Education

Austin ISD, the University of Texas, Austin Community College, Texas A&M University, charter schools, legislative issues, and anything else related to K-12, public education, higher education and workforce development in Central Texas, Travis County, and Austin.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

After teaching for 36 years in the Rio Grande Valley, Rosalva Reyna looked at her pension and health plan in July 2016 and decided she could live a comfortable life and finally retire.

Reyes thought "no more work." But that quickly changed, she said.

“At this point. I’m seriously considering going back to work," Reyna said. "A retired teacher going back to work — so I can pay my medical [bills].”

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The number of students in Texas accused of making terroristic threats or exhibiting a firearm increased significantly in the first five months of 2018 compared with last year, according to a new report from Texas Appleseed.

The report's co-author, Morgan Craven, director of the nonprofit's School-to-Prison Pipeline Project, said there was a large spike in February after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. While some of those threats were real, she said, legal action in other cases was too extreme.

This episode was originally posted on Dec. 17, 2017.

There has been an ongoing debate in education about a staple of the school landscape: homework. Do students get too much? Too little? What role does - and should - homework play in education? In this episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss all things homework.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

As a taxpayer, this is a big year for Amanda Braziel.

The Austin Independent School District librarian has owned a home in Central Austin for 15 years. This year, the property tax bill for her house, which is appraised at around $363,757, was $4,336. That's a lot for a public school librarian whose gross monthly income is about $4,192.

“I’m essentially paying more in property taxes than I bring home from one month working in AISD,” she says.

Does all the money collected in recapture stay in education or is it used for other state-funded programs? Yes, all recapture money is put into the education fund.

Which school districts receive recapture dollars? The state doesn’t track where each recapture dollar goes. Because the money is put into the general education fund, it gets mixed in with sales taxes, money from the lottery and other funding streams.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

When students at Mendez Middle School return to school next month, there will be new curriculum – and a new principal.

After Mendez failed state standards four years in a row, the district agreed to let an outside group run the school, and that group hired a new principal this summer, Joanna Carrillo-Rowley from Midland.

This episode was originally posted on Dec. 10, 2017.

"Whaddya get?" That's the question students often ask each other after graded exams or papers are handed back. Competition among students persists in education. In this episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss if that kind of competition is ever productive or useful for learning.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

President Trump’s decision to roll back Obama-era guidelines supporting race-based college admissions could mean another legal challenge for UT Austin.

Since the university began factoring race and ethnicity into its admissions in 2003, UT says it has increased student body diversity.  But it has also been embroiled in a continual court battle over the legality of affirmative action – a battle that could end if Brett Kavanaugh fills the soon-to-be-vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

This episode was originally posted on Dec. 3, 2017.

Puzzlers can be fun and challenging and can also help us think about some of life's bigger questions. In this episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger puzzle through solutions to some especially tough riddles.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The Trump administration is rescinding Obama-era guidance to colleges and universities that encouraged schools to take a person's race into account in admissions to diversify the student population.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Twelve percent of teenagers in Texas said they attempted suicide in 2017, according to a report released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's higher than the national average of 7 percent.

Seventeen percent of ninth- through 12th-graders surveyed in Texas said they seriously considered suicide last year, and 14 percent said they had made a plan for how to do it.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s a typical summer day at Emily Herrington’s house in Northeast Austin. Her two daughters, Penly, 7, and Laurel, 3, are playing with their kittens and reading books in the living room.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The most basic thing to understand about school funding is that every student in the state of Texas has a dollar figure hanging over his or her head. But not every kid is worth the same amount of money in the eyes of state.

How Does Recapture Affect School Funding In Texas?

Jun 27, 2018
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A large chunk of funding for schools in Austin comes from property taxes, and as many Austinites know, those keep going up every year.

This episode was originally posted on Nov. 19, 2017.

T-E-S-T. That word almost always strikes fear in the hearts of students. They're worried about doing well, getting a high grade and comparing their performance to that of their classmates. In this episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore stressful test culture.


Martin do Nascimento / KUT

As Austin’s property taxes continue to rise, so does the amount on the check AISD writes to the state.

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees approved a budget Monday night that sends more than half of its local tax revenue away from the district. Texas law requires wealthier districts to send a portion of their property taxes back to the state to help out smaller, poorer districts in a program known as “recapture.”

This episode was originally posted on Nov. 12, 2017.

Our path through formal education is pretty prescribed through the early years.  But in middle school, high school, college and beyond, students have more latitude in choosing their own classes and course of study. In this episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss who knows best when making those decisions about which classes to take: students? parents? teachers?


Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

Wylie Independent School District prepares for armed intruders in a variety of ways, from active shooter drills to safety-themed coloring books. Some school staff are trained to be armed marshals and are ready to shoot if there's a threat.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Texas activists pushing for a high school course on Mexican-American history won a hard-fought victory in April, when the State Board of Education voted to create the class. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A group of law enforcement officers told Texas senators today that they don't think the governor's plan to “harden” schools is the best way to keep students safe.

“Give us more campus officers,” Joe Curiel, police chief for San Antonio Independent School District Police Department, told the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas’ system for paying for schools is complicated, and for most of you with jobs, kids and lives, it's hard to find time to learn the ins and outs of it.

So, we’re starting a project called Filling in the Blanks to demystify the process and answer your questions – big and small – about how the state pays for schools and why it got that way.

This episode was originally published on Oct. 22, 2017.

In a recent episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger answered a listener's question about how to know when it's the right decision to transfer schools. In this episode, they take that discussion a step further to answer a related and important question: How can students know if they're getting a "good" education? What does it even mean to describe an education as "good"?


This episode was originally published on Sept. 17, 2017.

Sometimes, a relationship doesn't feel like a good match. You can't put your finger on it, but it just feels like it's time to move on. That feeling can crop up in personal relationships, as well as in our relationships with schools. In this episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger answer a question from a listener who wanted to know whether transferring from one college to another is the right decision.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School district is hosting a picnic Saturday to introduce the Norman and Sims elementary school communities to one another before they combine as one school in August.

Students from Norman will go to school in the Sims building next yer, while Norman gets a major renovation. The merger came out of the bond voters passed in November.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Austin School Board President Kendall Pace said this morning that she would resign from her position as president and as Place 9 trustee after controversial text messages she sent to another board trustee surfaced last week.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

In the hours after a deadly shooting at a southeast Texas high school left at least 10 dead and 10 more wounded, a familiar debate began to emerge — pitting the state’s top Republican leaders against some of the Democrats vying to take their spots in this year’s elections.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Education Austin, the union for Austin ISD's employees, called for the resignation of School Board President Kendall Pace after inflammatory texts she sent to another board member surfaced.

The texts to Julie Cowan include name calling and harsh language toward others in Austin's education community, which was one reason the union called for her resignation. But there's a lot in the texts that require context to understand.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin teachers' union is asking School Board President Kendall Pace to resign after she sent an "offensive" text message to another board member.

Remember that old adage about what happens when we assume something? (Hint: break the word down into smaller parts and you'll get it!). Seriously, making assumptions can impact how we approach and learn information. Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and I spend this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed" exploring why we make assumptions; how they affect learning and problem-solving; and how we can approach education with a more open mind.

Andrea Garcia for KUT

A UT Austin program aimed at expanding ideas of masculinity has been put on hold after conservative media outlets accused it of treating masculinity as a mental health issue.

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