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.

How Does Recapture Affect School Funding In Texas?

Jun 27, 2018
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A large chunk of funding for schools in Austin comes from property taxes, and as many Austinites know, those keep going up every year.

This episode was originally posted on Nov. 19, 2017.

T-E-S-T. That word almost always strikes fear in the hearts of students. They're worried about doing well, getting a high grade and comparing their performance to that of their classmates. In this episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore stressful test culture.


Martin do Nascimento / KUT

As Austin’s property taxes continue to rise, so does the amount on the check AISD writes to the state.

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees approved a budget Monday night that sends more than half of its local tax revenue away from the district. Texas law requires wealthier districts to send a portion of their property taxes back to the state to help out smaller, poorer districts in a program known as “recapture.”

This episode was originally posted on Nov. 12, 2017.

Our path through formal education is pretty prescribed through the early years.  But in middle school, high school, college and beyond, students have more latitude in choosing their own classes and course of study. In this episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss who knows best when making those decisions about which classes to take: students? parents? teachers?


Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

Wylie Independent School District prepares for armed intruders in a variety of ways, from active shooter drills to safety-themed coloring books. Some school staff are trained to be armed marshals and are ready to shoot if there's a threat.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Texas activists pushing for a high school course on Mexican-American history won a hard-fought victory in April, when the State Board of Education voted to create the class. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A group of law enforcement officers told Texas senators today that they don't think the governor's plan to “harden” schools is the best way to keep students safe.

“Give us more campus officers,” Joe Curiel, police chief for San Antonio Independent School District Police Department, told the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security.

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.

This episode was originally published on Oct. 22, 2017.

In a recent episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger answered a listener's question about how to know when it's the right decision to transfer schools. In this episode, they take that discussion a step further to answer a related and important question: How can students know if they're getting a "good" education? What does it even mean to describe an education as "good"?


This episode was originally published on Sept. 17, 2017.

Sometimes, a relationship doesn't feel like a good match. You can't put your finger on it, but it just feels like it's time to move on. That feeling can crop up in personal relationships, as well as in our relationships with schools. In this episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger answer a question from a listener who wanted to know whether transferring from one college to another is the right decision.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School district is hosting a picnic Saturday to introduce the Norman and Sims elementary school communities to one another before they combine as one school in August.

Students from Norman will go to school in the Sims building next yer, while Norman gets a major renovation. The merger came out of the bond voters passed in November.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Austin School Board President Kendall Pace said this morning that she would resign from her position as president and as Place 9 trustee after controversial text messages she sent to another board trustee surfaced last week.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

In the hours after a deadly shooting at a southeast Texas high school left at least 10 dead and 10 more wounded, a familiar debate began to emerge — pitting the state’s top Republican leaders against some of the Democrats vying to take their spots in this year’s elections.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Education Austin, the union for Austin ISD's employees, called for the resignation of School Board President Kendall Pace after inflammatory texts she sent to another board member surfaced.

The texts to Julie Cowan include name calling and harsh language toward others in Austin's education community, which was one reason the union called for her resignation. But there's a lot in the texts that require context to understand.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin teachers' union is asking School Board President Kendall Pace to resign after she sent an "offensive" text message to another board member.

Remember that old adage about what happens when we assume something? (Hint: break the word down into smaller parts and you'll get it!). Seriously, making assumptions can impact how we approach and learn information. Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and I spend this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed" exploring why we make assumptions; how they affect learning and problem-solving; and how we can approach education with a more open mind.

Andrea Garcia for KUT

A UT Austin program aimed at expanding ideas of masculinity has been put on hold after conservative media outlets accused it of treating masculinity as a mental health issue.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As teachers around the country strike for better pay, teachers in Austin – who don't have the option of striking – are taking a different approach for better working conditions.

Commencement speeches: Some are boring and not very memorable; some are inspiring and stay with graduates for years to comes. During this 2018 commencement season, Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and I spend the episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed" discussing the good, the bad and the memorable from commencement addresses.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

This post has been updated. 

Dripping Springs voters on Saturday passed the $132 million school bond.

Voters in Wimberley also passed a $45 million school bond package, and elected Susan Jaggers as their next mayor. Residents elected Craig Fore, Gary Barchfeld and Patricia Cantu Kelly to City Council.

The end of the school year is a busy time for students, faculty, staff, and families. Finals exams are looming; seniors may be on the hunt for a job; and many students have to say goodbye to friends and teachers. In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and I discuss the origins of stress; the role it can play in education and learning; and how to successfully manage it (both in and out of school).

A college student requested a "Higher Ed" discussion about meaningful student-teacher relationships – both how to form them and how those relationships could impact grades and behavior. In this episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how students and teachers can best engage each other to ensure that dynamic goes well.

San Antonio Teacher Placed On Leave After Assigning Students To List Benefits Of Slavery

Apr 20, 2018
Courtesy of Robert Livar

An eighth-grade teacher at a San Antonio charter school was placed on leave Thursday after assigning homework that suggested there's a positive side to slavery.

The students at Great Hearts Monte Vista North were told to give a "balanced view" of the lives of slaves by listing the pros and cons.

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.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Hundreds of high school students in Austin are planning to walk out of school tomorrow and rally outside the Capitol as part of a nationwide walkout to call for more gun control and better school safety.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The University of Texas released a study last year that detailed how prevalent sexual assault and misconduct was on campus. UT President Greg Fenves called the report “a wake-up call” and promised to make improvements.

A year later, the school is focusing more on helping students navigate the process. 

Asking for help can be difficult or embarrassing sometimes, and for a variety reasons we don't always do it when we should. But the truth is, everyone needs help sometimes, including students - who can occasionally  use a hand with a tricky subject. In this episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the most effective ways to ask for and use help in education.

Gabriel C. Pérez

The State Board of Education approved a Mexican-American studies elective based on a Houston course that looks at history, culture and current events, and the Austin Independent School District will now decide whether to adopt the course.  

Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

Texas advocates for Mexican-American studies classes won a bitter victory Wednesday, in gaining approval to move forward with the class they wanted, but losing the course title.

The board had been debating more than four years over how and whether to offer teachers materials and guidance to teach Mexican-American studies. In a preliminary vote, the State Board of Education voted nearly unanimously to create curriculum standards for the elective class. But now it will be called “Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent.”  

Austin Price for KUT

The community's pick to run Mendez Middle School would revamp the way students learn by focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and hands-on learning.

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