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:

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

There’s a new major at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth dedicated to shining a light on issues around race and ethnicity. It’s part of broader efforts at the university to attract and retain more students of color and improve the campus culture.

Andy Simonds / Flickr.com

The Texas Education Agency recently announced 20 school systems will be part of a pilot program to develop local accountability systems. That’s now possible because of a law passed during the recent legislative session, which allows school districts to develop their own protocol to evaluate their schools.

On the NPR Ed Team, I am what you might call the grizzled veteran. I've seen education trends come and go and come again. And go again.

You get the idea.

In years past, around December, my teammates would often pause by my desk and ask: "What do you think we'll be covering next year?"

I've always found this a fun thought exercise, and, at some point, my editor suggested I jot down my answers and share them beyond our cubicles. And so, here are a few predictions for 2018.

Winter break is when many high school seniors are rushing to finish their college applications. Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson gets some tips from Lisa Micele (@LisaMicele), director of college counseling at the University of Illinois Laboratory High School in Urbana, Illinois.

10 ‘Micele Musts’ For College Applications And Using Your Winter Break

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

In light of the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia this past summer, the Dallas school board voted to change the names of four elementary schools named for Confederate generals: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, William Cabell and Albert Sidney Johnston.

We cover education stories every day. But our most popular education news of the year came the day that Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the U.S. secretary of education; our story that day was read nearly 1 million times. DeVos is a school choice activist and billionaire Republican donor who was nominated by President Trump and approved by the Senate, despite the fierce objections of Senate Democrats, teachers unions and others.

Gabriel Cristover Perez / KUT News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Free meals for students during winter break; gas prices are down in time for holiday road trips; the best movies of 2017; and more.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

It was one of those football game highlight moments. Dallas Cowboys fans went wild as punt return specialist Ryan Switzer dashed 83 yards for a touchdown in the first half against the visiting Washington Redskins last month.

Updated 12/19 11:15 a.m.

When the exclusions and exceptions the state grants charter schools are stripped away, Texas charter schools have an average graduation rate almost 30 percentage points lower than the state’s traditional school districts.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Students across the country aren’t just learning how to spell or solve math problems. They’re also learning what are known as social and emotional skills, like managing stress and having empathy. In Dallas ISD, teachers are learning how to teach these skills in the classroom.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Gym class every Thursday at the Young Men’s Leadership Academy in Pleasant Grove is unusual. Instead of typical sports or activities, the Boy Scouts take over, teaching the students camping and other skills.

Something else sets this school apart: It’s the district’s first all-boys school that’s not a magnet campus.

Rosa Say / Flickr

Voters chose to dissolve the school bus agency known as Dallas County Schools last month. The bus service will continue through the end of this school year while a committee oversees the dissolution of the agency.

In the meantime, the Dallas Independent School District and other districts that used the service are trying to figure out how they’re going to get kids to school next year.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A report finds that Texas is among the states that have made the deepest funding cuts to K-12 education over the past decade.

Plano ISD/Facebook

The superintendent of the Plano school district has resigned – and school officials remain tight-lipped about his sudden departure.

Kzenon / Shutterstock

Recent headlines, like the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict travelers from certain countries, have raised questions in education circles about whether U.S. politics are having an impact on foreign student enrollment at American universities. 

UT Dallas International Center

To get a sense of the importance of international students to the University of Texas at Dallas, you only need to look at the annual Homecoming Parade.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT News

Tuesday brought a rarity in politics: a bipartisan event favoring immigration reform. Two members of Congress — a Democrat and a Republican — spoke out for so-called DREAM legislation at the Dallas Regional Chamber. 

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.

Juan Paulido / Children's Health

One in five North Texas children lives in poverty, according to a report released Tuesday from Children’s Health. 

Courtesy of Ibrahim Ali

Seventh-grader Zahir Hameed says many students don’t have a problem with him. But there’s one kid who calls him names.

He just calls me 'stupid' and 'idiot,' and he just acts like I’m about to bomb the place,” said Zahir, on a recent Saturday morning at the East Plano Islamic Center.

The Wylie student is one of many Muslim kids here who shared their stories about bullying.

Shutterstock

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Special ed enrollment in Texas is up; there are new maps of Trump’s border wall; Wendy Davis’ filibuster is getting made into a movie; and more.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

In just three years, the Fort Worth School District could have about 4,000 more students than it does today. To help pay for a growing student population, district voters on Tuesday will consider a “penny swap” election and a $750 million bond package.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Barry Jacobs has spent the past couple of months collecting complaints from parents at Solar Preparatory School for Girls in Dallas.

Their complaints are about the bus system, Dallas County Schools. It provides transportation for nine North Texas school districts, including the Dallas Independent School District. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

For 30 years, the Milken Family Foundation has been identifying and rewarding top educators across the country. Earlier this month, an English and college prep teacher in Arlington earned the distinguished Milken Educator Award — and $25,000. 

Like many teachers and past Milken winners, however, money does not motivate Jennifer Fuller.

Q&A: Dallas ISD Superintendent Says Merit Pay 'Has Possibility' For State

Oct 27, 2017
Dallas ISD

Very few school districts in Texas tie teacher compensation to performance evaluations. But in Dallas, whose merit pay system is in its third year, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa says he has already seen good results. Earlier this year, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath — a former member of the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees — circulated a statewide merit pay plan based on the Dallas system, but so far, no such system has been implemented. We sat down with Hinojosa to see whether Dallas' approach could work statewide. 

The cost of college continues to creep higher and higher – and financial aid isn’t keeping up.

More Texans are receiving those hefty student loan bills in the mail after graduation, but is college still worth the investment?

Nonprofit online college WGU Texas took the temperature of how Texans are feeling about the state of higher education in their annual poll, which you can read here.

Josh Blank of Strategic Research Associates conducted the study, and he says most Texans are still on board with higher ed.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Outside at Cedar Valley College in Lancaster, Trisha Cunningham stands in front of a food bank on wheels. It’s filled with 3,000 pounds of fresh corn, cauliflower and potatoes. Volunteers are handing out the food to students.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Jennifer Fuller, an Arlington high school English teacher, won a national education honor worth $25,000 Wednesday.

The Milken Educator Award came as a surprise announcement and brought cheers from students and tears to Fuller.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

It’s a little after 6:30 at night inside Daugherty Elementary in Garland, but classes are in session. Alvaro Méndez stands in front of a group of eager students: They're parents learning English.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

A unanimous school board says Dallas Independent School District must change the names of four schools named for Confederate leaders: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and William L. Cabell elementary schools. 

The board will consider new names in February. Until then, the process of coming up with different names could be emotional — like it was at a recent meeting at Stonewall Jackson.

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