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.

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.

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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.

Juan Figueroa / The Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate on Monday approved a bill to massively overhaul public school finance, but did so while backing away from a proposal to use an increased sales tax to lower school district property taxes.

The pomp and circumstance of graduation brings students, teachers, staff and family together to celebrate achievement and usher students onto their next steps in learning and life. That ritual not only honors students, but also creates a shared opportunity for a campus community to strengthen bonds. In this episode of the KUT podcast "Higher Ed," KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the importance of ritual in education.

Real estate agents board a school bus
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Two dozen realtors sit in the bleachers of the Burger Athletic Center, eating pastries and sipping on coffee. They’re listening to administration from the Austin Independent School District preview the day ahead: a six-hour tour of schools in South Austin.

The point of the tour is to help families moving to or within Austin to better understand the district's schools – through their real estate agents.

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Handwriting is making a comeback in schools across the state. Currently, the majority of Texas school districts don’t teach students to write in cursive, but that will change in the 2019-2020 school year.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin ISD announced in February its plan to close and consolidate schools, and now it has a clear plan for how to choose which ones.

Learning is not always easy. Some subjects, concepts and teachers are just plain tough. Mastering that material can be frustrating and even discouraging. In this episode of the KUT podcast "Higher Ed," KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger about how a shift in mindset can help learners at any age harness lessons, power and even joy from those struggles.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Residents in two Central Texas school districts will decide whether to pass bonds in the May 4 election.

Eanes ISD is asking voters to approve an $80 million bond, and Hutto ISD is looking for $194 million. If approved, neither bond would increase the tax rate in those communities.

A "Higher Ed" podcast listener recently wrote in with an intriguing question for Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger: as a university president, does Ed "see himself as more of a leader or manager? How does he differentiate the two concepts and does he place more emphasis on one area or another?" In this episode, KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Ed about what it means to lead and manage on and off campus.

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.

Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

On Monday, Texas State University's student senate passed a controversial resolution to bar the conservative group Turning Point USA from campus — a move shut down by the student body president and campus administration. But the resolution caught the attention of Gov. Greg Abbott.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A dozen community activists assembled outside Andrews Elementary School in East Austin on Monday to demand the school district do more about Andrews' principal, who is accused of discriminating against immigrant parents.

As the first wave of Texas students sit down to take the state standardized test this week, many parents, educators and lawmakers are wondering whether those tests are fair. Some are convinced the answer to that question is no.


Allegations of cheating and bribery in connection with college admissions have brought renewed scrutiny to just how that process works. In this episode of the KUT podcast "Higher Ed," KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger to get his response to the story and his take on maintaining integrity in the process.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

In most urban school districts, including the Austin Independent School District, black and Latino students don't perform as well on standardized tests as their white and Asian peers.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Despite objections from students and faculty, the University of Texas System Board of Regents on Tuesday unanimously approved Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson as the University of Texas El Paso's new president.

Before the vote, Board Chairman Kevin Eltife said he was confident Wilson would "do an outstanding job." 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Independent School District would pay $194 million less in recapture in 2020 if House Bill 3, that chamber's $9 billion school finance plan, is passed.

Many people may regard "vocation" as a job, employment or occupation. But the word's Latin root (vocare meaning "to call") speaks to a deeper definition related to a passion or true calling. In this episode of the KUT podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The Texas Cowboys – a spirit group known for firing the cannon during Longhorn games – has been suspended for six years by the University of Texas following an investigation into hazing allegations.

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