwin Center.

Here is the schedule:

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Education
11:13 am
Thu June 2, 2011

Austin ISD Gets $4.6 Million For All-Boys School

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

After months of talk about creating an all-boys version of the Anne Richards School for Young Women Leaders, the Austin Independent School District says it is getting $4.6 million over seven years from the Moody Foundation to help create a School for Young Men.

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Education
12:18 pm
Wed June 1, 2011

Who's Not Graduating From AISD This Week?

Austin ISD headquarters.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Hundreds of students in the Austin Independent School District will mark a major milestone this week when they walk down the aisle and receive their high school diplomas. Unfortunately, some teenagers won't get to participate because they failed to meet graduation requirements. 

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Education
5:03 pm
Thu May 26, 2011

TEA Releases Statewide TAKS Results

Texas Education Agency headquarters on Congress Ave. near 17th St.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

It’s the last full year that the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills will be administered to students in this state before a new standardized test takes it place, and the Texas Education Agency is heralding the exam as a resounding success.

TEA released statewide results today, and said passing rates on every test in every grade level improved dramatically since the exam was first given in 2003.

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Education
10:15 am
Tue May 24, 2011

AISD Board Approves Facility Plan Timeline

Photo by KUT News

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees has approved a timeline for finishing the district’s controversial Facility Master Plan. At a meeting Monday night, the board okayed the timeline set out by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. 

A report presented to the board in March by a citizens’ task force suggested closing as many as nine schools.

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Education
4:36 pm
Mon May 23, 2011

School? On Memorial Day?!

A bus much like this one will take Austin ISD students to school this Memorial Day to make up for a snow day last February.
Photo by KUT News.

A note to those students (and maybe some teachers and staff) who were celebrating a snow day in Austin last February 4th: It's time to pay the piper.

Memorial Day, May 30th, is a "bad weather make-up day" for the Austin School District. All district schools will be open to make up for the day that was lost during the epic around-an-inch of snowfall that hit the area last February.

Education
4:22 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Austin’s LASA Scores High In National School Ranking

Students in the Liberal Arts and Science Program at LBJ High School
Photo by Austin ISD

The magnet program at LBJ High School, the Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA), is the highest ranked Austin high school in a new national ranking.  LASA placed 29th out of more than 1,900 public schools nation-wide. 

The Washington Post’s Jay Matthews ranked high schools across the country using the so-called Challenge Index, which the Post says is a relatively simple measure.

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