American Graduate: Education | KERA News

American Graduate: Education

Sierra Mickell studies at McKinney North High School
Credit Lara Solt

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 Happen. This multiyear initiative is playing out on all of KERA’s platforms, with news stories and community outreach through radio, television, web sites, social media and events. Some highlights:

In-Depth Multimedia Projects: What’s Next For The Class Of 17?, a look at junior-year decision time for the students we’ve been following since eighth grade; Homeless in High School, about how schools and kids deal with homelessness; and Generation One, which dug into the first-generation Texans who are reshaping schools.

Stories of Champions: Nashwa Zafar, UT-Arlington Muslim student; Esther Martinez, Irving elementary teacher who makes home visits to every student’s parents; Marcelo Cavazos of Arlington, named Texas Superintendent of the Year; Gregg Anderson, a school resource officer in Carrollton; and Kecia Dennis, a middle school teacher in North Richland Hills.

Support for KERA’s American Graduate initiative is made possible in part by:

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.

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