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education

Miguel Perez / KERA News

Fort Worth has set an ambitious goal: to have every third grader reading on grade level by 2025. That's the key milestone for a public-private effort called Read Fort Worth, which just hired a new executive director, Anel Mercado.

From Texas Standard:

Two years ago, the Houston Chronicle investigated how Texas had been creating the false impression that there was declining demand for special education. The investigation was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and it showed that Texas had found ways to cap the number of special-education students, and block others from even qualifying. It was essentially a money-saving strategy, but now the federal government says it's time to pay up, and fix the system.

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Before Arne Duncan served as the Secretary of Education under President Obama, he spent seven years trying to improve Chicago's schools as CEO of the country's third largest school district. 

One of the city's most pressing challenges was curbing the gun violence that many of Chicago's students experience on a daily basis. It's one of Duncan's focuses in his new role as managing partner at the Emerson Collective, a nonprofit organization that promotes social justice initiatives. 

Lara Solt / KERA News

The Dallas Independent School District launched a program a few years ago to turn around struggling schools called Accelerating Campus Excellence, or ACE. Now, other North Texas school districts are launching similar efforts, while Dallas ramps down the program.

Lara Solt for KERA News

Dual-credit courses are more popular than ever in Texas. High school students are taking college-level classes and getting both high school and college credit. But a new study finds that not all Texas students benefit equally from these classes.

Paul Quinn College

Paul Quinn College in southeast Oak Cliff announced it’s expanding north – to the suburbs.

Starting this fall, selected students will live, work and study in Plano. It's part of an expansion of the school's Urban Work College Model. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

High school musicians may spend the summer practicing their instrument or making music with friends. More than a dozen of them just spent a week exploring another part of the music world at an unusual summer camp — an audio production camp at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT News

It’s been 50 years since Dr. Kenneth Cooper wrote “Aerobics,” the best-seller that helped launch the country's fitness movement.

His son, Dr. Tyler Cooper, continues the family legacy at the Dallas-based Cooper Aerobics Center. He talked with KERA’s Lee Cullum on the TV program "CEO" about how fitness research is changing — and what can be done to get children in better shape.

Tony Gutierrez / AP Photo

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is demanding the Fort Worth school district turn over a copy of its sixth grade human sexuality curriculum, which includes lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity. He says parents were repeatedly denied access to class materials.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Poverty may be playing a bigger role than ever in education. That’s according to education leaders and thinkers who gathered in Dallas on Monday for an all-day session on schools and the economy.

Courtesy of Stacy Bailey

Stacy Bailey has been employed as an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School for a decade, but she hasn’t been in the classroom since September.

Instead, she’s in limbo: She isn’t fired — her contract with the district has even been renewed — but she’s not working.

YouTube / Screenshot

For a high school senior, receiving a big envelope from a college is a good sign. It likely contains an acceptance letter, ending the waiting game and green-lighting the next adventure.

Hello! Welcome to our weekly roundup of all the education news you may have missed.

An online charter school is closing midyear

From Texas Standard.

Texans don’t care about primary elections – at least if history is any indication. Single-digit turnouts are not uncommon in non-presidential election years. But there’s reason to think conventional wisdom could be turned on its head this March.

An unlikely coalition of business groups and educators are coming together to get out the vote, and they appear to have rattled allies of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

"The federal government must take bold action to address inequitable funding in our nation's public schools."

So begins a list of recommendations released Thursday by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent, bipartisan agency created by Congress in 1957 to investigate civil rights complaints. Thursday's report comes after a lengthy investigation into how America's schools are funded and why so many that serve poor and minority students aren't getting the resources they say they need.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

One in five North Texas children lives in poverty, and more than a quarter million are hungry as their parents struggle to feed them.

Those are just a few statistics from a recent 97-page report issued by Children’s Health, the Dallas-based children’s hospital network. The study offers possible solutions, too.

Alexandra Arriaga / The Texas Tribune

Gage Kemp was 17 when he first became homeless.

“The home I grew up in, there was a lot of drug abuse and violence, and I got bullied a lot,” Kemp said. “My parents were on hard drugs, and my dad told me to get out. It was in that moment I realized I was free, in a sense.”

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath was in Dallas this week to talk about how the state’s schools are doing -- and the impact Hurricane Harvey has had on education.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

One recent morning, James Lyons and Doyle Franklin welcomed students getting dropped off at Cedar Hill Collegiate Academy and High School. 

Nearly every morning, rain or shine, a dad like Lyons and Franklin is there to greet them.

"We had a parent go by and check on the chickens. They were fine and Wilson the cat was ok too! I know many people are concerned. What a wonderful community we have."

For the staff of Wilson Montessori, a public pre-K-8 school in Houston, the days after Harvey meant tracking down members of the community via text, collecting donations for those in need — and reassuring students about the fate of the school's pets.

A lot of people already know the story of Friday Night Lights, in which a West Texas high school fights for the state football title. It started as a nonfiction book, then it became a movie (with Billy Bob Thornton as the coach) and finally a TV series. In the film, Thornton tells his team that to win state, they'll have to beat "a team of monsters" from Carter High School in Dallas (which they fail to do).

From Texas Standard:

One issue that's been top priority during the special legislative session is school finance. On Thursday, nearly 1,500 school officials sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick urging him to support the primary legislation that deals with school finance, House Bill 21, which passed out of the House on Monday. The Senate's Education Committee heard testimony on HB 21 Friday.

Lara Solt / Special contributor to KERA

Laura and Alex Laywell spend most of their days working with refugee kids in Dallas’ Vickery Meadow neighborhood. At night, they open their home to them.

"I am overloaded and struggling. It's terrifying."

"I feel like I'll be making the last payment from my grave."

"It is an albatross around my neck. Years of paying and I feel like I'm getting nowhere."

"Help!"

Those were some of the comments we received from more than 2,000 respondents to NPR Ed's first Teacher Student Debt survey.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

The Texas Legislature’s special session starts Tuesday. At the top of Gov. Greg Abbott’s education agenda: school choice for special-needs students.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

With less than a week before the start of a special session of the Texas Legislature, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick laid out a proposal Thursday to give teachers bonuses and increase their retirement benefits, with plans to pay for both long-term using money from the Texas lottery. 

About exactly a year ago we brought you the story of Shawn Sheehan, Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher of the Year.

At the time, he and about 40 other educators were running for office in the state, wanting to make a change because, as Sheehan puts it, lawmakers weren't prioritizing education. Funding for schools in the state has been cut tremendously over the past decade and teachers in Oklahoma are some of the lowest paid in the country.

Updated at 10:04 a.m. ET with Louisiana study

It is the education debate of the Trump era. With the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos using policy and the bully pulpit to champion private school vouchers, supporters and critics have tangled over the question:

Do low-income, public school students perform better when they're given a voucher to attend a private school?

Courtesy of Community ISD

A group of superintendents across Texas recently released a report on the state of rural schools. The report identifies challenges specific to these schools, like teacher recruitment and isolation, and offers best practices to meet them.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT News

The legislative session just ended. After 140 days of proposals, politicking and press conferences, we’re catching up on what actually passed and how it will change Texas.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of Texas’s 85th Legislature was the demise of a bill that would have added more than half a billion dollars in funding for the state’s public schools.

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