Education

Shannon Harrison / Houston Public Media

Roughly 10,000 teachers from across the country have gathered at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center to hear 10 of the Democratic presidential candidates discuss their education policies at the Strong Public Schools Presidential Forum.

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.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Last week, we published a story called Held Back, a look at the achievement gap in Austin ISD and how we educate students, especially those of color or from low-income homes.

It's an important issue to many in Austin, and we heard from a lot of readers and listeners who wanted to continue the conversation on ideas brought up in the story – and some that weren’t.

Terry McCombs/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

After over a year without a superintendent, Houston ISD seemed ready to name a finalist in their search on Monday. However, a state-appointed overseer called a halt to the process, and now the district is back to square one.

Julia Reihs / KUT

With Texas House lawmakers unveiling their long-awaited school finance proposal Tuesday and the Senate's version likely close behind, teacher pay appears to be emerging as one of the biggest sticking points between the two chambers.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill that would provide $5,000 annual pay raises for full-time classroom teachers and librarians, at a cost of $4 billion over the next two years.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The '

After a contentious three-hour public hearing Monday, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously passed a bill that would provide annual $5,000 pay raises for all full-time classroom teachers in the state.

Heather Claborn/KACU

From Texas Standard:

Rural school districts are far away from the bustle of Texas cities and suburbs. But with those wide open spaces come fewer students – and limited access to services and supplies they need. And all that can add up.

Texas school districts make it work through extra planning, and by making tough choices.

Mallory Falk

From Texas Standard:

When the 2019 Texas legislative session gaveled in earlier this month, leadership named fixing the state’s troubled school finance system as a top priority – maybe even giving teachers an across-the-board raise.

School districts, especially in rural Texas, are paying attention. According to the Texas Education Agency, Texas has more schools in rural areas than any other state. But when it comes to public policy, big cities can dominate the conversation.

In Texas, Rural Teachers Face A Big Pay Gap

Jan 29, 2019
Will Burney

From Texas Standard:

Texas ranks 28th in teacher salaries, according to the most recent data. Teachers here make about $7,000 less than the national average. But that could change, with some legislators and state leaders talking about an across-the-board raise.

Sounds great, right? Well, maybe not for rural teachers, who can lag significantly behind their urban and suburban counterparts, compensation-wise.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Top Texas lawmakers this year are proposing allocating billions of more dollars for public schools, but a portion of those dollars will likely have strings attached. And some education advocates worry the strings will lead to an even greater emphasis being placed on standardized tests in the state.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Monday, about 34,000 teachers will walk off the job in Los Angeles – a move described as "historic." It echoes what happened almost a year ago when a West Virginia teacher walkout triggered similar strikes elsewhere in the US. Teachers all over the country are lobbying for higher pay.

Here in Texas, 10 percent of all first-year teachers leave their jobs before their second year. Better pay may be key to keeping more of them in the classroom, and last week, top state lawmakers pledged that 2019 will be the "Year of the Teacher" in the Texas Legislature, promising to boost salaries. But there's still many details yet to be decided.

Photo courtesy of Karen Sowers

From Texas Standard:

"What My Students Taught Me" is produced in partnership with the Teacher Project at Columbia Journalism School.

For her first four years teaching history at Lakeview High School in the Dallas suburb of Garland, Karen Sowers didn’t have any big challenges. That changed the day she met Donald Pierson, 29 years ago.

Martin do Nascimento for KUT

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees voted Monday night to rename the Allan Center, named for Confederate Army officer John T. Allan, after Anita Coy, a former Austin ISD principal and administrator.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. revisits an interview with Robert C. Maynard, journalist, newspaper publisher, editor and former owner of the Oakland Tribune newspaper.

Maynard, who died in 1993, was a charismatic leader who changed the face of American journalism, built a four-decade career on the cornerstones of editorial integrity, community involvement, improved education and the importance of the family.

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.

Pages