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. KERA's ongoing education coverage is part of the national public broadcasting initiative American Graduate

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:

College access and affordability: It's a common topic in higher education — because college is the one place that can really be a catapult when it comes to moving up the economic ladder.

And yet, research has shown that low-income students make up just 3 percent of the students that attend America's most selective colleges.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

RICHARDSON — Jaculyn Zigtema, a special education director in Whitehouse ISD in East Texas, told state education officials Monday that she planned to hire two diagnosticians, four teachers and two behavioral specialists to handle an anticipated spike in students considered eligible for special education.

Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

Southern Methodist University alumni are raising funds to try to preserve the independent student media company that’s scheduled for dissolution next month.

The State Board of Education approved a Mexican-American studies elective based on a Houston course that looks at history, culture and current events, and the Austin Independent School District will now decide whether to adopt the course.  

Laura Skelding

* Update, April 13: On Friday, the State Board of Education gave its final approval to development of the Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent course. 

All this week schools across Oklahoma were closed as public school teachers rallied at the state Capitol for better pay and more money for the classroom.

After 10 years of budget cuts and some of the lowest teacher wages in the nation, teachers say they've had enough.

Pay in Oklahoma has been so low, in fact, that districts often suffer from severe teacher shortages — many talented educators have left Oklahoma for better pay elsewhere. Some estimates put the number of teachers who have left near 2,000.

Tiffany Szerpicki

Teachers in states across the nation are going on strike to protest funding cuts for public education. But a Texas law is quashing talk of teachers here joining the walkouts. 

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has attracted controversy for her stance on school vouchers, visited North Texas Thursday.  

DeSoto ISD

DeSoto Independent School District Superintendent David Harris resigned this week.

UNT Dallas College of Law

Angela Felecia Epps, former dean of Florida A&M University College of Law and Marine veteran, will serve as the new dean for the UNT Dallas College of Law, the university announced.

From Texas Standard.

Teachers have walked off the job in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma – and there are rumblings that Arizona could be next. Their demands in each state vary, but they can be boiled down to wanting a bigger piece of the pie, either for themselves or the schools they work in.

YouTube / Screenshot

For a high school senior, receiving a big envelope from a college is a good sign. It likely contains an acceptance letter, ending the waiting game and green-lighting the next adventure.

Thousands of public school teachers across Oklahoma will stay out of the classroom – and many will take to the streets — starting today, after they rejected a pay raise they said fails to compensate for some of the lowest educators' salaries in the country.

Last week, Gov. Mary Fallin signed raises of around $6,100 – about 15 to 18 percent per teacher, as well as $33 million for textbooks and $18 million in additional school funding, to be paid for with a tax increase on cigarettes, fuel and oil and gas production.

iStock.com

Texas schools issued more than 64,000 in-school suspensions to students in the second grade or younger during the 2015-16 school year, and a disproportionate number of those students were black, male, in foster care or in special education, according to a report released Monday by a children's advocacy group.

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Texas pre-kindergarten programs are just scraping by after losing millions of dollars last year — and without sustainable funding, they could see greater problems down the line, school officials say.

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Texas got final approval Monday from the U.S. Department of Education for its school improvement and accountability plan, including a portion of its new system for grading schools.

Shutterstock

In 1999, when TVs and desktops dominated, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued its famous recommendation that children use no electronic screens before the age of 2.

Then in 2016 came an about face: If screens were used for something like video chat with faraway relatives or for looking at photos, they could be a good thing for kids of any age.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The education world is dense with data. And all those numbers can be numbing, especially for nonprofits trying to make a difference.

One day each year, Fidelity Investments invites those groups to its complex near Grapevine Lake to help make sense of it all.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

The Richardson Independent School District is launching a plan aimed at improving four of its low-performing elementary schools.

It joins other North Texas school districts – Dallas and Fort Worth – that have poured more money and resources into its struggling campuses.

Eddie Seal / For The Texas Tribune

After gathering thousands of responses from parents and advocates, the Texas Education Agency has sketched a new plan for educating kids with disabilities — with limited money.

After the Columbine school shooting in 1999, the Texas Legislature created the School Safety Center, a research center at Texas State University that helps schools prepare for different kinds of disasters.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

A man dressed in gold and black blows a trumpet shell. A teenage boy beats on a drum. They’re part of a group that performs traditional Aztec dances.

On Saturday morning, they’re inside the gym at the Wesley-Rankin Community Center in West Dallas. Some of the kids watching may have seen these colorfully dressed dancers before, but few of them know what the dances mean.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Mentoring has always been about developing a one-on-one relationship. As technology has changed, so too has that relationship between mentor and mentee.

One of the country’s largest mentoring organizations – Big Brothers Big Sisters — has evolved to help professionals with busy lives and kids who like spending time online.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

A new report out by the Southern Poverty Law Center finds American students don’t fully understand many facts about slavery and the role it played in U.S. history. The study also finds that educators aren't adequately teaching students about it.

Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

The State Board of Education is considering creating standards for an official Mexican-American studies high school course, after two failed attempts to approve a textbook for the subject.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Texas says it promises to reform its special education services following federal findings that the state denied thousands of children those services for over a decade.

Lawyers and parents say the state has a long way to go.

Of the 690,000 undocumented immigrants now facing an uncertain future as Congress and President Trump wrangle over the DACA program are about 8,800 school teachers.

The real possibility that they'll be deported if the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is allowed to expire has put enormous stress on them.

LinkedIn

A former board member of the Richardson Independent School District is suing the district.

David Tyson Jr. alleges that the district's at-large system violates the Voting Rights Act by denying “fair representation of African-Americans and other non-white voters.”

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Dallas school board voted Thursday night during a public hearing to potentially close five schools, avoiding a possible state takeover of the entire district.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Vilma Ledferd, 17, who sang Saturday at the Women’s March in Dallas, is already experienced using her voice for women’s rights. Wanting to get others involved, she launched a local chapter of Ignite, a national nonprofit encouraging female students to get into politics, last year at her high school. 

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