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.

Austin ISD Cief Equity Officer Stephanie Hawley, at a school board meeting Aug. 26.
Julia Reihs / KUT

School closures and consolidations are not "equity strategies," the Austin Independent School District's chief equity officer says in a report released Monday.

Children and community members hold signs asking that Pease Elementary not be closed.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s board of trustees discussed transition plans for the four schools it voted to close at last month’s meeting at a work session Monday night.

In the very first episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton talked about the importance of failure to learning. Has any thinking changed about that concept in the past five years?

Three UT Austin students work on an anti-sexual misconduct poster.
Eddie Gaspar / The Texas Tribune

With the end of the fall semester looming, University of Texas at Austin administrators continue to face a burgeoning student protest movement over the return to the classroom of two professors punished for sexual misconduct policy violations.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Were the reading and writing passages on standardized tests that Texas elementary and middle school students took this spring too challenging for their grade levels?

"Thank you" may not always be the words that come to mind when struggling through a difficult lesson or dealing with a mountain of homework in school. But in this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss the role that gratitude can play in learning and education.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Click here to read this in English.

La Mesa Directiva del Distrito Escolar Independiente de Austin votó cerrar las escuelas primarias de Brooke, Metz, Sims y Pease, a pesar de que el oficial responsable de Equidad del distrito dijo que el plan de cierre era racista.

Laura Isensee / Houston Public Media

In the last three years, Fort Bend schools have seen the demand for special education almost double. More teachers and parents are asking for children to be tested for a disability – which district leaders say is a huge step forward since the end of a Texas policy that denied services to tens of thousands of children for over a decade.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted to close Brooke, Metz, Sims and Pease elementary schools – despite the district's chief equity officer calling the closure plan racist.

A crowd holds signs protesting the proposed closure of AISD schools
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees approved a plan to close Pease, Metz, Sims and Brooke elementary schools as part of the first phase of the district's "school changes" process.

Laura Isensee / Houston Public Media

Twice, Britany Miller has asked for special education services and accommodations at two different Houston-area charter schools for her son, Nicholas Davis, who struggles with depression and an attention disorder.

Who does not appreciate making high grades in a certain subject or getting glowing performance reviews at work?  In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton explore the lure of the "success trap" and how to avoid it.

Carolinda Acevedo, 13
Chris Paul / Houston Public Media

Last year, as a seventh-grader at Lake Jackson Intermediate, Carolinda Acevedo struggled in class — even though she loves learning. She'd stay up late to finish her homework, but then did poorly on state exams. She lost interest in her favorite hobby, making slime in all the colors of the rainbow. Her anxiety and mood disorder flared up so much that Carolinda had to be hospitalized, her mom Christina Acevedo says.

Residents hold signs during an AISD school board meeting
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

When Juan and Rachael Torres bought their house two and a half years ago, they chose a specific neighborhood in Southwest Austin, Oak Parke, not just because of the quality of the schools, but because their three children would attend schools with the same kids until they graduated from high school. 

Most of us have the best of intentions when we graduate from high school or college to make our way in the world and lead meaningful and productive lives. But the minutiae of everyday life can eat into our plans to exist outside our comfort zone. In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton explore one way to keep those dreams alive.

El edificio nuevo de la escuela primaria T.A. Brown, una escuela consolidada y "modernizada," esta en construcción en el norte de Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Click here to read this in English.

Terminó la jornada escolar y un grupo de maestros de la Primaria T.A. Brown y la Primaria Webb están parados afuera de un remolque de construcción, vestidos con chalecos de seguridad, cascos y gafas de protección. Están a punto de hacer un recorrido por su escuela nueva. 

El edificio nuevo de la escuela primaria T.A. Brown, una escuela consolidada y "modernizada," esta en construcción en el norte de Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Para leer una versión de este artículo en Español haga click aqui.

The school day is over, and a group of teachers from T.A. Brown Elementary and Webb Primary are standing outside a construction trailer, wearing safety vests, hard hats and protective glasses. They are about to get a tour of their new school. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Para leer una versión de este artículo en Español haga click aqui.

The Austin Independent School District announced in September a plan to close and consolidate schools. I spent almost every day after that announcement talking with parents, teachers, community members and students about these possible changes.

Of the 12 schools on the initial list for closure, a good portion have a community of parents who speak only Spanish.

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

In a move that is unprecedented in scope, Texas state officials announced Wednesday they plan on taking over the state’s largest school district, yanking power from Houston Independent School District’s elected school board members to “prevent imminent and substantial harm to the welfare of the district’s students.”

A finger points to an equation on a white board.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Voters on Tuesday approved school bond packages for Manor and Del Valle Independent School Districts, and voted against bond packages in Burnet Consolidated School District and Lockhart ISD. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Click here to read this in English.

En lugar de cerrar 12 escuelas en los próximos cinco años, el Distrito Escolar Independiente de Austin ahora propone cerrar cuatro escuelas en los próximos dos años.

A podcast listener wrote in asking for guidance about how to handle the regret she feels over the choices she made in college.  In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton examine regret and the ways in which it can actually inspire positive change.

Austin ISD staff talk with members of the community about the second draft of its school closure plan.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Staff from the Austin Independent School District explained changes to the district's latest school closure plan at a town hall Saturday.

A crowded school closure meeting at Ridgetop Elementary.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Para leer una versión de este artículo en Español haga click aqui

Instead of closing 12 schools over the next five years, the Austin Independent School District is now proposing closing four schools over two years.

Erika Bodoin (left) holds a sign in support of adopting National Sexual Education Standards at an AISD Board meeting on Feb. 25.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted early Tuesday morning to adopt new sex ed curriculum that expands topics taught to third through eighth graders.

New topics include gender identity and expression, sexually transmitted infections and anatomy, and they sparked hours of public testimony before the unanimous vote just after midnight.

Most people — students included — have a long to-do list but are short on ideas for how to tackle it. In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss strategies for deciding what should top the list.

Students have a lot tugging at their energy and attention including classes, homework, jobs and activities. In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton strategize on how to keep exhausted students engaged in the classroom.

Hazel O'Neil / KUT

The word “equity” has been thrown around a lot over the last month, since the Austin Independent School District announced its plan to close and consolidate 12 schools. On the first page of the district’s proposal released on Sept. 5, it says these changes are being made “with equity in mind.”

But the meaning of the word “equity” means different things, depending on who you talk to.

Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees Jayme Mathias
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District finished its third week of community meetings to get feedback on its plan to close and consolidate 12 schools. Now, district staff will revise the proposal before the school board votes in late November.

"The only thing constant is change."

That saying, or some derivation of it, is attributed to the ancience Greek philosopher Heraclitus around 500 BC. But it certainly rings as true now as it did then.

In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss preparing students to handle life's big changes.

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