Camille Phillips | KERA News

Camille Phillips

Camille Phillips covers education for Texas Public Radio.

She previously worked at St. Louis Public Radio, where she reported on the racial unrest in Ferguson, the impact of the opioid crisis and, most recently, education.

Camille was part of the news team that won a national Edward R. Murrow and a Peabody Award for One Year in Ferguson, a multi-media reporting project. She also won a regional Murrow for contributing to St. Louis Public Radio’s continuing coverage on the winter floods of 2016.

Her work has aired on NPR’s "Morning Edition" and national newscasts, as well as public radio stations in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

Camille grew up in southwest Missouri and moved to New York City after college. She taught middle school Spanish in the Bronx before beginning her journalism career.

She has an undergraduate degree from Truman State University and a master’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The last Democratic presidential candidate from Texas — and the only Latino — has stepped off the political field, nearly one year since the former secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development and San Antonio mayor first entered the race.

The University of Texas at San Antonio is following the lead of the Alamo Colleges and UT-Austin, launching a free tuition program for students who meet certain eligibility requirements.


Porfa please. Pero like. Janguear (to hang out).

These Spanglish phrases are all the results of contact between Spanish and English. In a Texas college classroom, students are learning that Spanglish — a version of Spanish that's influenced by English — is just as valid as any other Spanish dialect.

The 2020 Census has high stakes for the state of Texas. Billions of dollars in federal funding for education, transportation and health care are on the line, and Texas is home to a lot of people that the U.S. Census Bureau has historically had a hard time counting.


The San Antonio Independent School District board adopted an unusual student code of conduct Monday. In addition to the typical list of rules and consequences, it included a student bill of rights created by students.


While Texas is responsible for educating more rural students than any other state in the country — nearly 700,000 — it’s not doing as much for those students as most other states in two key areas. That’s according to a new report from the Rural Schools and Community Trust.

College freshman Angie Bravo’s first language is Spanish, but she wishes she were better at it.

The 18-year-old grew up in Laredo, Texas, just across the border from Mexico. Like many of her neighbors, she speaks a version of Spanish influenced by English.

The San Antonio metropolitan area has the highest poverty rate in the country out of the 25 largest metro areas, according to 2018 survey estimates released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau.


A line of white crosses dotted an empty lot on an otherwise busy road in south Odessa. The memorial went up several days after a shooting rampage killed seven people and wounded about 25 more in Odessa.

Somber groups of visitors trickled in to pay their respects. They quietly left flowers and balloons and wrote words of encouragement on the crosses in permanent marker. 


They are early risers and hard workers. They have a "talent for struggling through" and the determination that follows. Some are the first in their family to go to college — or even graduate from high school — and many are financially independent from their parents. They're often struggling to pay for rent, groceries and transportation while taking classes. And that means working while in school — in retail, on campus or even with a lawn care business.

Research showing that reading passages on Texas standardized tests were years above grade level inspired calls for action this legislative session.

Lawmakers responded by passing a bill to study the matter further.

As the first wave of Texas students sit down to take the state standardized test this week, many parents, educators and lawmakers are wondering whether those tests are fair. Some are convinced the answer to that question is no.


As a master teacher at the San Antonio Independent School District, Michelle Olivarri gets a $15,000 stipend to teach at a school with a history of low student outcomes.

During a reading lesson in her third grade classroom earlier this semester, sounds of excitement blended with energetic music from a computer game on the parts of a story.

“I’m in second,” shouted one student after filling in his answer on a tablet.

“I’m in fourth,” said another. “Ms. Olivarri, I was on fire!”


Local education, government and business leaders say a plan to pay for community college for all Bexar County high school graduates could transform San Antonio. Alamo Colleges Chancellor Mike Flores is confident that with their support the community college system will be able to launch the initiative next summer.

A new father trying to provide for his family. A grandmother finishing what she started more than four decades ago. A man navigating multiple schools, hidden curriculums and financial hurdles. These are just some of the older students working toward a degree in the U.S.

Four years ago, Gates Elementary on San Antonio’s east side was on the state’s list of failing schools. Only 15 percent of its students were reading at grade level.

Now Gates is one of the fastest improving campuses in the San Antonio Independent School District. School officials credit its success in part to teachers like Kayla John.


A San Antonio father is suing his son’s classmates — and their parents — for cyberbullying.

The father’s attorney, Justin Nichols, said Monday it’s the first known case filed using Texas’ 2017 anti-bullying legislation known as David’s Law.

This time last week, Ricardo, a furloughed federal employee from San Antonio, was sitting at home wondering when the partial government shutdown would end.

Tuesday, he spent the day substitute teaching 21 fifth graders.

 


The number of Texas school districts with policies allowing teachers and other staff to carry guns has increased almost 50 percent since the shooting at Santa Fe High School in May took 10 lives.


After failing to pass legislation to reform public school funding in 2017, state leaders have pledged to make it a top priority this legislative session.

The Texas Public School Finance Commission spent 2018 creating a roadmap for lawmakers to enact that reform, but key questions remain.

The state commission tasked with recommending ways to overhaul k-12 education funding is close to issuing a final report to Texas lawmakers.

The commission met Tuesday to discuss a preliminary draft of the report.

 


In 2016, San Antonio College started a program to meet the needs of students living in poverty.

Since then, the Student Advocacy Center has helped hundreds of students through financial emergencies and family crises, with the goal of keeping them on track to complete a degree.


Everything in Rebekah Ozuna’s classroom is designed for the little bodies and fast-firing neurons of 3- and 4-year-olds.

Tiny chairs. A carpet for story time. Colorful bins full of blocks and toys. Even the windows are low to the ground so her students can see outside.


Texas' Board of Education voted Friday to change the way its students learn about the Civil War. Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, students will be taught that slavery played a "central role" in the war.

The state's previous social studies standards listed three causes for the Civil War: sectionalism, states' rights and slavery, in that order. In September, the board's Democrats proposed listing slavery as the only cause.

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Texas Education Agency owes the federal government millions of dollars for failing to match a special education grant.

A feel-good recognition during a state board meeting Thursday turned into a surprise for Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes when a college administrator told the board course transfer issues are common place, even when students follow state transfer plans called fields of study.

Four months after the U.S. Department of Education found that the Texas Education Agency had broken federal law by effectively setting a cap on the number of children who could receive special education services, TEA has released the final draft of its plan to comply with federal monitoring requirements.

For the second month in a row, the Texas unemployment rate reached a new low since 1976, the earliest year data is available online from the Bureau for Labor Statistics.

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.