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.

UT Austin students pass by the main building on campus on their way to and from classes.
Tamir Kalifa for The Texas Tribune

On Tuesday, the Trump administration walked back recent guidance that would have deported international college and university students if they were enrolled exclusively in online classes this fall. The repeal follows outspoken criticism from universities, legal experts and higher education advocates, who deemed the rules unfairly punitive for foreign students.

After calls to address racism, UT Austin announced plans to rename some spaces on campus and improve efforts to recruit Black students, faculty and staff.
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

UT Austin says it plans to rename certain campus spaces, add monuments that honor civil rights advocates and work harder to recruit Black students, faculty and staff.

Dawson Elementary School, along with other schools in Austin ISD, closed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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The first day of classes for Central Texas school districts is about a month away, but many parents and teachers still don’t know what it will look like. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics once again plunged into the growing debate over school reopening with a strong new statement Friday, making clear that while in-person school provides crucial benefits to children, "Public health agencies must make recommendations based on evidence, not politics." The statement also said that "science and community circumstances must guide decision-making."

A young person reads a sign posted on the door at Travis High School, after the building closed in March because of the pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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If school buildings in Austin open on Aug. 18 as planned, there will be infections the first day of class, UT mathematical epidemiologist Lauren Ancel Meyers said.

Dawson Elementary School closes on Friday, March 13, following the first confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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The union for Austin Independent School District employees is asking the district and the state not to send employees back to school buildings in August. Union members say it is unsafe for employees and children to be in classes together.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Valerie Sterne has always known anecdotally that schools in Austin are segregated. She used to be a teacher and an administrator with the Austin Independent School District, and saw firsthand that students of color and low-income students were all attending the same schools. When she left to get her PhD in education policy, she decided to study the issue and get hard numbers. 

Houston Independent School District

For 40 years, Robin Stauffer has taught high school English in seven different school districts in three different states. Most recently, Advanced Placement English in Katy, where she says working with kids has kept her young and lighthearted.

A sign encouraging healthy habits to prevent the spread of disease is posted at UT's student union.
Julia Reihs / KUT

UT Austin students will have the choice of attending classes in person, taking them online or doing a combination when campus reopens in August, the university announced Monday. Residence halls, dining halls, student centers, the union and recreation centers will be open.  

Students gather in an auditorium before class
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Texas public schools will be required to provide in-person instruction for students this fall, but state education officials have delayed releasing final public health guidelines for keeping them safe on campuses during the pandemic.

Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees dias
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees passed a $1.65 billion budget early Tuesday, taking $47.6 million from the district’s reserve funds to make up for a shortfall partly caused by COVID-19 expenses.

A police officer walks through the hall of LBJ High School in 2016.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As the school board finalizes its FY2021 budget, racial justice advocates are calling on the Austin Independent School District to move money away from policing.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Texas students will be returning to public schools in person this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott told state lawmakers Thursday morning.

The state's top education officials confirmed the plans in a statement to The Texas Tribune.

Texas State University
Texas State University

Texas State University is moving forward with plans to have students back on campus for summer classes that start July 6. But as the number of COVID-19 cases in the county grows, many students are concerned about going back to school.

Joseph Frilot, a social studies teacher at IDEA Montopolis College Prep, leads a group of educators marching to demand racial justice in education.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Mackee Mason is the principal at Austin Achieve Public Schools. But at a protest led by teachers Friday, he shared a time when the police made him, a black man, feel like a criminal.

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz announces his resignation in February.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

There’s a lot we don’t know about the future for Austin’s students: Will Austin ISD's school buildings be open in August? Will online learning still be happening? Will there be sporting events or gatherings of any kind?

The AISD community also doesn't know who will be leading the district when the next school year starts. 

Families drive past Pease Elementary School in downtown Austin on Thursday in a parade to say goodbye to the school.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Ever since the pandemic forced Austin to close businesses and ask employees to work from home, downtown has been eerily silent. 

But the block between Rio Grande and West Avenue at 11th Street was jubilant Thursday. 

Norman Elementary School (pictured in 2018) has been leveled to make room for a new school that takes students from Norman and Sims Elementary.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted Monday on names for two new schools in the district. Bear Creek Elementary will be the name of the new school being built in Southwest Austin. Norman-Sims Elementary will be the name of the new, modernized building at the former Norman Elementary site.

St. Edward's University President George Martin told the community the COVID-19 pandemic was forcing the Catholic university to make budget cuts.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

St. Edward’s University in Austin is laying off professors, reducing the salaries of top administrators and postponing construction projects, the private Catholic university announced Tuesday.

The exact number of layoffs has not been confirmed.

Frances Parra (clockwise from top left), Chantal Flores-Malagon, Maddy Pollack and Hudson Humphrey are all graduating high school this year.
Michael Minasi / KUT

If it weren't for COVID-19, many high school seniors would be walking across a stage to receive a diploma this month. They’d also be attending prom and other events to celebrate the end of high school.

Instead, many seniors are having to reflect on their high school experiences alone and make different memories for some of the biggest milestones.

Ava Karimi is one of 50 students who will graduate from UT's Dell Medical School on May 21.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Ava Karimi wanted to study medicine for as long as she can remember. But while growing up in Iran, she couldn’t because of her religion. 

“I actually couldn’t go to university,” she said. “It was basically more like a dream than a reality.” 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District has spent $7.6 million in the last six weeks addressing changes related to the coronavirus pandemic, including new technology and software for online learning and increased pay for staff on the front lines. 

Travis High School is shuttered.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The transition to online learning has presented a new challenge for teachers: how to help students deal with the emotional turmoil of living through a pandemic. 

Travis High School, along with other schools in Austin ISD, are closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District is asking all parents to update their contact information so teachers and principals can get in touch during the coronavirus pandemic. The district is trying to speak with every family to see if they need access to food, medical care or technology so their students can do assignments from home.

Dr. Zhao Chen, a graduate student at UT Austin, has been stuck in Dubai since February.
Courtesy of Zhao Chen

Zhao Chen arrived in Austin four years ago to do cancer research at UT. He gave up a lot for the experience, leaving his wife and newborn son in China. He also suspended his ophthalmology practice in hope of advancing a different area of medicine. 

A young person reads a school closure sign at Travis High School in South Austin on March 18.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Students at Austin Independent School District will receive pass or incomplete grades for their classes this semester, not A-F grades, the school board decided Monday night. 

UT Austin President Greg Fenves speaks during a town hall meeting about sexual misconduct among UT faculty and staff in January.
Julia Reihs / KUT

University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves is leaving the state’s flagship college for Emory University, where he will become president Aug. 1, he told the UT community in an email Tuesday. 

Julia Reihs / KUT

A food service worker with the Austin Independent School District died Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19.

Patricia Hernandez, who worked at Casis Elementary for 10 years, had not been involved in any AISD food distribution since schools closed March 13, the district said.

The empty hallway at Dawson Elementary
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

School buildings will remain closed for an "indefinite period of time," Austin Independent School District Superintendent Paul Cruz announced Friday.

UT freshman Andrew Dareing moves his belongings out of the Jester-West dorm after campus shut down to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Andrew Dareing is from Mertzon, Texas – a town with 743 people, where the only stoplight is a four-way blinking yellow light.

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