public education

2014 Governor's Race
8:44 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Education Funding to Play Key Role in Texas Governor's Race

State Senator Wendy Davis, the presumed Democratic nominee for Texas Governor and Attorney General Greg Abbott, the presumed GOP nominee.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera & Bob Daemmrich via Texas Tribune

The first time State Senator Wendy Davis made waves as a Texas lawmaker was during the 2011 legislative session when she filibustered a budget that cut four billion dollars in funding for public schools.

“It’s the first time that we’ve ever done this in state history and the funding of public education and it’s a cut that I simply cannot stand for," Davis said during that filibuster.

But stand she did, pushing the 2011 legislature into a special session, where the budget plan were eventually approved anyway with the cuts included.

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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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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
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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Education
4:02 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Now That 'Ink's Dry' on HB 5, Future of Texas Education Bill Secured

Gov. Rick Perry shakes hands with Senate Education Chair Dan Patrick as State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, author of House Bill 5, laughs in the center on June 10, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Speculation over a major overhaul of public education in Texas ended today when Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 5. 

The measure drops required standardized exams, known as the STAAR tests, from 15 to 5.

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Politics
7:33 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Will Gov. Perry Veto House Bill 5?

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The future of high school graduation standards in Texas remains up in the air as Governor Perry considers whether to sign or veto House Bill 5. The legislation reduces the emphasis on standardized testing by lowering the number of end-of-course exams needed to graduate from 15 to 5. It also provides an alternative pathway to graduation that focuses on vocational education instead of college readiness.

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83rd Texas Legislature
10:54 am
Tue May 28, 2013

83rd Lege's Regular Session: What Happened, What Didn't

Bob Daemmrich/Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Todd Wiseman via Texas Tribune

It's been a whirlwind of an end to the 83rd Legislature's regular session, and with Monday's announcement of a special session, lawmakers aren't done. Here's a look at the deals reached and the measures that fell short during the 140 days of the regular session. 

BUDGET

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Politics
5:30 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Agenda Texas: What's Left To Do?

Lots to do...with little time left in the Legislature
KUT News

When the Texas legislative session started in January, lawmakers came to Austin with money to spend and a specific set of priorities. House Speaker Joe Straus laid out those goals during an opening press conference with Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

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Education
10:36 am
Fri April 12, 2013

In Texas, Nixing Algebra II Not Out of the Equation

Hank Warner teaches a pre-advanced placement algebra course for ninth-graders at Bowie High School in Austin.
Tamir Kalifa/Texas Tribune

As Texas re-examines what students should learn in order to earn a high school diploma, no part of the state’s curriculum has attracted more attention than a single advanced math course.

In response to calls from educators and employers for graduation standards that allow more opportunities for career-training courses, the state Legislature is considering more flexible diploma requirements that do not include algebra II as a core credit for all students.

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2013 Legislative Session
2:46 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Texas Senate Considers School 'Voucher' Bills, Despite House Ban (Update)

State Sen. Patrick's bill does not involve funds that would go to the Texas Education Agency.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

UPDATE 5:59 The Senate Committee on Education heard SB 1575 this afternoon from educators and parents supporting the so-called voucher program that would give parents money to move their children from public to private schools. 

The bill’s author Senator Donna Campbell of New Braunfels said that parents and students should have a choice in schooling and claim that failing public schools set back children across the state.

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Politics
8:25 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Texas House, Senate to Iron Out Budget Differences

Lawmakers in the Texas House and Senate will begin to work out differing views on the budget.
Muliadi Soenaryo via Texas Tribune

Texas lawmakers in the House and Senate will soon begin working out differences between their budgets. 

The longest and probably most heated debate over the budget happened last Thursday. That’s when the House passed its amended version of the state spending plan for the next two years.

Every session, House and Senate members disagree on how much to spend and which line item should get how much funding. Kate Alexander said this session will be no different.

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Education
7:44 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Texas Education Experts Weigh Proposals' Impact on Students

Bills passing through the Texas Legislature stir debate on impact to students, especially minorities.
flickr.com/alamosbasement

Story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM

The Texas Legislature is debating bills intended to help more students graduate from high school, by reducing the emphasis on standardized tests and increasing the emphasis on the kinds of education they need to be productive members of the workforce.  

This week, the House passed House Bill 5, which would let high school students take a path to college or take a route intended to lead them more quickly to work. The bill also would drop the number of STAAR exams from 15 to 5.

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Politics
7:06 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Texas House Passes Public Education Requirements Bill

Texas House lawmakers passed a public education overhaul bill.
Photo by Ryland Barton for KUT News.

After roughly 9 hours of debate, Texas House lawmakers passed a bill that would change the requirements high students must meet in order to graduate. The House voted 145 to 2 in favor of the legislation authored by Republican State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock

Lawmakers debated amendments, and amendments to amendments, on the House floor Tuesday, as they decided the public education reform bill they’d send on to the Senate.

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Politics
5:34 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Senate Passes Budget That Reverses Some 2011 Cuts

The Senate's budget bill includes more spending on education than the 2011 budget had.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate approved a budget for the next two years today, one that would restore some of the cuts from two years ago.

A balanced budget is the one thing the Texas Constitution requires lawmakers to pass when they meet in Austin every two years.

Much of the attention this session is on funding for public education, which lost about $4 billion in the budget passed in 2011.

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Education
7:00 am
Tue March 19, 2013

New AISD Elementary School Named After Former Teacher

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: The new elementary school being built in north Austin now has a name: Dr. Janis Guerrero Thompson Elementary. The Austin Independent School District Board voted last night to approve the name.

Dr. Guerrero Thompson was a native Austinite who taught high school in AISD and later worked as the district’s Executive Director for Planning and Community Relations.

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83rd Texas Legislature
12:55 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Senate Panel Approves More Money for Public Schools

August 29th Senate Committee on Finance with newly appointed Chair Sen. Tommy Williams R-The Woodlands.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera via Texas Tribune

A panel of senators voted to put $1.5 billion in additional funding for public education in the two-year state budget on Thursday — including $40 million for pre-kindergarten programs, $20 million for the state's Virtual School Network and $4 million to support Teach for America.

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Education
4:30 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

'Save Texas Schools' March Heads to Capitol Saturday Morning

The group plans to march to the capitol on Saturday.
savetxschools.org/photo-gallery

"Save Texas Schools" will march to the Texas State Capitol tomorrow morning. The group hopes to encourage Texas lawmakers to support public education by restoring funding cut from Texas schools last legislative session.

The march will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Congress Avenue and Riverside Drive. The group will march north on Congress to the capitol.

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Education
9:00 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Bastrop ISD 'Welcomes' Look Into Discrimination Charges

Bastrop ISD Superintendent Steve Murray says the district embraces "the diverse nature of our district and see it as a strength and benefit to all involved."
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

In a letter to parents titled "BISD Welcomes OCR", Bastrop Independent School District Superintendent Steve Murray says his school district welcomes an investigation from the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

The investigation is over allegations that Bastrop ISD has practiced "class-wide discrimination" against African-American and Hispanic employees and students.

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Texas
10:34 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Tribcast: Breaking Down the Texas School Finance Ruling

Reeve Hamilton, Ross Ramsey, Ben Philpott and Morgan Smith
Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Your weekly round up of Texas political news

On this week's KUT/Texas Tribune Tribcast, we go over the Texas public school finance ruling, which includes a call to add around $10 billion to the state's school budget.

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Education
11:07 am
Thu January 31, 2013

AISD Transfer Deadline Today

Transferring schools in AISD gets more difficult after today's deadline.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Today is the deadline to apply for priority school transfers in the Austin Independent School District for next school year.

Non-priority transfers to be considered during the first-round lottery selection are also due today. All applications need to be delivered in person to the Office of Student Services at the Carruth Administration Center by 5 p.m. or postmarked by today’s date.

Applications that aren't received by today will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis when space is available at the desired school. All transfer requests for the fall of 2014 must be received by Aug. 12.

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