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.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Report cards are out, and the Austin Independent School District received a preliminary grade of B for the 2018-19 school year from the Texas Education Agency. But the district also received failing grades at elementary and middle schools in the TEA's first-ever evaluation of individual schools.

Black AISD students on a bus in 1971
Austin History Center, General Collection Photographs, PICA 10494

While many people in Austin are questioning why the Austin Independent School District is closing and consolidating schools, Roxanne Evans says she saw it coming.

Evans covered education for the Austin American-Statesman back in the 1980s, when students were bused in an attempt to integrate schools. She says what’s happening now is a continuation of something that was never finished.

This episode was originally posted on Nov. 18, 2018.

In school, our reading choices are mostly dictated by what is assigned for classes or from reading lists. But once we are out of school, the decisions are up to us.  In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss the joys and impacts of lifelong reading.

Hazel O'Neil for KUT

The cafeteria of Bedichek Middle School in Southwest Austin was chaotic as almost 100 parents fought for the attention of AISD administrative staff. Some were still in work clothes; some were in T-shirts. Almost all of them were asking questions – and sometimes it got heated.

A district staffer had to pull a father into the hallway at one point when his language got combative. 

This episode was originally published on Oct. 12, 2018.

Choosing a major is a rite of passage for higher education students, and it can feel like a – dare we say it –major decision with lifelong implications. In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss what could – and sometimes should –go into choosing a major plan of study.

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District will not publicly announce which schools it is considering for closures until Sept. 6.

The board of trustees had been planning to review possible options at its August meeting. Now it will discuss scenarios at its Sept. 9 work session.

This episode was originally posted on Sept. 30, 2018.

Most people do not necessarily enjoy being told when they are wrong. The formal education experience can at times seem like it is full of those moments - between corrections, grades, comments and evaluations.  In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss ways to correct without rejecting.

This episode was originally published on Sept. 23, 2018.

High school seniors have something extra added to their workload in the fall semester. Those who are going on to college have to navigate the college application process. In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton dissect that annual dash to compile transcripts, test scores, essays and teacher recommendations.

The Bent Tree via Flickr/CC by NC 2.0

When Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 3 into law earlier this summer, in addition to increasing school funding and approving teacher raises, he also approved a requirement for all Texas high school seniors to fill out an application for federal or state financial aid for college.

Academia is divided over the wisdom of offering students extra credit on tests or projects. In this episode of the KUT podcast "Higher Ed," KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the utility and merit of offering some extra points for extra effort.

Incoming UT freshman Cindy Munoz
Julia Reihs / KUT

Cindy Muñoz sits in an auditorium on the UT Austin campus, watching a presentation on how to enroll for classes she’ll take when she begins her freshman year next month. 

UT Austin tower
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The University of Texas System Board of Regents voted Tuesday to offer full tuition assistance to more UT Austin students, adding $160 million to an endowment to help cover costs.

Gabriel C. Pérez (Warren) / Martin do Nascimento (Biden) / KUT

Echoing one of their top Democratic presidential rivals, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promised Friday to nominate an educator as secretary of education if either wins the nomination and defeats President Donald Trump.

Volunteers pack underwear for schools
Courtesy of Amy Weiss

Amy Weiss, a rabbi in Houston, started Undies for Everyone to help schools that face this situation every day: A student has an accident and is sent to the nurse to change their underwear.

The 2018-2019 school year saw allegations of cheating in college admissions in the "Operation Varsity Blues" case, while rising tuition costs and student debt levels have the attention of several 2020 presidential hopefuls. In this episode of the KUT podcast "Higher Ed," KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the state of higher education in 2019.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District is in the middle of a process to decide which schools to close and consolidate in the city. It announced in February the closures needed to happen to help the district’s financial situation; later that month, the board approved the move

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted Monday to approve a $1.6 billion budget, which includes across-the-board raises for school employees.

The board also voted to hire Stephanie Hawley as AISD's first chief equity officer and in favor of a new dress code.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District wants to give 7% raises to teachers with five or more years of experience and a 6% raise to all other staff, Superintendent Paul Cruz announced Thursday. Staff includes cafeteria workers and bus drivers, in addition to principals and administrative workers.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law one of lawmakers' biggest achievements this year, a massive overhaul of Texas' long-beleaguered school finance system.

Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

Capping off a yearslong effort to prevent another school shooting like the Santa Fe High tragedy, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a series of bills into law Thursday that would, among other things, strengthen mental health initiatives available to children and allot money to school districts that can go toward “hardening” their campuses.

C.C. Chapman via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A North Texas school board has voted to fire an English teacher who tweeted that her high school was full of students who are in the country illegally.

There is more talk in education these days about wellness and more attention to stress, anxiety and other factors that can impede learning. But there is less talk about the ways good learning practices could improve health. In this episode of the KUT podcast "Higher Ed," KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the role of learning and education in wellness.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas is one of just three states that did not sign onto a letter sent Friday to Secretary Betsy DeVos asking the U.S. Department of Education to automatically forgive student loans for eligible disabled veterans. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

More than 100 Austin ISD teachers and staff rallied before Monday’s school board meeting, demanding a 10 percent raise as the board prepares to pass its budget next month.

Gabriel C. Pérez

The Austin School Board approved its guidelines for closing and consolidating schools last night, but much of the discussion ahead of the vote just before midnight centered on increasing equity in Austin public schools.

YouTube

Robert F. Smith’s speech at Sunday’s Morehouse College graduation ceremony started like most. The billionaire entrepreneur and Austin resident extolled the virtues of hard work and the benefits of a college education, then the speech took a turn. 

“This is my class, 2019,” Smith said. "And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”

Robert Smith encouraged graduates to "pay it forward"

A "Higher Ed" listener who teaches English in Osaka, Japan wrote in requesting a discussion of what the listener characterizes as "the tension between servicing the local community near an institution and appealing to international elements (students, partnerships, etc.)." In this episode of the KUT podcast "Higher Ed," KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how campuses view their role in the local community and how that is balanced with farther flung connections.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Come Monday, the Austin Independent School District will be one step closer to closing or consolidating schools. Facing declining enrollment, a budget shortfall and aging schools, the district says the move will help it avoid bankruptcy and better utilize its property.

Still, it's a move that will require some tough decisions. So, Monday night, the school board will approve its rubric to decide which schools will stay open. So how did the district get to this point?

Montinique Monroe for KUT

STAAR testing is just about over for this school year. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness have been part of Texas students' lives since 2012, but questions raised this year about the reading test have brought renewed attention to the efficacy of the test – and standardized testing in general.

Pages