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. 

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:

Phantasia Chavers
Willow Blythe / KERA News

Meet Phantasia Chavers. She may only be 14, but she’s already experienced a lot of heartache. When she was 7, the man who raised her was killed in a car crash. Last year, a cousin her age was shot in the head and killed.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles made his first public appearance Tuesday since the critical Coggins report was delivered to school board members last week. That report looked into allegations against Miles and found “cause for dismissal.” Miles seems unfazed by it.

KERA News

DISD superintendent Mike Miles said this afternoon that he’s committed to leading the school district, citing recent progress made, including the highest graduation rate in decades.

“I'm here -- I'm not going anywhere,” he said at a Dallas Regional Chamber function.

Vogel Alcove, a longtime champion of homeless children, has found larger digs. The Dallas Independent School District, which has a partnership with the nearly 25-year organization, said today that the group would be moving into the district’s former City Park Elementary School building south of downtown.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

One of KERA’s Class of ’17 high school freshmen, Jerry Harris, injured his foot on vacation and and is wearing a “boot” these days until it heals. He’s certainly not doing what he loves: shooting hoops.

Plano ISD's new fleet of vehicles are patrolling school campuses. Their presence is part of the district's new security plan.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

When we last talked to Ricky Rijos Jr. for KERA’s Class of ’17 project, the freshman at Flower Mound High confidently figured he would make one of two freshman basketball teams, and he has. It’s just not clear which one yet. He’s relatively short for now, but ninth graders have been known to grow. He belongs to a traveling team and works hard on his shooting, which he concluded would be at least one plus for the team.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Dallas school board could decide to keep or dismiss Superintendent Mike Miles this week after the fall-out from an investigation that found he violated district policy.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas schools Superintendent Mike Miles twice violated the terms of his contract during an investigation of him, a report turned in Friday concludes. “Under the terms of his employment contract," the report says, "violations of Board policy constitute 'good cause' for dismissal."

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Dallas School District just issued a statement from board president Eric Cowan who says the results of an independent investigation into whether or not Superintendent Mike Miles interfered with a contract would not be shared with the public, at least for now.

In the press release, he says that the report would be delivered to all board trustees and they would be given a chance to read and review the report before any discussion of it.

This is the Ultimate High School Prank. In November 1963, Fort Worth’s Paschal High School students and alumni conducted an elaborate attack on an Arlington Heights High School spirit rally at Benbrook Lake. They used lead pipes, whips and Molotov cocktails on the crowd. An alum flew a plane over the crowd, dropping rolls of school-color purple-and-white toilet paper. A 1948 sedan covered in gasoline-soaked mattresses was set afire. Nearly 50 people were arrested. Even President John F. Kennedy mentioned the Paschal prank during his fateful visit to Dallas. On Saturday, Paschal’s band will commemorate the prank with the Heights band and perform a neighborhood concert, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The final report investigating Dallas Schools Superintendent Mike Miles is done, and former U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins turns it in to trustees today. Coggins looked into allegations that Miles interfered with bids to hire a school district contractor. Two companies are at the center of this summer-long saga.    

KERA News

Supporters of Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles believe he can still be effective despite an investigation into whether the school leader interfered with the granting of a contract.  Critics say community trust has evaporated.

The investigation report is due today in this latest controversy of Miles’ contentious tenure.

KERA News

A long line of leaders of Dallas schools has come and gone since August 1884 when a man named W. A. Boles was elected superintendent.

In a quarter century, no Dallas school district superintendent has lasted more than six years. Through the years, there have been some retirements, resignations, firings, a few interims and even a prison sentence.

beri-school.com

Dropout prevention programs focus on keeping students in school, but what about the ones who have already left? 

Victor Palomares / KUHF

NPR aired an interesting story on Monday about how the coal industry in Texas is paying for science teachers to attend a camp where they learn all about mining.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Tuesday’s opening bell on Wall Street was like a starting gun for investors after a long holiday weekend. Same goes for kids at the Greenhill School in Dallas.

They’re back in class and back to watching the market. But when you’re investing $100,000 in real cash, playing the stocks is more than a game.

The Texas Education Agency is creating an Office of Complaints, Investigations and School Accountability after a state audit found the agency failed to uncover a widespread cheating scandal in the El Paso School District.

The state auditor’s office has released a report that basically says the Texas Education Agency isn’t doing its job to uncover cheating scandals.

The report, done at the request of Education Commissioner Michael Williams, says TEA “failed” to do its due diligence when it looked into cheating allegations in the El Paso Independent School District.

What does it take to finish high school? In this hour-long special, you’ll meet six North Texas students tackling this topic. Four of the students will describe the odds they’ve had to overcome to graduate while two are still trying to finish.

If you missed it on KERA TV Wednesday night, you can watch the entire show online. We’d also like to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter using #studentsspeakout.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Duncanville began this school year as the only large North Texas district that got the label of “improvement required” under a new statewide school rating system.  

District Superintendent Alfred Ray claims the rating is unfair but the state’s education commissioner is defending the numbers.

James Sarmiento / Flickr

Did the victories of feminism spawn underachieving boys? In an effort to level the playing field for all, how did boys fall behind? We’ll talk at noon with Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of "The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men."

Mayra Millan is the daughter of a single mother. And they’re tight.

So when Mom was diagnosed with congestive heart failure a couple of years back, “I was devastated,” Mayra tells KERA’s Krys Boyd. “The good thing is, I didn’t have to learn the hard way. She’s doing fine now.”

Ashley Tilley wasn’t completely alone. She had her older sister along at least some of the time while she was bouncing around the foster care system. Her mother was coping with a mental illness, so Ashley had to come to terms with a new normal.

She tells KERA’s Krys Boyd that she and her sister are “just now talking about it ’cause it’s a shock…. You think it’s normal until you see other people and then it’s not.”

Scottie Gipson wants to own his own business. And after dropping out for three years, he now knows he’ll need to finish high school and go to college to accomplish that goal.

Scottie didn’t have a very stable life as a kid. His father’s been in and out of prison; he says his mother didn’t really seem to care whether he went to school or not. Scottie dropped out at 15 and began using and selling drugs to make ends meet.

When Prabhesh Patel was 5 years old, his father was killed in a car accident that also severely injured his mother. “She went into a coma for about three months,” he tells KERA’s Krys Boyd. “She couldn’t remember my parents or my dad, or really that I was even her son, which was a little scary.”

As his mom recovered, Prabhesh poured his energy into school and work. He graduated from Fort Worth’s South Hills High School last spring, and he’s now on a full scholarship at Texas Christian University.

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UPDATE: Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles has raided City Hall and hired the mayor’s Chief of Staff, Paula Blackmon. Her marching orders are to improve relations with elected officials and business leaders.                                      

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Today was the first day back to school for  most Texas kids.  – including a Richardson Schools 2nd grader named Thomas Jefferson the 5th. And like a lot of other kids, TJ strolled into Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet elementary side by side with a family elder. But here’s where the story gets interesting. The great grandfather TJ accompanied is 70 year-old Thomas Jefferson, Jr. – who attended Hamilton Park himself six decades ago. He made the same walk with his son, Thomas Jefferson the 3rd, and grandson, Thomas Jefferson the 4th. Here’s a look at an African American family legacy.

Jarrell Brown is an achiever, and even after meeting him you might not know just how difficult it was for him to get good grades, play sports and win college scholarships.

Brought up in a tough neighborhood, Jarrell worked hard in school, was elected  president of his senior class at Dallas’ South Oak Cliff High School and earned a full ride to Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he’s just started his freshman year.

Leslie Beltran didn’t think she’d ever graduate from high school. After she got pregnant at 15 and dropped out, she tells KERA’s Krys Boyd, “Education really didn’t cross my mind. It didn’t seem as important to me as having the baby.”

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