Education | KERA News


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:

Education Commissioner Michael Williams is a big presence. His deep, hearty laugh and his 6-foot frame fill the room as he talks school policy with educators who came to hear him speak last week.

If voters had chosen differently, the 59-year old lawyer and former Texas railroad commissioner -- the first African-American elected to statewide office -- would be sitting in Congress. But he lost the Republican primary last year. Then his close friend, Gov. Rick Perry, appointed him education commissioner.

PersnicketyPassionPhotography / Flickr

As of 12:36 pm, Arlington police ended a lockdown at Lamar High School, finding nothing to confirm earlier reports of a gun possibly brought to the campus by a student.

Bill Zeeble / KERA

Dallas School superintendent Mike Miles says the district is looking to increase school security in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings. He appeared Monday on KERA’s talk show Think, and admits he's learned some tough lessons after last week's internal audit of his hiring practices.

The new system dubbed 'BiblioTech' will have no physical books, and should be completed this fall. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff claims the design was inspired by Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs.

Some headlines today – including ours – focused on the high number Dallas and Fort Worth schools Texas just declared academically unacceptable. Here’s a different perspective on the numbers.

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles announced Dr. Rene Barajas will be the district’s new Chief Financial Officer. He comes from Garland ISD where he’s held the same position and is also assistant superintendent of business operations. He begins in Dallas  January 22. Also starting that day is W. Jerome Oberlton, in his new DISD role as Chief of Staff. He’s currently chief technology officer at Baltimore City Public Schools. Before that he worked in North Texas, where he was president of Global Technology Services in Dallas.

Bill Zeeble / KERA

The Dallas School Board has adopted the final internal audit report that found nothing illegal in controversial reimbursements and hires made at the behest of the superintendent. Mike Miles says he will do better.  Teachers are not pleased.                                       

Bill Zeeble / KERA

Dallas school board members will discuss the final audit report of controversial expenses tied to employees hired by Superintendent Mike Miles. Trustees could also take action at tonight’s meeting.

Rosa Say / Flickr

The Irving Independent School District has again been sued. The suit argues a new election map and the new voting scheme still deny Hispanics a fair chance to get on the school board.

A trio of young achievers set off from Galveston five years ago with high school diplomas and great educational ambitions. But there was one big hurdle: All three came from families of modest means. Their struggles are captured by the New York Times in an eye-opening investigation.

Office of Rep. Villalba

Incoming North Dallas Representative Jason Villalba wants school teachers or staff to carry handguns as a “last line of defense.” But  opponents think that’s a bad idea.

Bill Zeeble / KERA

Dallas Independent School District social workers and counselors, like Jazmin Greenwood,  were ready at schools Monday for any students who were distressed or worried about Friday’s school shootings.

Office of Texas Attorney General

Following the Columbine school shooting in 1999, the Texas legislature established the Texas School Safety Center which trains school personnel on how to prevent and respond to crises.

State law now requires each of the more than 1,100 Texas school districts to create an emergency operation plan for how to respond to everything from a fire, to a tornado, to a gunman on campus.

The school plans are filed with the Center in San Marcos and updated every three years.

Rosa Say / Flickr

Friday’s horrific Connecticut school shooting  has led North Texas education officials to review their own safety plans.   


Dallas School Board President Lew Blackburn says if pay-for-performance goals are good for teachers, they should apply to highly paid cabinet members recently hired by Superintendent Mike Miles.


Dallas School Trustee Bernadette Nutall says she’s worried the DISD may have broken its own audit rules or even the law when Superintendent Mike Miles hired new employees and the district paid some of their expenses.  Miles says nothing untoward happened.  

Bill Zeeble / KERA

Some highly ranked Texas school districts aren’t so great when compared to school systems in 25 industrialized countries.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a rare Dallas visit Tuesday, and praised improving graduation rates here. But he said there’s much more to do, urging direct school involvement by community leaders and faster education reforms.

Lee Green / (cc)

The state’s largest business organization is pushing legislation that will link higher education funding to the number of college students who actually get a diploma.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Updated at 11:45 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had some encouraging words this morning as Dallas schools compete for up to $30 million in federal money.


DISD Superintendent Mike Miles' choice for chief of staff, Leonardo Caballero, has decided not to come to Dallas. 

He was supposed to start his new job December 10 at a salary of $180,000.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

For the first time, at least 10 percent of kids in more than 100 school districts nationwide are in charter schools. Dallas is one of those districts, according to a new report funded by charter schools. But while charter advocates are enthusiastic, some Dallas ISD teachers are not impressed.

As part of Virginia's waiver to opt out of mandates set out in the No Child Left Behind law, the state has created a controversial new set of education goals that are higher for white and Asian kids than for blacks, Latinos and students with disabilities.

Virginia Democratic state Sen. Donald McEachin first read about the state's new performance goals for schoolchildren in a newspaper editorial.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas school board members say they’ll reverse their decision that added 45 unpaid minutes to a teacher’s workday. Complaints about the policy popped up almost immediately after it was adopted in January.

School Lawsuit Starts

Oct 23, 2012
Seth Sawyers / Flickr Creative Commons

Yesterday in Austin, for the sixth time in four decades, school districts were in court suing the state over education funding. Many are in North Texas. 

Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles wants up to $30 million federal dollars in Race to the Top money. The Department of Education funds were initially available to states, but Texas did not apply.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

In the battle to keep students in school, experts often target the ends of the educational spectrum: early childhood, when kids pick up basic skills, and high school, when most dropouts happen. But some are starting to look in a different direction – the middle.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Governor Rick Perry is putting new pressure on universities to contain tuition and graduate more students.

Starting today, Dallas drivers who pass a school bus with the ‘stop arm’ activated will get a $300 ticket in the mail. The grace period is over – no more ‘warnings’ when cameras on the school buses catch violators.

Governor Perry will be in Dallas Monday to promote his plan for making college more affordable. But some universities think his plan is a one way street.