Education | KERA News

Education

Liberty High School in Frisco has grown rapidly and become more diverse since opening in 2006.
Credit Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Every week, KERA reporters go inside the classroom, meeting students, teachers and administrators, to explore the latest in education in North Texas. KERA's ongoing education coverage is part of the national public broadcasting initiative American Graduate

Explore in-depth education multimedia projects: Race, Poverty and the Changing Face of Schools, a look at the changing demographics at four North Texas high schools; What’s Next For The Class Of 17?, stories about North Texas students from eighth grade to graduation; Homeless in High School, how schools and kids deal with homelessness; and Generation One, meet first-generation Texans who are reshaping schools.

Support for KERA’s education coverage is made possible in part by:

The College Board is keeping up with the digital times. Beginning today, high school students can look up their scores on Advanced Placement exams online instead of waiting for them to come in the mail.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

In the West Dallas branch of the city’s public library system, students are learning English. That's no surprise -- especially for a neighborhood with many Latino immigrants.

What's different here, though, is that both parents and kids are in class -- right across the hallway. The dual effort is part of the new Atmos Energy Literacy Center, which opened in January as a partnership with Texas A&M University Commerce. 


Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Irving school board named an interim superintendent today, and it’s Debbie Cabrera. Her permanent job is associate superintendent of business services. But the board is still not talking about Monday’s resignation of Superintendent Dana Bedden.  

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Irving Independent School District  Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden has resigned, effective immediately.  Bedden and trustees cited philosophical differences. But no board  members or Dr. Bedden would talk about the agreement or how much it will cost.

UPDATE

KERA has now obtained the resignation agreement between Dr. Bedden and Irving ISD’s board, below. It will pay Bedden $260,000 – a little less than his annual salary – if he doesn’t find a similar job in another school system by September 20th. 

UPDATE

Irving ISD tells KERA that Dr.  Bedden’s resignation agreement allows the former superintendent to use unused leave time up to 60 days to in order to keep getting pay and benefits. Adding up all his leave (from different ways to accrue time, including vacation, sick leave, personal days and EA which is 'exemplary attendance') Bedden has a total of 54.4 days, which about takes him to September 20th.  

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Dallas School Board has adopted a $1.2 billion budget that leaves intact some of the superintendent’s controversial projects despite attempts to de-fund them. The budget will also cover a 2 percent pay raise for teachers and support staff.

At their first meeting since three top DISD leaders quit their posts, Dallas school trustees could discuss the future and possible elimination of the superintendent’s Leadership Academy.

MTSOfan / Flickr.com

The 17th annual Dallas Mayor’s Back to School fair is set for Thursday, Aug. 1, from  8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

DISD

After just three months on the job, the Dallas school district’s most recent communications chief, Rebecca Rodriguez, has quit. Her resignation is effective immediately.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Some Irving high school students are sweating through summer school, but not because they need better grades. They’re in entrepreneur camp, and at the end of the week, campers will compete for cash prizes that could help launch a business

DISD

Two more top chiefs in DISD Superintendent Mike Miles’s cabinet are leaving. At the same time, Miles announced the promotion of four employees who will become cabinet members.

Sean MacEntee / Flickr

Imagine a public school district that gives iPads to every single student. It's happening. And it's happening in the country's second-largest school system -- Los Angeles Unified School District.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Irving’s school board appears split over the possibility of bringing corporal punishment back to the district after a five year absence.

More than 240 Dallas students who had quit school got their diplomas over the weekend.  In a continuation of KERA’s American Graduate project, Shelley Kofler looks at how they beat the odds.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

For eighth grade students heading to high school, summer’s supposed to be a fun time. But for one Mesquite girl, it’s been kind of stressful. In this installment of KERA’s series Class of ’17, we meet Alex Gutierrez who didn’t have the math grades to get into the private high school she wanted. Now, she’s going to have to get through summer school to advance to the ninth grade.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Making the jump from middle to high school is one of those big moments in a kid’s life. In the latest installment of KERA’s education series Class of ’17, we meet Kelli Bowdy and her strongest educational influence, her grandmother, at the 8th grade graduation ceremony at Morningside Middle School in Fort Worth.

A senior attorney at the National Center for Youth Law says "Dallas is, by far, the most aggressive in the state of Texas, and Texas is way more aggressive than any other state". The group joined 'Texas Appleseed' and 'Disability Rights Texas' in filing the complaint.

The Texas Education Agency released statewide STAAR results, with school district breakdowns available only from the district for now.

Dallas School Board member Mike Morath was scheduled to give this year’s graduation speech to Woodrow Wilson seniors. But he offered something a little different.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Texas Association of Business (TAB) wants Governor Rick Perry to veto the education bill that reduced end-of-course high school exams from fifteen to five. But given how many lawmakers voted for the measure, odds seem against it.  

                    

Update, 6:20 p.m.: Former Dallas schools Chief of Staff Jerome Oberlton was released on a $25,000 bond Tuesday after pleading not guilty to charges of accepting kickbacks while he worked for Atlanta Public Schools.

Mahendra Patel, Oberlton's partner in the scheme they're both accused of participating in, also was released on bond, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

ScrippsBee / Flickr

It took ten rounds to stump Plano eighth grader Chetan Reddy. He had no trouble in the first few rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee championship final, but in Round 10, the word kaburi (a type of land crab) tripped him up. He exited the stage to a standing ovation.

Chetan finished the Bee tied for seventh place. Arvind Mahankali from New York won the title with the word knaidel.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Many Texas lawmakers said their top priority for the legislative session that just ended was to improve public education.  So what did they accomplish?

As part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative, three North Texas legislators came to our studios to talk education: Rep. Helen Giddings, a Dallas Democrat; Rep. Diane Patrick, an Arlington Republican, and Rep. Jason Villalba, a Dallas Republican.

ScrippsBee / Flickr

The answer for most of us? Probably not. There are 42 competitors still standing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. One of them is Plano eighth grader Chetan Reddy.

This year, spellers have to be masters of phonetics, but for the first time ever they have to know what words mean too. So here’s your chance to see how you stack up against the semifinalists based on the vocabulary questions they tackled Wednesday.

Vijay Reddy

Chetan Reddy is the grizzled veteran of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which starts today in Washington, D.C. Only this grizzled veteran is just an 8th grader.

Chetan, who lives in Plano, is making his fourth straight appearance in the national contest -- and it’ll be his last one, because next year he’ll be too old. So he's determined to retire with trophy in hand.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas School Superintendent Mike Miles tells KERA that it's time to review and improve the process for hiring his cabinet members. This follows the resignation of yet another top administrator: his chief of staff, Jerome Oberlton.

Oberlton's Linked-in account

Another chief of staff for the Dallas school district superintendent has resigned. This latest chief says he anticipates being named in a federal indictment.

KERA News

DISD says  nearly 300 teachers received termination notices today after a school board vote last night.

Seven of the nine board members voted in favor of terminating the teachers and two DISD principals. Trustees Carla Ranger and Bernadette Nutall cast the dissenting votes.

The principals are being fired under a controversial  plan by Superintendent Mike Miles that requires them to meet new benchmarks.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Seven of the nine Dallas school board trustees voted to terminate the principals of Madison and Roosevelt high schools Thursday night.

Update, 3:59 p.m.: Rockwall ISD's buses for secondary school students will be delayed up to 45 minutes.

Update, 3:48 p.m.: Mesquite ISD will release its high school students at 4 p.m.; buses running 30 minutes later than normally scheduled. 

Update, 3:45 p.m.: Plano ISD says most activities will continues as schedule but asks parents to check with their students' individual campuses.

Grapevine-Colleyville ISD also reports that all after-school activities will continue as normally scheduled.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Members of the Dallas School District’s first-ever “Fellows Academy” just graduated. The Academy was created by Superintendent Mike Miles to custom- train future principals. It is focused on helping principals become better leaders.

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