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:

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.

Stella Chavez / KERA

Young people want to spend money on cool gadgets and clothes, but many of them don’t know how to save up for that. Some Dallas high school students are learning how to manage their money through a leadership conference hosted by Fidelity Investments.  The school hopes the students will be able to influence their peers' financial knowledge.

Jason Halley / California State University, Chico

A national survey out Wednesday shows that 4 out of 10 college students experienced food insecurity in the past month while about half of them are dealing with housing challenges. Some – 17% – are actually homeless.

Dougal Brownlie / The Gazette via AP

The nation’s two largest teachers unions want schools to revise or eliminate active shooter drills, asserting Tuesday that they can harm students’ mental health and that there are better ways to prepare for the possibility of a school shooting.

Foley Gardere Logo
Foley Gardere Oratory Competition

Students from Dallas Independent School District competed Friday in the annual Foley Gardere Oratory Competition that honors Martin Luther King Jr. The finalists — fourth and fifth graders — delivered speeches answering the question: "What would Dr. King's vision be for America in 2020?"


Many high school students spent the winter break preparing for the next round of SAT and ACT college entrance exams. Journalist Paul Tough has reported on students heading to college and the tests they have to take. He recently talked with Think host Krys Boyd about how decisions based on standardized test scores — rather than grades — usually favor applicants who come from wealthy families.

The University of Texas at Austin.
Tamir Kalifa / For The Texas Tribune

Seventeen employees at the University of Texas at Austin, including three faculty members and one research fellow, were found to have violated the flagship's sexual misconduct policies between November 2017 and December 2019, according to a university document released Jan. 9.

Dallas Portal Screen
Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

On a recent December morning, five twenty-somethings gathered inside a gold shipping container at Bonton Farms in Southeast Dallas. It was like a mini movie auditorium with a large projector screen. 

The Dallas Independent School District just earned a gold medal for its high-quality prekindergarten program.
LM Otero / Associated Press

The Dallas Independent School District just earned a gold medal for its high-quality prekindergarten program. The National Institute for Early Education Reseach studied 40 different big city pre-K programs across the country to issue the ratings.

Chef Rudy Vasquez
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

It's an ordinary fall day at the University of North Texas and Chef Rudy Vasquez is busy deep-frying one of today’s lunch specials, chicken fingers. Only, there’s no wheat on the flour-dredged meat.

Updated Friday at 11:04 a.m. ET.

Lawmakers have called for an investigation into a troubled student loan discharge program one day after an NPR report revealed that the program — meant to erase the student debts of borrowers with significant, permanent disabilities — wasn't helping the vast majority of those who are eligible.

Fort Worth English as a Second Language teacher, Sharon Darnell works with student Morsal Haidari at Seminary Hills Park Elementary. Darnell works with refugee students who haven't been in the U.S. very long learn the basics of English.
Lauren Rangel / KERA News

This fall, the Trump administration announced it's lowering the annual cap on the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. That change is affecting how Fort Worth Independent School District is teaching some of its newcomers.

Rune Mathisen

Were the reading and writing passages on standardized tests that Texas elementary and middle school students took this spring too challenging for their grade levels?

Britany Miller said that she's tried at multiple charter schools to get her son Nicholas Davis, 13, the support he needs. Nicholas was diagnosed with ADHD and depression in elementary school.
Laura Isensee / Houston Public Media

Twice, Britany Miller has asked for special education services and accommodations at two different Houston-area charter schools for her son, Nicholas Davis, who struggles with depression and an attention disorder.