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:

Noel Jett, left, with her mother, Nancy Shastid
Noel Jett, left, with her mother, Nancy Shastid / KERA News

The youngest known doctoral student to graduate from University of North Texas in Denton gets her diploma Friday. Noel Jett, 19, has lived on the UNT campus the last three years studying educational psychology.

What My Students Taught Me: Search For – And Nurture – Hidden Gifts

Dec 12, 2018
Sharon Luyre / The Teacher Project

Sandy Lyons heard about Da’Keondrick Whitley a long time before he set foot in her second-grade classroom at Presidential Meadows Elementary School in Manor, Texas, northeast of Austin.

Two students share a laptop in the atrium of the chemistry building at the University of Michigan. One, Cameron Russell, is white, a freshman from a rice-growing parish in Louisiana; the other, Elijah Taylor, is black, a senior and a native of Detroit.

They are different, yes, but there is much that unites them.

Karen Hill's father, A. Maceo Johnson, lost an election for Richardson ISD's school board in 1963. Since then, the district has had just one black school board member.
Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

In Karen Hill’s eyes, not much has changed since her father’s unsuccessful bid for Richardson Independent School District's board in 1963.

People react outside the unification center at the Alamo Gym, following a shooting at Santa Fe High School Friday, May 18, 2018, in Santa Fe, Texas.
Associated Press

A growing number of students are leaving the Houston-area school district where 10 people were killed in a mass shooting in May.

Baylor University president Ken Starr, center, applauds as he joins the student section during an NCAA college basketball game between the Baylor women against Iowa State Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Waco, Texas.
Associated Press

Presidents of America's private colleges and universities saw their pay increase by nearly 4 percent in 2016, with dozens receiving more than $1 million, according to a new report. Topping the list was Ken Starr, the former president of Baylor University. Victor Boschini of Texas Christian University was No. 4 on the list.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Across the state, about 10 percent of teachers don’t return to their jobs each year, according to the Texas Education Agency. School districts and others are trying to change that. That includes Dallas Teacher Residency, a year-long teaching program that could make the difference between a new teacher staying or quitting.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Perhaps the hardest part of being a high school teacher is seeing students drop out or fail to graduate. But sometimes, students and teachers get a second chance.

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 Education Board Moves To Reinsert Hillary Clinton, Helen Keller Into Curriculum

Nov 14, 2018
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and author and political activist Helen Keller (1880-1968).
REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein: Clinton/Public domain: Keller

The Texas State Board of Education backed a motion Tuesday evening to reinsert Hillary Clinton into the state's 11th-grade U.S. History standards, two months after voting to remove the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee from the state's curriculum. In a separate action Tuesday, the board backed restoring disability rights advocate Helen Keller to the state's third-grade social studies curriculum standards.

The front of the new Fannie C. Harris Youth Center, near Fair Park in Dallas. Dallas ISD and several non-profits held a ceremony t
Stella Chavez / KERA

An estimated 4,000 students in the Dallas Independent School District are considered homeless. On Tuesday, Dallas ISD and several non-profit groups marked the opening of the first phase of a homeless youth center. 

From Texas Standard:

A federal appeals court last week affirmed that the state of Texas owes more than $30 million to the federal government after it cut funding for special education in 2012. Now, disability rights advocates say they've found documents that could put the state on the hook for over $40 million more.

Texas Education Board Set To Approve Curriculum Some Say Is Historically Inaccurate

Nov 12, 2018
Gaby Mondragon teaches AP U.S. History to a class of juniors at United South High School in Laredo.
Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

After a politically-charged September meeting, the State Board of Education meets this week to approve "streamlined" social studies curriculum standards. Teachers' responses are mixed.

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.

Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

For years, school finance reform has been a messy political challenge that Gov. Greg Abbott has been reluctant to wade into.

LM Otero / AP

Updated, 11:53 a.m. 

Former Dallas County Schools Board President Larry Duncan, 72, has pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion.

According to court filings Monday, Duncan pleaded guilty to the federal charge in connection with the bribery scandal that brought down the troubled school bus agency last year.

Bill Zeeble/KERA

It’s time to restore the billons that were cut from the state’s education budget more than half a decade ago because the state depends on it, Tom Luce said Thursday at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Luce, the former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education, targeted his message to his audience: North Texas business leaders.

Shutterstock

The latest version of the Tuition Tracker was released Thursday to help students figure out the true cost of any college in Texas and across the country. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Despite longstanding awareness of the problem, bullying persists — in schools, online and well into adulthood.

That’s why dozens of students and teachers from 15 public and private schools in Texas and Oklahoma gathered last week for the No Place for Hate Youth Summit. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Voters in the Dallas, Frisco and Richardson school districts will decide on tax ratification elections, or TREs, this November. These tax measures, which have becoming increasingly popular ballot items in the last decade, are meant to generate millions for school districts.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Tuesday’s the last day to register to vote in Texas, and a record’s already been set: More than 15.5 million Texans are eligible to vote, with registration continuing to climb. But being able to vote and actually pulling the lever are not the same thing. 

Lara Solt for KERA News

When it comes to traditional public schools and charter schools, many take sides — but Todd Williams says both models have strengths.

He's president and CEO of The Commit Partnership, a Dallas-based nonprofit working to boost student outcomes in North Texas. He also helped establish Uplift Williams Preparatory, a Dallas charter school.

Alan Diaz / AP

It's hard to talk to kids about sex.

But the U.S. consistently has among the highest teen pregnancy and STD infection rates in the developed world.

Bonnie J. Rough has had "The Talk" with her kids — and she knows how hard it is, and how important. She's the author of "Beyond Birds and Bees." 

She recently talked with KERA's Krys Boyd on Think about the need for comprehensive sex education, even when it's uncomfortable.

Lara Solt for KERA News

The Dallas school district is home to high schools with the lowest graduation rates in Dallas County, according to a report by the education nonprofit Children At Risk.

Rice University is "dramatically expanding" its financial aid offerings, promising full scholarships to undergrads whose families have incomes under $130,000. The school says it wants to reduce student debt — and make it easier for students from low-income families to attend.

"Talent deserves opportunity," Rice President David Leebron said while announcing the plan on Tuesday.

Lara Solt for KERA News

Many West Dallas middle schoolers and teachers headed to a new campus this school year — a high school. Edison Middle Learning Center closed over the summer and those students now attend classes in a redesigned wing of nearby Pinkston High School.

Bob Daemmrich/BDP, Inc. Via Texas Tribune

Seventh grade Texas social studies teachers will likely still be required to describe Alamo defenders in terms of their “heroism” and refer to William B. Travis’ letter “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” contrary to an initial recommendation of a board-appointed work group.

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.

An advisory committee is expected to recommend today that the Texas State Board of Education remove the word "heroic" from social studies curriculum when referring to defenders of the Alamo.

Tamir Kalifa for The Texas Tribune

Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin are the only Texas schools to rank in the top 50 nationwide, according to rankings released today from U.S. News & World report that placed the Houston private school in the 16th spot and UT-Austin in the 49th.

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