Education

Education
10:43 am
Mon December 23, 2013

What GED Test Takers Can Expect With the New Test

A new GED test gets rolled out in January.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Exams are over for most students as schools close their doors for the holidays. But the GED is being revamped Jan. 1, and testing centers around the country have seen floods of people hoping to finish the exam.

The GED has five parts, and many test-takers have completed only a portion of the exam. If they don’t complete it by the end of the year, their scores will be wiped clean and they’ll have to retake it.

The new version of the GED is expected to more rigorous – and more expensive.

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Education
4:27 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

How Do Austin Students Compare to Other Cities?

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen (right), praised Austin students for thieir scores on a national test.
Roy Varney KUT

Austin public school students in fourth and eighth grade scored higher in math and reading than students in other large cities, according to results from a new government study released Wednesday. 

The report looks at results from a national standardized test given to 21 urban school districts with populations of 250,000 people or more. It’s part of the National Center for Education Statistics' National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

While the results are positive, the scores remained relatively flat from 2011 –  the last time Austin students took the test.

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UT Regents
7:59 am
Wed December 18, 2013

House Committee Begins Last Round of Hearings in UT Regent Investigation

The House Transparency Committee is wrapping up its investigation whether or not to file impeachment claims against UT Regent Wallace Hall this week.
flickr.com/wallyg

The Texas House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations wraps up its investigation this week that could lead to the impeachment of UT Regent Wallace Hall. 

University of Texas President William Powers Jr. and UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa will testify in hearings today and Thursday. Hall is not expected to testify this week. 

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Education
10:36 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Austin School Board Shows Support for Superintendent Carstarphen

AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen received a glowing evaluation from the Austin School Board last night. They praised her for improving graduation rates and keeping a balanced budget.
KUT News

If you attended your first Austin school board meeting Monday night, you would have never guessed Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has ever received criticism from school board members, the teachers union, Education Austin, or the Austin community.

Austin School Board President Vincent Torres commended the superintendent in the board's annual evaluation, recognizing the challenges the district faces and outlining the district's achievements over the last year. He highlighted improved graduation rates, dual language programs, early childhood education, and the superintendent's ability to balance the budget in the face of continued cuts from the state.

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School Security
8:46 am
Fri December 13, 2013

How Texas School Security Has Changed Since Sandy Hook

AISD Police Chief Eric Mendez and other AISD police officers applaud a graduate of the district’s Junior Police Academy in 2010.
flickr.com/phillipleconte

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The shooting left 20 students and six adults dead. It also caused school districts and lawmakers across the country to re-examine security protocols in schools – including Texas. 

“When you talk about Sandy Hook Elementary and what happened that day – I think that a lot of people believe that it created or caused a reaction by law enforcement, first responders – that somehow changed from what we had been doing," says Austin School District Police Chief Eric Mendez.

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University of Texas
4:50 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

UT President Bill Powers Survives Regents' Scrutiny, Keeps Job

Callie Richmond, flickr.com/thetexastribune

Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas at Austin, is staying in that job for the time being.

UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced his recommendation at this afternoon’s meeting of the Board of Regents in Austin. Cigarroa said he has had conflicts with Powers, but hopes that they can be overcome.

“There are problems,” he said. "I’ve addressed these problems. And it is my hopeful expectation that together President Powers and I will work towards resolving them and moving ahead.”

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UT Board of Regents
8:19 am
Thu December 12, 2013

UT Regents Put President Powers' Job On the Agenda: How We Got Here

UT Austin President Bill Powers' job is up for discussion during the UT Board of Regents executive session Thursday. It's the latest development in what's become a standoff between state leadership.
flickr.com/thetexastribune

The UT Board of Regents is expected to discuss the employment of University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers during its executive session today. It’s the first time his employment has been placed on the agenda for discussion – and the latest development in what’s become a power struggle among state leadership.

The scene: boardrooms, committee chambers or behind closed doors. The characters: men who hold power in the Texas capitol, or the UT Tower. But how did the situation get to this point?

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Education
11:54 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Hays CISD Plans to Build New Middle School

The Hays Growth Impact Committee projects student enrollment to increase upwards of 750 students per year.
Credit Roy Varney / KUT

The Hays Consolidated Independent School District is expected to move forward with their request for a $60 million bond. The bond would pay for the creation of a middle school, wireless and mobile devices and additional school buses.

The school district views the spending as necessary, if it wants to keep up with student enrollment growth. On Monday, the Hays CISD School Board will vote on a bond recommendation from the district's Growth Impact Committee, a group of citizens charged by the board to assess growth of the community.

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University of Texas
4:30 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

UT Regents to Discuss Employment of Bill Powers

The job performance of UT-Austin President Bill Powers, seen here in 2011, will be the subject of a closed-door discussion by the UT System Board of Regents this week.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The University of Texas System Board of Regents plans to discuss the employment of University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers during a closed-door executive session at its board meeting on Thursday.

Powers' job at the flagship university, which he has held for nearly eight years, has been believed by some to be in jeopardy since the appointment of new board members in 2011. Multiple board meetings have been preceded by rumors of his impending ousting, but the speculation has consistently proven incorrect.

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Higher Education in Central Texas
10:25 am
Mon December 9, 2013

The Serious Reason School Finals Week is Best for Playing With Puppies

Therapy dogs visited Southwestern University during Spring 2013 finals to help students relax.
Erica Grant, Southwestern University

Librarians are keeping late hours. Coffee shops are serving up triple-shot drinks to zombie-like customers. They’re all signs of one thing: college finals week.

The end of the semester creates an immense amount of stress on campus, which students handle with varying degrees of success. This year, area universities are providing a wider variety of services and resources to help students cope with the stress and anxiety.

In addition to the regular services offered by UT-Austin’s Counseling and Mental Health Center, including stress management tips for students and an online resource called Stress Recess, the university is hosting some more unorthodox events: UT Libraries partnered with the Austin Dog Alliance to bring therapy dogs to the Perry-Castañeda Library, Monday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Education
8:39 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Under HB 5, All Texas Schools Require 90 Percent Attendance Rate

Under House Bill 5, students in kindergarten through 12th grade will now need to attend at least 90 percent of class to receive a letter grade.
flickr.com/presta

Earlier this year, Texas lawmakers passed a law (House Bill 5) reducing high school testing and changing graduation requirements. The changes don’t fully go into effect until next school year, but one portion was immediately implemented: new attendance requirements.

Right now, all high school students must attend at least 90 percent of classes to receive credit. If they attend less than 75 to 89 percent of class, then they must create a plan with their school principal to complete missed work and lessons. If students don’t take that step, they risk failing the class or grade, and must petition the district's school board to see whether or not they can advance to the next grade level.

But under HB 5’s new attendance requirement, all students – kindergarten through 12th grade – must meet that 90 percent attendance mark. 

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
4:46 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Opposites in UT's Anti-Apartheid Movement Reflect, Remember Mandela

Former South African President Nelson Mandela greets photographers in Johannesburg in this 2005 photo.
Credit Reuters /Mike Hutchings /Landov

Thursday's passing of Nelson Mandela brought back many memories for Austinites: Mandela was an icon of a student-led anti-apartheid struggle at the University of Texas.

In the mid 80's, students held sit-ins, rallied on the mall, and broke into the president's office demanding divestment in South Africa. KUT’s David Brown recently sat down with two people who were, at that time, on opposite sides: William Cunningham, the former president of the University of Texas at Austin, and Derrick Eugene, a student leader in the anti-apartheid movement.

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Charter Schools
8:48 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Austin Charter Focuses on College Prep Despite New Grad Requirements

St. Edward's University is partnering with KIPP Austin Charter school to help more of its students go to college and get a degree.
www.flickr.com/pitmanra/

The charter school KIPP Austin is announcing a partnership Thursday with St. Edward’s University, in an effort to promote the charter school’s mission to prepare students for college and help them receive a degree.

The private university in South Austin will join more than 40 other colleges and universities nationwide that partner with the nonprofit charter school - including UT Austin and the University of Pennsylvania. 

The partnership comes as public school districts across the state begin implementing new state mandated high school graduation requirements. The requirements allow students to pursue a diploma that prepares them for college or a career. While charter schools like KIPP continue to focus on college, it's unclear what the new requirements that offer career or college preparation mean for low-income students at traditional public schools.

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AISD High Schools
1:32 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Interactive: Austin ISD Graduation Rates, Visualized

Overall graduation rates at AISD schools increased eight percentage points since Meria Carstarphen became AISD superintendent.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

During her State of the District address yesterday, Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen touted the rise in graduation rates among high school students in the district.

Since she began running the district in 2009, overall graduation rates have increased by eight percentage points. Graduation rates have increased in all subgroups, including Hispanics, English language learners and special education students.

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Leander ISD
11:59 am
Mon November 25, 2013

How HB 5's Shaping the Design of Leander's Newest High School

Leander ISD's sixth high school will be separated into academic houses organized by subject.
flickr.com/wired_gr

Leander ISD is on track to open its newest high school in 2016. Designed with flexibility in mind, the school will be ready to incorporate the high school curriculum changes brought on by House Bill 5.

The new legislation creates a "foundation" plan of classes that all students must complete to graduate, but it also allows students to earn an endorsement in one of five fields including business and industry, art and humanities, science and technology. 

When it comes to Leander ISD's sixth high school, Brad Pfluger of Pfluger Architects, the firm designing the new school, says the academic houses specialized by subject are an important feature. 

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