Claire McInerny | KUT

Education Reporter

Claire McInerny is the education reporter for KUT. Previously, she was a statewide education reporter for NPR member stations in Indiana. She won an Edward R. Murrow award for a series she did there about resources for English Language Learners in the state’s rural school districts. Claire is originally from Kansas, and got a journalism degree from the University of Kansas. Since moving to Texas, she’s never missed winter. 

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Claire McInerny / KUT

Students in Central Texas miss more days of school than kids in any other part of the state.

Around 10 percent of local students are chronically absent, meaning they miss more than 18 school days a year. A quarter of Austin 12th-graders miss that much school.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

At a September meeting of the Austin Independent School District's board of trustees, almost half of the public comments weren't about academic issues. Instead, they were about housing. Students, parents, teachers and other community members were asking the board to create affordable housing at the former Allan Elementary School on the East Side.

Students in Victoria Twining's class at Fulmore Middle School in Austin.
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Fulmore Middle School Principal Lisa Bush doesn’t want her teachers talking like this to students: "Oh, you’re doing a great job! You’re smart! You’re so great!"

It's not because she’s some evil headmistress. Over the last three years, Bush and her teachers have been thinking about different psychological practices. It made her realize that how teachers speak to students makes a huge difference.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The Austin Independent School District is asking voters to approve a $1 billion bond this November. The bond would pay for projects at schools all over the district, but there's a difference between funding for schools on the East Side versus the West. 

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Austin Independent School District is asking voters to approve a $1 billion bond that would bring major changes to East Austin schools. 

The bond, which voters will decide on in November, is the district’s largest bond proposal ever. If voters approve it, every school would get money for building and technology improvements.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

In high school, being involved was important to Andrea De La Vega. She was editor of the school newspaper. She was the lead attorney on the mock trial team. She was in the top 10 percent of her class at Edinburg High School, which all but guaranteed entry into UT Austin, one of her top schools, when she applied in 2009.

That’s when she realized her immigration status could hold her back.

Karen Reyes, was brought to the U.S. as a child and is covered under DACA.
Martin do Nascimento

Demonstrators gathered outside Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office Tuesday to protest the White House decision to get rid of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Trump administration said today it plans to phase out the Obama-era program that protects from deportation people who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

But in an announcement this morning, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Congress could officially authorize the program known as DACA before it expires in March.

Claire McInerny / KUT

Thousands of Texans fled their homes this weekend as Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast Friday. Harvey has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, but coastal residents are still holed up, waiting for the storm to subside and for authorities to give them the go-ahead to return home.

Rachel Burns left her home in Palacios on Friday and checked into a hotel in Yoakum, about 80 miles north of Harvey's landfall, with her 90-year-old mother. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Winn Elementary in Northeast Austin launched the city's first Montessori program housed at a public school this month. The program is an attempt by the Austin Independent School District to attract more students to a school with declining enrollment. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Students can earn an associate's degree during their four years in high school through a new program starting this year at two Austin schools.

Bryan Winter / KUT

Four Austin schools received the lowest ranking in an accountability report released by the state Tuesday.

Burnet, Martin and Mendez middle schools, as well as Govalle Elementary School, were rated "improvement needed" by the Texas Education Agency

That's down from eight Austin schools receiving the rating in 2016. 

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