Education

School Attendance
10:24 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Missing One Day of School Costs Your District 38 Dollars

Central Texas school districts and organizations are relaunching a campaign to increase attendance rates at schools.
flickr.com/alamosbasement

The local non-profit, E3 Alliance, has relaunched its Missing School Matters campaign as the new academic year gets underway. It's reminding students why it's important to go to class, especially in Central Texas, where students miss more days of school than their peers across the state in every grade.

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Education
5:33 am
Thu September 5, 2013

College Enrollment Drops Overall, But Spikes Among Latinos

The number of Latino college students has been on a steady uptick since the mid-2000s.
Michael DeLeon iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 9:30 am

Here's the latest dispatch from our country's changing classrooms: Overall, there were half a million fewer students nationwide enrolled in colleges between 2011 and 2012, but the number of Latinos enrolled in college over the same period jumped by 447,000. The numbers come from a recent U.S. Census Bureau report.

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AISD
10:23 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Meme Mix-Up: 'Unhelpful High School Teacher' in Austin School Guide

This image of an AISD publication posted on Reddit features the same art as a popular meme: Unhelpful High School Teacher.
reddit.com/r/austin

One of the dangers in using a stock photo? You never know who else has used it.

That’s the situation the Austin School District is finding itself in. As a post on the Austin Reddit page points out, the stock photo gracing the cover of AISD’s guide for new hires is the same photo used in a popular, unfortunately named meme: Unhelpful High School Teacher.

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University of Texas
4:54 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

UT: No Proof of 'Bleach Bombs' in West Campus Water Balloon Attacks


The corner of W. 23rd and Pearl Streets, the approximate location of last week's water balloon attack. View Larger Map.

So-called “bleach bomb” attacks on the UT campus may not have happened as thought.

Last week, a UT student was hit by a balloon while walking down near a private dorm near West 24th Street –similar to an attack last fall. The incidents sparked protests against racism and conversations over whether UT is a hostile environment for minority students.

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Education
7:56 am
Wed August 28, 2013

AISD Board Approves Budget, Domestic Partner Benefits

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

Austin Independent School District employees will start to learn more today about adding an unmarried partner to their health insurance benefits.

The AISD board approved last night expanding benefits to people a district spokesman calls the “unmarried, committed” partners of regular, full-time AISD employees.

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Education
5:53 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Odds Stacked Against Four-Year College Graduation

Just over half of entering UT-Austin college freshmen graduate in four years – and that's the highest rate at four-year public colleges in Texas.
KUT News

A new school year starts today for the more than 50,000 students at the University of Texas at Austin. Students at St. Edwards, Huston-Tillotson, Southwestern and Texas State also started classes this week.

But how many of those students are prepared for college success and on-time graduation? The numbers don’t look so good.

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Education
3:36 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Bilingual Education: What Does it Mean for Austin's Spanish Speakers?

Some non-English speaking students must transfer schools to receive a dual-language lessons in English and their native language. But placement is not guaranteed — schools offering the programs only accept a limited number of students.
AISD

Nearly a third of all AISD students -- about 25,000 -- are so-called English-learning students, a 35 percent increase over the last five years. Despite programs aimed at encouraging high English proficiency, the district still finds low academic performance among Hispanic students. 

But with the need for qualified bilingual workers and a Hispanic population that is on track to become the majority in Texas by 2040, some wonder what the future of bilingual education means for students in Austin.

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Education
10:57 am
Tue August 27, 2013

How Travis Heights Elementary Could Change Schools in Austin

Travis Heights School gives teachers and administrators more autonomy in making decisions on lesson plans, food choices and the school's budget.
flickr.com/nabewise

More than 86,000 students in the Austin Independent School District returned to school this week. But at Travis Heights Elementary School, teachers, parents and students are starting a new chapter in the school’s history as the first in-district charter school in Austin. 

If the model catches on, the school could also change how things in the district work, with teachers and administrators having more control over curriculum, scheduling, the budget and even what's served in the cafeteria. 

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Education
1:45 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

AISD Head Talks Challenges, Successes and Changes in Austin's Public Schools

KUT News

Today is the first day of school for Austin ISD, and that means nearly 90,000 students filling hallways. Meria Carstarphen, AISD’s superintendent, sees the biggest challenges in a successful year as student safety, school funding, and STAAR testing.

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Education
11:45 am
Thu August 22, 2013

President Unveils Plan To Boost College Affordability

President Obama speaks on education at University at Buffalo, State University of New York, on Thursday.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 6:25 pm

Saying a college education is the "surest path to the middle class," President Obama announced a plan Thursday to allocate federal aid to colleges and universities based in part on their affordability.

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Education
5:01 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

AISD Could Offer Domestic Partner Benefits by the End of the Year

After postponing domestic partner benefits, AISD now says they will ofter domestic partner benefits to all qualified individuals based on a new set of criteria
KUT News

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says the district hopes to offer open enrollment for domestic partner benefits as soon as this fall.

"While we still have a few obstacles to overcome, legal and otherwise, a clear path forward has emerged,” Carstarphen said in a recorded video as part of AISD's annual convocation on Wednesday. “Employees will have the opportunity to add new, qualifying individuals to their coverage as part of a separate enrollment period as soon as October 2013."

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AISD
2:38 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

AISD's School For Young Men is On Hold Indefinitely

AISD had plans to open a school for young men at its Alternative Learning Center. But the failure of a bond proposition has tabled the project.
Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Public school begins next week in Austin, but Austin ISD's plan to open a School for Young Men remains in limbo. The district faces many hurdles to open the school, following the failure a bond proposition this May.

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Higher Education
4:41 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

More College Students Rely On Federal Aid, Study Says

For the first time, a majority of students got federal help to attend college, according to a new U.S. survey. Here, people walk on the Columbia University campus in July.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 4:21 pm

The percentage of U.S. undergrads who rely on the federal government for financial aid soared above 50 percent in the most recent survey from the National Center for Education Statistics. The data show that for the first time, a majority of students got federal help.

NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports for our Newscast unit:

"The new figures from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that from 2007 to 2011, the percentage of undergraduate students who depend on federal loans and grants jumped from 47 percent to 57 percent.

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University of Texas
1:47 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Bill Livingston, Former Acting President and Voice of UT, Dies

Livingston was a lifetime Longhorn who voiced UT's phone enrollment system, TEX.
Marsha Miller, The University of Texas at Austin

William S. Livingston, an educator and scholar who served as acting president for the University of Texas' flagship campus, passed away this morning at the age of 93.

Livingston joined the university in 1949 as a political science instructor. Before retiring from UT nearly 60 years later, he amassed an impressive string of positions on campus, including Chairman of the Government Department, Vice Chancellor for Academic Programs for the UT System, and Chairman of the Comparative Studies Program.

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AISD
5:03 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

A 'School to Prison Pipeline?' Lawyers Ask AISD to Rethink Ticketing Students

Austin attorneys say the criminalization of student discipline is unfairly putting kids in the legal system.
KUT News

The Austin Lawyers Guild wants Austin schools to end disciplinary policy of ticketing students for minor misbehaviors – a practice it says creates a “school-to-prison pipeline” for troubled students.  

They want the school district to changes its policies for the upcoming school year. Last year, Texas schools issued over 300,000 non-traffic tickets to students with the most common offenses being truancy, disorderly conduct and simple assault.

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Education
5:26 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

What Does House Bill 5 Mean For the Future of Texas High Schools?

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

Texas high schools are preparing for major changes to graduation requirements. Under a new law, schools will have less standardized testing. But when it comes to implementing the new legislation, many questions are yet to be answered. 

The State Board of Education hashed out the details today of how to enforce the new high school graduation requirements that go into effect in the 2014-15 school year. Monica Martinez, managing director of curriculum for the Texas Education Agency, noted the challenges of implementing standards consistently statewide. 

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Education
7:03 am
Thu August 1, 2013

So-Called 'Anti-American' Lesson Plans Available in Public Domain?

Education officials are questioning whether Texas teachers can use previously downloaded CSCOPE lesson plans after lawmakers announced the company would not be producing any more lessons.
flickr.com/ajalfaro

School starts in three weeks and, for many school districts across Texas, there’s still some confusion over whether teachers can use a system of lesson plans. The so-called CSCOPE lesson plans drew fire over allegations they promoted anti-American ideas. During the legislative session, Republican lawmakers announced Texas teachers would no longer use the plans and the non-profit, quasi-state agency that published them would cease to.

State Board of Education leaders say the controversy surrounding CSCOPE will most likely continue into the fall.

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Education
11:05 am
Tue July 30, 2013

AmeriCorps Working for Turnarounds at Reagan, Travis High Schools

Reagan High School (pictured) is one of two Austin schools earmarked under AmeriCorps School Turnaround initiative
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Picture 90 educational volunteers: That’s the number of AmeriCorps members the Austin school district is placing at two of its high schools for the next three years. 

It’s all part of the School Turnaround AmeriCorps initiative, a new program aimed at placing AmeriCorps members in some of the nation’s lowest performing schools. AISD was one of thirteen school districts that were chosen nationwide.  

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Education
9:34 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Program Helps Texas Foster Care Youth Go to College - For Free

Loretta Edelen, foster care alumni coordinator with Austin Community College, shares college tips with foster care alumni at the Round Rock Campus on July 24, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Heading to college is confusing under the best of circumstances. But for many young people aging out of foster care, the challenges can be almost impossible to overcome.

Some schools in Texas host programs each year aimed at trying to help foster kids make the transition.

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Education
4:53 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

HB 5 Architect Wants to Leave Implementation to Districts

HB 5 would create different paths for graduation for students to choose based on their interests.

The author of the new state law overhauling many aspects of public education in Texas says he wants school districts to decide how to implement the new standards, not the State Board of Education.

State Rep. Jimmie Aycock (R-Killeen) told the Board Friday that HB 5 was crafted to give local school boards flexibility in establishing paths to graduation. But he’s concerned the SBOE will create too many requirements that will counteract the goal of the bill. He wants to leave it local school districts.

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