public schools | KERA News

public schools

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

In a statement Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott said local health authorities can shut down schools if there’s evidence of an outbreak after students have already returned to campus — but cannot shut them down weeks before schools open.

Fort Worth ISD school bus
Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

By an 8 to 1 vote Thursday, the Fort Worth school board approved a later start to the upcoming school year. Classes will now begin Sept. 8, three weeks later than planned.

Fort Worth ISD employee Yolanda Cintron assists with a deep cleaning at the Leadership Academy at John T. White Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday, March 12, 2020.
Lawrence Jenkins / The Dallas Morning News via Associated Press

Just as school districts across North Texas got a handle on scheduling the start of the school year, things changed. Again. 

From Texas Standard:

As schools figure out their plans for the fall semester, one related question is what happens with sports. States like California, Washington and New Mexico have moved fall sports to the spring. But in Texas, where Friday nights in the fall are for football, public schools are going to give athletics a go.

Parents with resources are setting up "learning pods" as school districts delay their return to in-person instruction this fall and COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Earlier this summer, Kristina Boshernitzan and a group of neighbors stood in the driveway of her Austin home for a socially distanced meeting to figure out how to take greater control of their childrens' educations.

Despite impassioned pleas from attorneys, a Texas school district is refusing to change its grooming policy that led to the suspension of two Black students earlier this year.

Science teachers Ann Darby, left, and Rosa Herrera check in students before a summer STEM camp at Wylie High School on July 14.
LM Otero / Associated Press

The rise of COVID-19 cases in Texas led the state's education commissioner to allow school districts to keep classes online through their first eight weeks, if they choose — a big chunk of the school year. 

Des Moines Public Schools custodian Cynthia Adams cleans a desk in a classroom at Brubaker Elementary School
Associated Press

As school districts across the country decide how and when they can bring students back to campus safely, a major sticking point is emerging: the money to make it happen.

A Texas Teacher Weighs Schools Reopening, State Guidelines And The Coronavirus Pandemic

Jul 18, 2020
Darcy Vogt Williams, a band teacher in Leander ISD, holds a sign at the protest she organized outside the State Capitol on Jul. 15, 2020.
Allie Goulding/The Texas Tribune

Like thousands of teachers across Texas, Darcy Vogt Williams says she's frustrated. About a month out from the start of the new school year, the Texas Education Agency continues to fine-tune its guidance on how districts should reopen safely to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Facing growing backlash from teachers, parents and health officials, Texas education officials Friday relaxed a previous order that would have given public schools just three weeks from the start of the fall semester to to reopen their classrooms for in-person instruction.

Students outside North Forest High School in Houston.
Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Local public health officials will be able to keep Texas schools closed for in-person instruction this fall without risking state education funding, a Texas Education Agency spokesperson confirmed to The Texas Tribune Wednesday.

This fall, public school districts should prioritize full-time, in-person classes for grades K-5 and for students with special needs. That's the top-line recommendation of a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Students leave the classroom to work in the computer lab at Mata Intermediate School.
Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

Teachers like Jennifer Boyer have become the rope in a political tug of war over reopening Texas schools.

While record numbers of Texans are hospitalized and dying from COVID-19, the question of whether teachers will be pulled back into classrooms next fall, willing or not, has spawned pitched national and local battles over the safety of restarting in-person public education.

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield
Associated Press

Despite President Donald Trump’s sharp criticism, federal guidelines for reopening schools are not being revised, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

San Antonio ISD high school students attended a board meeting in February 2020 to ask trustees to reduce police presence in schools.
Camille Phillips / Texas Public Radio

When Marsha Madrigal was in middle school, she thought it was normal to see her classmates in handcuffs.

But she knows now that not all schools have a significant police presence, and the odds of seeing your classmates arrested go up if you are Black, like she is.

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

Masks for students and teachers will be mandatory in counties with more than 20 reported COVID-19 cases when public schools resume in-person classes this fall, under new public health guidelines released by Texas state education officials Tuesday.

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

President Trump vowed to exert pressure on states to reopen their school districts this fall even as large parts of the country are experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

"We're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools," Trump said during a roundtable discussion Tuesday afternoon at the White House.

The nation's pediatricians have come out with a strong statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics' guidance "strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school."

Students gather in an auditorium before class.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Texas education officials are envisioning a largely hands-off approach to helping school districts bring students back to campus this fall, imposing few mandatory safety precautions but recommending staff and students wear masks, hand sanitize regularly and stay six feet away from each other, according to draft documents found on the Texas Education Agency's website Tuesday.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Texas students will be returning to public schools in person this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott told state lawmakers Thursday morning.

The state's top education officials confirmed the plans in a statement to The Texas Tribune.

Students and teachers walk through the halls at Cactus Elementary School.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to destabilize public education, Texas school districts are waiting to learn whether a federal stimulus package could help shore up rocky budgets.

May 7 is the date that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, declared it was safe to open up schools. The state has had fewer than 500 reported cases of the coronavirus as of this week.

From Texas Standard:

Students in Odessa returned to class on Tuesday, many of them dressed in yellow. It was planned by Odessa High School’s student council to show support, and convey a sense of hope, after the recent mass shooting that killed one of their classmates, 15-year-old Leilah Hernandez.

Shutterstock

A new report from Gov. Greg Abbott says the state has taken steps to make schools safer.

Large and small cities in Texas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to measles outbreaks as more parents exempt their children from required vaccinations, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Shutterstock

Just as school is kicking off across the state, school districts and individual campuses in Texas got their report cards Thursday. Education leaders released ratings using an A through F grading scale.  Dallas got a B; Fort Worth got C — and both districts saw more failing schools.

Laura Skelding / The Texas Tribune

Three Texas school districts — including the state's largest — will likely be forced to shut down their chronically underperforming schools or submit to state takeover, based on annual state ratings released Thursday morning.

Athens ISD / Twitter

In the Athens Independent School District, 75 miles southeast of Dallas, school began Monday. But this year, it's not the usual Monday to Friday schedule. The district is starting something new — a four-day school week for students and teachers.

James E. Smith and his son James Jr., 6, stand in front of Kashmere Gardens Elementary School in Houston on Sept. 7, 1960. The Texas Tribune explored the legacy of desegregation and its continuing impact in a series of stories called "Dis-Integration."
Associated Press

Texas has a long history of neglecting schools tasked with educating students of color. Poor facilities, underfunding, less experienced or qualified staff — they're just a few of the complaints mentioned in lawsuits filed against Texas towns and school districts.

Shutterstock

Before Arne Duncan served as the Secretary of Education under President Obama, he spent seven years trying to improve Chicago's schools as CEO of the country's third largest school district. 

One of the city's most pressing challenges was curbing the gun violence that many of Chicago's students experience on a daily basis. It's one of Duncan's focuses in his new role as managing partner at the Emerson Collective, a nonprofit organization that promotes social justice initiatives. 

Pages