STAAR

AM Update
8:54 am
Thu June 14, 2012

AM Update: STAAR Retesting Costs, 'Stand Your Ground' Guilty Verdict, AISD Police Dog Retires

Hundreds of Texas students will retake STAAR exams this summer; Raul Rodriguez is convicted of murdering a neighbor in 2010; Buddy retires from the Austin ISD Police force.
by KUT News; Photo courtesy Harris County Sheriff's Department; Photo courtesy AISD

STAAR Retesting Costing School Districts

Hundreds of Texas students will spend time in summer classes, preparing to retake their STAAR exams.

The STAAR exams replaced the TAKS tests this year. As students and districts adjust to the new tests, performance standards and requirements are being phased in. The results of this year’s scores did not affect students’ final grades, but students still have to retake tests on subjects they didn’t achieve a minimum score in.

Our reporting partner The Texas Tribune writes that the summer classes and retakes are leaving schools with hefty bills, as districts have to hire teachers to conduct these classes.

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Education
11:02 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Budget, STAAR, Single-Sex Schools at Tonight's AISD Meeting

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin school board members meet tonight and they have a lot to talk about. The nine men and women who govern the largest district in Central Texas will get a first glance tonight at how well students in Austin did on the state’s new standardized test – the STAAR exam.

So far, much like the state outcomes, AISD results are mixed. Almost half of high school students failed the writing test. But more than four out of five passed the high school biology test.

Why the big difference? One major reason is this: A passing grade on the writing test is 65 percent. A passing grade in biology is 37 percent.

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AM Update
8:15 am
Mon March 26, 2012

AM Update: Discrimination Against Overweight Job Applicants, STAAR Test Begins, Baylor's NCAA Bow

A Victoria hospital is under fire for its ban on overweight applicants.
Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Victoria Hospital Bans Overweight Job Applicants

KUT News' reporting partner, The Texas Tribune, reports a hospital in Victoria, Texas, bans job applicants from employment for being too overweight.

The Citizens Medical Center policy, instituted a little more than a year ago, requires potential employees to have a body mass index of less than 35 — which is 210 pounds for someone who is 5-foot-5, and 245 pounds for someone who is 5-foot-10. It states that an employee’s physique “should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional,” including an appearance “free from distraction” for hospital patients.

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Education
11:04 am
Wed March 21, 2012

School Districts Take Advantage of STAAR Rule Change

Photo by Rune Mathisen, Texas Tribune

As the first of 2.5 million Texas public school students prepare to take new state-mandated standardized tests next week, ninth graders in at least a third of the state’s school districts won’t have to worry about how the test will affect their end-of-year grades. 

As of Tuesday, 405 of the state’s roughly 1,200 school districts had told the Texas Education Agency that they would not factor State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) scores into students’ grades for the 2011-12 school year.

The districts have said they will defer the implementation of a rule that says the new end-of-course exams must account for 15 percent of high school students' grades for one year. They are taking advantage of a change in the rollout of the exams the Texas Education Agency announced in February. For many, it was a welcome compromise as the state transitioned to the new system.

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Austin
8:52 am
Tue February 28, 2012

AM Update: Another Redistricting Deadline, STAAR Rule Deferred, Weekend Rail on the Way?

An agreement on Texas redistricting maps must be reached this weekend to preserve a May 29 primary.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/joegratz

Redistricting Maps Must be Drawn By Saturday for May Primaries

According to the Texas Tribune, if redistricting maps are not drawn by Saturday, March 3 then primaries will move to June.

The Tribune reports that the primaries cannot be held on May 29 if the deadline is not met this weekend. Instead, the date will yet again be pushed back, this time to June 26.

“The lawyers working on House maps have been pushing back and forth, primarily on three districts, and haven't produced an accord. And congressional maps, several lawyers have said, will have to be drawn by the three federal judges in San Antonio, because the parties can't seem to find common ground."

If the primaries are held in late May or June, the primary runoffs will be delayed to July 31 or August 28 reports the Tribune.

KUT News' Andy Uhler sheds some light on the court's long battle over the redistricting maps.

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austin
9:02 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Top Morning Stories 2/13/12: Districts React to STAAR, Texas on Top in Exporting

At their headquarters on West Sixth tonight, AISD will consider the role the STAASR test should play in determining students' grades.
KUT News

STAAR-Crossed Educators Take Second Look at Test

Districts from across Texas are finding ways to curtail a component of the STAAR exam that makes the test  count towards students' grade-point averages and class rank, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The move comes in the wake of a growing unease with the role of standardized testing.

While the exam is required by law to compose 15 percent of a student's grade in each course, no specific guideline for doing so exists. With that leeway, individual districts are taking the reins into their own hands. Georgetown and Pflugerville, for example, have set minimum scores on end-of-course exams at 60 and 69, respectively.

In Austin, AISD has polled parents on several potential courses of action. Currently, all of the proposed options would affect class rank.  But now with the actions of surrounding districts, AISD is poised to change how they'll incorporate the scores.

The Austin school board will meet today to discuss end-of-course exams. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m., Carruth Administration Center Board Auditorium, Room B100, 1111 W. Sixth St.

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Texas
8:41 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Top Morning Stories 2/6/12: Perry's Public Return, Testing Foes Sharpen Criticism

Rick Perry and supporters in Iowa. Perry's speech tonight will mark his first public appearance since returning to Texas.
Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News

Governor to Speak at Reagan Dinner

Gov. Rick Perry will be the keynote speaker tonight at the annual Williamson County Reagan Dinner.

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Austin
8:52 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Top Morning Stories 1/23/12: Public Hearing on AISD Bond Money

AISD Headquarters located on 1111 W. 6 street.
Photo by KUT News

AISD Public Hearing on Bond Money

During the Austin ISD’s school board meeting tonight there will be a public hearing on how to spend the 2008 Bond Program's contingency funds. The 2008 bond initiative gave the district $343 million to spend on projects to meet new health requirements and to upgrade technology.

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News Brief
6:05 am
Fri July 29, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 29, 2011

The Austin City Council Thursday approved a resolution, sponsored by Council Members Bill Spelman, Laura Morrison and Chris Riley, to research the costs of temporarily stopping construction of the controversial Water Treatment Plant 4.
Photo by KUT News.

City Taking a 2nd Look at WTP4

The Austin City Council  approved a resolution Thursday to look into how much it would cost the city to postpone construction of the rest of Water Treatment Plant No. 4  for five or ten years.

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