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. for KUT

Facing a shortfall and declining enrollment, the Austin Independent School District is considering consolidating schools, among other options, to cut its deficit by as much as $55 million over the next few years.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

An early estimate shows Gov. Greg Abbott's proposal for a school finance fix would provide three times more dollars for property tax relief as it would additional money for school districts in 2020.

In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss a provocative question: does it really matter where you go to college? The answer can be complicated, and it partially depends on what you are looking for.

Hazel O'Neil for KUT

Let's talk about sex.

As the Austin Independent School District rewrites its sex ed curriculum for third- through eighth-graders, it asked for input from the community. AISD asked people in a November online survey what they thought should be taught to students – and when – in addition to hosting community meetings to discuss the standards. Those results are in.

DaLyah Jones / KUT

Round Rock Independent School District parents are questioning the timeline of  the district's efforts to bring a police force to schools as they move toward a deadline for input. They also say they want the district to address racial disparities in discipline among students. 

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about creating and maintaining healthy and respectful environments – especially in the workplace. But what about in the classroom? In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss the keys to keeping the classroom an open and respectful place.

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.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

It's time for the Austin Independent School District to do something drastic to improve its financial situation, a member of a task force studying its budget says.  

On the table: closing schools and changing boundaries.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees will vote next Monday on what to re-name four schools currently named after members of the Confederacy. The board will decide between honoring the schools’ wishes, which in some cases means no name change, or choosing entirely new names.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced sweeping rules on how colleges handle cases of sexual assault and harassment that she says will fix a "failed" and "shameful" system that has been unfair to accused students.

Hazel O'Neil for KUT

Jim Shead is a lawyer in Austin and the father of twin boys in pre-K. Even though his kids can barely read, he’s already thinking about how he’ll teach them about puberty and sex. Right now, he’s using his own experience as a guide for what he doesn’t want to happen.

Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters (left) / Public domain

The Texas State Board of Education backed a motion Tuesday evening to reinsert Hillary Clinton into the state's 11th-grade U.S. History standards, two months after voting to remove the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee from the state's curriculum. In a separate action Tuesday, the board backed restoring disability rights advocate Helen Keller to the state's third-grade social studies curriculum standards.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Independent School District is seeking parent input as it prepares to rewrite its human sexuality curriculum. 

The district hasn't revised its elementary and middle school curriculum in 12 years. Parents received an online survey Wednesday asking at what grade level various lessons should be taught. For example, when students should learn about gender identity.

Austin Community College will not include Pflugerville in its boundaries after voters rejected annexation Tuesday. Fifty-four percent of Pflugerville voters voted against the ballot proposition. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

There will be three new members of the Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees after Tuesday’s election, including incumbent Ted Gordon's challenger.

LaTisha Anderson beat Gordon for the District 1 seat, which covers most of East Austin. She won with 61 percent of the vote.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Three seats on the Austin Community College Board of Trustees are up for grabs this election. Trustees oversee the 11 ACC campuses, as well as the taxing district in Central Texas. The six-year trustee positions aren’t paid.

There’s also a proposition on the ballot for Pflugerville residents.

Place 7 | Place 8 | Place 9 | Prop A

One reason often cited by non-voters for their lack of participation goes something like this: "My vote doesn't really count" or "How can my one vote make any difference?" Voter turnout among college-aged students is traditionally low in midterm election years. But this year is shaping up to be different.

In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss how to sustain that interest even when national politics are not so charged.

Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger calls his "Effective Thinking and Creative Puzzle-Solving" class at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, the "Seinfeld" of classes. Why? Burger claims that class is about nothing. In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss why that kind of class is actually about something pretty profound.

Remember the character on the 1970's tv sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter" - Arnold Horshack - who enthusiastically waved his hand in the air and bounced up and down in his seat because he always wanted to answer questions in class? For many students, speaking up in school is actually something they try to avoid. In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss the dynamics of classroom dialogue.

Andrea Garcia for KUT

The UT Austin program aimed at expanding masculinity is back from a five-month hiatus after conservative media outlets accused it of treating masculinity as a mental health issue.

In 2015, the MasculinUT program was created within UT’s Counseling and Mental Health Center. Its goal was to engage the community in challenging stereotypes surrounding masculinity, with a goal of reducing interpersonal violence and sexual assault.

Children walk down a hallway at a school.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Five seats on the Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees will be on the ballot Nov. 6. 

The role of the school board is to oversee the AISD superintendent and district administration. The board votes on district policy and budgets, and sets tax rates. Members serve four-year terms. You can see which district you live in here.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Despite momentum earlier this year to rid Austin Independent School District properties of links to the Confederacy, the district's Board of Trustees is facing pushback over proposed new names.

A provocative column this year in The Chronicle of Higher Education laments the rise of what the author calls the "promotional intellectual." Dr. Jeffrey J. Williams of Carnegie Mellon University believes the old adage in academia of "publish or perish" has evolved into "promote or perish." In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss promoting one's academic work.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote Oct. 22 on the proposed new names for four AISD buildings named for Confederate figures.

After a long dispute about whether the buildings commemorated the state’s struggle with racism and inequity, the board voted 7-2 in February to change the names. The buildings to be renamed are Eastside Memorial, Lanier and Reagan high schools, The Allan Center, and Fulmore Middle School.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Sixty-five percent of children born to young parents in Texas are living in poverty, according to a new report.

The report, released Tuesday by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, found that 450,000 children were born to young parents in Texas from 2015 to 2017. It defined young parents as people between 18 and 24.

John Jordan/The Texas Tribune

After exploring the idea and stirring worries and warnings from retired teachers and elected officials, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas opted Friday not to raise monthly health care premiums for a group of nearly 68,000 retired teachers.

The author of a summer op-ed in the New York Times (no, not that op-ed!)  believes girls would benefit from more drilling on math to "break the cycle of dislike-avoidance-further dislike" and help them build confidence in their math skills (which research has shown are pretty similar to boys' math skills).  In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton  discuss the op-ed's call for gender-based additional academic practice and how to undo lingering biases about gender and academic performance.

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees will vote in a little over a week on how to consolidate three elementary schools in East Austin. Students at Metz, Zavala and Sanchez Elementary schools will combine into once school, which the district will completely renovate using money from the 2017 bond, but parents, staff and students are still unsure what lies ahead.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Seventh grade Texas social studies teachers will likely still be required to describe Alamo defenders in terms of their “heroism” and refer to William B. Travis’ letter “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” contrary to an initial recommendation of a board-appointed work group.

Tamir Kalifa for The Texas Tribune

Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin are the only Texas schools to rank in the top 50 nationwide, according to rankings released today from U.S. News & World report that placed the Houston private school in the 16th spot and UT-Austin in the 49th.

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