Education

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

The morning of Oct. 2, 2017 was not the first time that India Landry, a senior at Windfern High School outside Houston, refused to stand when the Pledge of Allegiance came on over the intercom.

The protest had gotten her kicked out of her English class five times; her law teacher told her she was disrespectful, according to a 2017 lawsuit. But on that October morning, when the then-17-year-old refused to stand, she was expelled.

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.

College access and affordability: It's a common topic in higher education — because college is the one place that can really be a catapult when it comes to moving up the economic ladder.

And yet, research has shown that low-income students make up just 3 percent of the students that attend America's most selective colleges.

Courtesy of Brittney Cooper

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Brittney Cooper, assistant professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University and author of Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower.

Copper talks about how she embraced her anger, the future of black feminism and the politics of self-help.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Part 2 of a two-part series

When the State Board of Education passed new social studies standards in 2010, there was an outcry from critics who said they prioritized conservative views over historical facts. As the board edits the standards this year, some see an opportunity to correct these inaccuracies.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Twenty-three percent of the students in Fort Worth ISD are black. But according to a recent report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 62 percent of all girls suspended in the district last school year were African-American. Fort Worth ISD administrators are looking into why this is happening in their district.

Socorro ISD

From Texas Standard.

Remember the 1988 inspirational movie Stand and Deliver? It was about school teacher Jaime Escalante who encouraged students at risk of dropping out to instead learn calculus. Well, a national group called Best in Schools created an award inspired by Escalante called Best in Education, and that award for 2017 just went to Jose Espinoza, the superintendent of Socorro ISD in El Paso.

From Texas Standard.

Texas has been more urban than rural since the 1950s, and though the state’s wide open space has a lot to do with its mystique, rural Texas is often overlooked when it comes to resources.

In a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece for the Texas Observer, Christopher Collins writes about the seven most pressing issues facing rural Texas.

Tamir Kalifa for the Texas Tribune

After subtracting student fees and paying for insurance, doctoral student Tom Millay takes home about $15,000 per year from a Baylor University stipend. But soon he could be taxed as though he earns three times more.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

There’s been a shift in Austin schools over the years to focus on skills that don’t deal with academics, things like mental health, coping strategies and mindfulness. The philosophy behind the shift is that asking a kid to focus only on academics during the school day is like asking adults not to worry about their personal lives at work.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

It’s mid-October and kids in Port Aransas are finally going back to school in their own community. Classrooms have been closed in the Gulf Coast town since Harvey made landfall. Though Port Aransas Independent School District finally opened its doors, not all of the classrooms are quite where they need to be.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

From Texas Standard

The Texas Education Agency estimates Hurricane Harvey caused $1.64 billion worth of damage to public schools in the state.

Educators and lawmakers are afraid some schools won’t be able to recover. Now TEA says it has a strategy that may save school systems that saw declines in enrollment from lost funding.

Trey Shaar / KUT

The U.S. Department of Education is changing regulations for schools and universities around investigating sexual assaults, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Friday.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Donald Trump said at the kickoff of his presidential campaign in 2015. "They're bringing drugs," he said. "They're bringing crime. They're rapists," allowing that "some, I assume, are good people."

Bob Daemmerich/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Just four days before the start of the special legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has spelled out plans to give longevity bonuses to public school teachers, and boost benefits for retired teachers.

A school district near Houston has apologized after a 13-year-old student received an award declaring her "Most Likely to Become a Terrorist."

The award was one of several "insensitive and offensive fake mock awards," the Channelview Independent School District said in a statement, and the teachers in question have been disciplined, KHOU in Houston reports.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

At 43 years old, Katina Johnson is planning her high school graduation party. It's been about 30 years since she dropped out of middle school when she found out she was pregnant.

Even before then, though, she'd never had a stable education. Her mother was addicted to drugs and moved her around a lot before she died when Johnson was just 12 years old. "That was the last time I even seen the inside of a school," she says.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Ann M. Williams, the founder and artistic adviser of Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Zenetta S. Drew, its executive director.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. remembers the late Dr. William Charles Akins, retired educator, high school principal and district administer with the Austin Independent School District. Akins died on March 29, 2017. He was 84.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

One of the most anticipated debates of the 85th Legislative Session began taking shape Monday with the layout of a two-part Texas Senate bill that would allow for Texas taxpayer dollars to be used to help parents send their kids to private or religious schools.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

The State Board of Education starts to review a months-long process this week to simplify its science curriculum standards, including recommendations to remove some controversial requirements to teach alternate theories to evolution, including creationism.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Hundreds of teachers, parents and students rallied outside the Texas state Capitol on Tuesday in support of a proposal that would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send public school students to private schools.

Illustration by Todd Wiseman/Paul Hudson

Texas House and Senate leaders unveiled dueling budget proposals — starting nearly $8 billion apart — in separate moves Tuesday that foreshadowed remarkably different priorities in the two chambers during a legislative session that promises to be even more tightfisted than usual. 

Texas Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson on Tuesday proposed a $213.4 billion two-year base budget.

KUT News

The divide over how Texas should educate its 5.3 million public school students will become clear during the 2017 legislative session. 

The Texas State Board of Education preliminarily voted 14-0 today to reject a Mexican-American history textbook that scholars have said was riddled with inaccuracies. A final vote on the textbook is due Friday. 

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

When it comes to the electoral college, Texas is like most states: winner-take-all (only two states, Nebraska and Maine, aren't). So we're red and, if Democrats' dreams came true, we'd someday be blue.

Wendy Davis, a former gubernatorial candidate and former state senator from Dallas-Fort Worth, says she sees a possibility of a change in hue.

 


Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Jessica Foulke teaches seventh grade social studies at a North Austin charter school. She says her students started texting her early on Election Night as the results came in. Many of them were worried because Hillary Clinton was losing.

When Rosley Espinoza's daughter was very young, in preschool, she started acting differently. She seemed distracted and would get in trouble at school.

"Lack of interest, teachers' notes coming home with behavior notes," Espinoza says, speaking in Spanish.

She says she asked school officials to evaluate her daughter, Citlali, for special education, but they didn't.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

At least four Central Texas school districts are exploring a new state law that allows them to become a "district of innovation." That designation means they can be exempt from various state regulations – just as open enrollment charter schools are. That can give schools more flexibility when it comes to hiring, class sizes and the school year start date, but not everyone is happy with the idea.


In Dripping Springs, Parents Weigh In on Bathroom Debate

Sep 27, 2016
Martin do Nascimento / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Walnut Springs Elementary School's decision to allow a transgender student, born a boy, to use girls' bathrooms sparked contentious debate during a Monday night meeting of the Dripping Springs School Board.

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