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. 

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:

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Leaders of the state’s two largest school districts worry their students are falling behind during the COVID-19 shutdown. Dallas and Houston superintendents shared their efforts Thursday to ensure their kids keep learning.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

A small group of Conrad High School seniors in Dallas recently celebrated one of the first in-person graduations in the country. It almost didn’t happen because of COVID-19. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Texas public school districts may offer summer school in their classrooms as early as June 1, but they cannot require any students to attend in person.

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media

Colleges in Greater Houston, including Lone Star College, Rice University and the University of Houston, are planning a return to campus in the fall, after the the pandemic quickly shuttered campus at higher education institutions this spring and sent students home to learn remotely.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Hardly any of the nearly 9,000 Dallas school district students graduating this month will celebrate as they expected. The planned pomp and circumstance has been sacrificed to COVID-19, which is forcing graduation to go online. 

Mountain View College, part of the Dallas County Community College District, in southwest Dallas.
Cedar Valley College via Facebook

The Dallas County Community College District will run classes almost completely online this fall. The seven-school system extended virtual education because of COVID-19.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said this year’s graduation will be online. He called it his toughest decision of the year — but now he’s taking on an even larger issue.


Garden teacher Catherine Southwick surveys the garden she's built with student at Kramer Elementary School. Southwick has been tending to the garden during the COVID19 outbreak.
Hady Mawajdeh/KERA News

COVID-19 may have forced Texas schools to cancel in-person classes for the rest of the semester, but that doesn't mean campuses are completely abandoned. Districts still have to mow lawns, blow leaves — and at some schools, tend gardens.


The Dallas Independent School District will hold its first-ever virtual job fair this Thursday, April 30. Those interested must register first. They can also apply online.

Mark Harrington on a computer screen during his Zoom class
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

By now, most North Texas students have been learning from home for a month — some even longer. Nearly two dozen 11th graders log-in to Mark Harrington’s AP history class each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They mostly have the routine down — mostly.  


A new research study out today on pre-K education says Texas could be doing better than enrolling just half of its 4-year-olds.

mom working on core strength on exercise ball with daughter
David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Across Texas, some school districts are now offering teletherapy services to students with disabilities. It's the first large-scale launch of its kind, so teachers and therapists are having to get creative to meet the needs of these students. 

Ricardo ISD

Ricardo in South Texas is a tiny blip on the map. There's no grocery store and no traffic light.

Brett Seidl / Associated Press

As kids shift to virtual learning while spending so much time with family indoors, new challenges arise, from blow ups with siblings to difficulties managing fear and anxiety.


Kim Jermany is a full-time doctoral student and works as a part-time teaching assistant. She also has two kids, a five and 11-year-old. Now that all of them are under one roof 24-7, it’s been a juggling act.

How Texas Schools Are Responding To The Coronavirus Outbreak

Mar 19, 2020
LM Otero / Associated Press

Districts across Texas are scrambling to keep students learning during school closures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Here’s a look at preparations in some key areas.


Getting on stage and sharing your inner-thoughts can be nerve-wracking for anyone — let alone fifth graders —but that's what over a hundred of them did recently at the Dallas school district's second annual Student Poetry Slam in North Oak Cliff. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Schools have closed across North Texas, but that doesn’t mean kids who depend on school meals are going hungry. Some closed campuses are still providing meals, delivering them to students or having families pick them up.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / For The Texas Tribune

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath told school superintendents and lawmakers Sunday to be prepared for long-term school district closures, potentially through the end of the school year, especially in areas where the new coronavirus has spread.

A student in a classroom at Cactus Elementary School
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

In an unprecedented move, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday he would waive testing requirements for this year’s STAAR exam, as many schools expect to be closed at least through the April testing window, due to the new coronavirus.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

These days, people responding to the coronavirus outbreak are talking not just about cleaning, but deep cleaning. 

Pat Neff Hall at Baylor University
Shelby Knowles / For The Texas Tribune

Nearly a dozen Texas universities announced Wednesday they would extend students' spring breaks and start switching to online classes, joining a swelling group of colleges across the country taking steps to prepare their campuses for the novel coronavirus.

some of the edible cars on plates
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

For more than 20 years, Texas Woman’s University  has hosted a build-your-own car contest for kids in grades six through 12. It’s kind of like the Boy Scouts’ Derby Pinewood, only for these cars, think baked good. 

empty classroom

A report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Dallas Fort-Worth (CAIR) showed 48% of Muslim students surveyed — ranging in age from 11-18 — said they've experienced bullying either online or in person.

Fort Worth ISD bus
Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

The Fort Worth Independent School District is recovering from a ransomware attack last week. The district hopes everything will be back to normal by next Monday, when students and teachers return from spring break — but that may not be the case.

Courtesy UT Arlington

The president of the University of Texas at Arlington is stepping down effective Aug. 31. Vistasp Karbhari made the announcement as he faces a lawsuit from a former colleague for bullying and is a top candidate to lead a university in Florida.

In addition, The Dallas Morning News reported Friday that the University of Texas System investigated online education recruiting and enrollment practices at the Arlington campus last year.

Marci Pritts / United Way of Denton County

Schools in Denton County just received a $17,000 grant that will re-stock library shelves at 42 low-income schools and childcare centers. The program called the OMG Book Grant will put almost 5,600 new volumes into circulation.

Updated at 9:44 a.m. EST.

The U.S. Department of Education must act to help thousands of student loan borrowers who have severe disabilities; that's the message of two letters sent Tuesday to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Because of their disabilities, these borrowers qualify to have their federal student loans erased. But one letter, signed by more than 30 advocacy groups, says the department has made the application process so burdensome that most borrowers never get the help they're entitled to.

Courtesy Stacy Bailey via Texas Tribune

Arlington art teacher Stacy Bailey was placed on administrative leave in August 2017 after showing her students a picture of her soon-to-be wife. On Monday, Mansfield ISD awarded Bailey $100,000 after a federal judge ruled her suspension was unconstitutional.

By Decade's End, Texas Will Face A Shortage Of 60,000 Nurses

Feb 25, 2020
Nursing student learning blood draw
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From Texas Standard:

Projections from the Texas Department of State Health Services anticipate a shortage of nearly 60,000 nurses in Texas by decade’s end.