American Graduate: Education | KERA News

American Graduate: Education

Liberty High School in Frisco has grown rapidly and become more diverse since opening in 2006.
Credit Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

KERA's ongoing American Graduate initiative charts the journey from childhood to graduation. It’s part of the national public broadcasting project American Graduate: Let’s Make It HappenThis multi-year initiative is playing out on all of KERA’s platforms, with news stories and community outreach through radio, television, websites, social media and events. 

Explore in-depth education 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 American Graduate initiative is made possible in part by:

Joe Fruchey / (cc) flickr

Texas high school graduation rates are up compared to a decade ago. But KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports they lag behind the national average, and fall even farther behind a nationwide goal of graduating 9 out of 10 students.

Adriane Dizon / (cc) flickr

The Dallas School Board gets its first list of superintendent hopefuls from its search firm tomorrow. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports trustees could name a new leader in a month.

Dallas-based UT Southwestern Medical School scored the highest rank in the state for medical schools, according to U.S. News and World Report. KERA’s Bill Zeeble has more on Texas graduate schools the magazine rated among the nation’s best.

The Dallas City Council overwhelmingly approved the creation of a non-profit corporation to help Uplift Education Charter Schools secure low-interest building funds. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports the 11- 4 vote may not end the controversy.                                

Christopher Powell (cc) flickr

Texas Christian University Chancellor Victor Boschini says his school will not tolerate drug dealers on his campus. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports police arrested 17 students accused of dealing illegal drugs at the Fort Worth school.

Dallas city council has postponed a vote that would help the Uplift Charter Operation issue bonds to build schools. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports council members want more information before taking up the vote again.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says the city is not taking sides when it comes to charter and public schools. KERA’s Bill Zeeble has more on the charter school’s request to get funding help from the city.

Some Dallas teachers and city council members are challenging a plan to create a city-sponsored non-profit that would help a charter school. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports on questions city leaders want answered about Uplift Education.

Dallas school board member Edwin Flores defended his vote to extend the teacher work day without pay. Last week’s controversial vote has led to fallout from teachers, as KERA’s Bill Zeeble explains.

Tempers flared red hot at last night’s Dallas school board meeting, where the board president even ordered a speaker removed. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports that despite pleas from parents and students to keep their schools opened, trustees voted to shut eleven campuses down.

The Dallas School Board tonight votes on closing eleven schools to save millions of dollars in the coming budget year. The move follows severe state education cuts, as KERA’s Bill Zeeble explains.

61 year-old Walter Dansby officially becomes Fort Worth Independent School District’s newest Superintendent next month. He started his career with the district 38 years ago to teach and to coach basketball. KERA’s Bill Zeeble sat down with Dansby to talk about plans for the state’s 5th largest school district that comes with serious challenges.

The Dallas School District held its first public meetings last night about eleven under-populated schools set to close. The district hopes to save millions of dollars with the move, as it faces a huge budget shortfall from state funding cuts. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports the plan to save money could also mean the loss of quality education.

Fort Worth’s school board has named interim superintendent Walter Dansby its lone finalist to be the district’s next superintendent. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports Dansby becomes Fort Worth’s first African American leader in the district’s 129 year history. He started working at Fort Worth ISD in 1974.

Christopher Webb (cc) flickr

The Dallas School Board wants to hear from parents of students in 11 schools slated to be closed because of low enrollment. KERA’s BJ Austin says a series of public meetings will be scheduled over the next two weeks, ahead of the final vote.

The Fort Worth school board has picked a lone finalist for its next superintendent. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports trustees will make the official announcement Tuesday.

Thursday, Dallas School Board members will consider closing eleven schools to save millions of dollars. It follows severe state funding cuts that officials fear will leave next year’s budget nearly $40 million short. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports some parents are fighting back.

A committed group of Dallas citizens said they want DISD’s next superintendent to be an education reformer who understands budgets. KERA’s Bill Zeeble attended one of two sessions last night seeking public input for the superintendent search, and has more.

They only numbered 30 or so, but the passionate variety of residents in W.T. White’s auditorium told a representative of the Dallas school district’s search firm just what they want in the district’s next leader. Several, like Dallas Chamber of Commerce Vice President Dena Jackson, stressed the need to hire the best.

Dean Terry (cc) flickr

The Dallas School District holds a series of public meetings this week to find out what citizens want in their next Superintendent. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports some trustees already have an idea what they’ll say.

School funding in Texas is in turmoil. State lawmakers slashed more than $4 billion from education this school year — one of the largest cuts in state history — and more than 12,000 teachers and support staff have been laid off.

Academic programs and transportation have been cut to the bone. Promising reforms are on hold or on the chopping block. Next year, the cuts could go even deeper.

Bill Zeeble

When Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings campaigned for office, he said public education would be a top priority. What's happened since then? KERA's Bill Zeeble takes a look.

More than 400,000 Texas students will have the option of transferring to new schools because their schools have ended up on the Public Education Grant list. KERA's Shelley Kofler says making the PEG list brands a school as having poor academic standards.

There are two ways a campus can make the dreaded PEG list. It can be rated unacceptable or at least twice in the past three years at least 50 percent of its students have failed part of the TAKS test.

The Texas Association of Business wants the state to withhold some money for community colleges until graduate rates rise. The group has even put up billboards to encourage support. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports the Dallas County Community College District says the business group doesn't know the whole story.

A new billboard on Central Expressway reads "8 PERCENT OF DALLAS COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS GRADUATE IN 3 YEARS. IS THAT FAIR TO THE STUDENTS? It's signed by the Texas Association of Business.

Some DISD parents and activists are demanding changes to what they call unfair school discipline policies that create a pipeline to prison. KERA's Bill Zeeble was at a demonstration outside Dallas County's Juvenile Justice Center.

Members of a group called the Texas Organizing Project cite a recent Texas study from the Council of State Governments that found more than half of Texas students were expelled or suspended over a 6 year period, and most of them were Black or Hispanic.

Dallas, TX – 16 year-old high school junior Kevin Chang, from Plano, could win a prestigious national science contest later this morning. The top prize is $100,000 in scholarship money. KERA's Bill Zeeble talked to Chang in Washington D.C., the site of the finals.

Chang attends the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, a kind of specialty high school at UNT. The teen says he's loved mathematics from elementary school days.

Dallas, TX – Texas public schools are awaiting results from last month's brand-new STAAR test. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness replaces the old test and will become the required end-of-course exam. Outgoing Plano Senator Florence Shapiro, Chair of the Education Committee, sat down with KERA's Bill Zeeble to talk about this test and other education issues.

Dallas, TX – A survey by one teachers group is providing a look at how state budget cuts may be affecting Texas school districts. KERA's Shelley Kofler says the survey comes as lawsuits challenging school funding take shape.

The online survey from the Texas American Federation of Teachers isn't scientific, but it's a glimpse into what has happened in schools since the state legislature reduced their funding by more than four billion dollars.

Dallas, TX – The Cedar Hill School District says it will try convincing voters to pass another bond proposal after citizens narrowly rejected package last week. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more on Cedar Hill's dilemma.

Citizens rejected the bond by just sixty-seven votes and also also turned down a tax hike to bolster shrinking operating funds.

Dallas, TX – A newly-launched pilot education program could help more North Texans attend college. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports TexCan - the Texas College Access Network - will target first generation and low-income students.

Dallas, TX – Some Carrollton-Farmers Branch elementary students are in the "greeting card" business this year. KERA's BJ Austin says it's a money-making idea from the district's Educational Foundation - which is working to help fill the gap left by state budget cuts.

Pages