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:

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Throughout the summer, high school and junior high students have been gathering at Southern Methodist University for week-long engineering camps. High schoolers tackled a tough challenge. Devise - then build – one of several electronic items like an alarm clock or home burglary system.  Only make it smaller, cheaper and faster than what’s out there. And finish it in just days.

Alice Asevedo works for Edgewood Independent School District. Laura Johansen home schools an elementary-aged child.

Both women are blown away by this training on Augmented-Reality books. AR books use smartphones or tablets to add a layer of content on traditional books.

Over their audible gasps, laughs and exclamations, there is a palpable excitement over how they can use these books.

"It's the Earth," says Johansen, "It's the whole Earth," she says staring at a three-dimensional model through an ipad. 

"Oh my God," says Asevedo laughing.

Lara Solt / Special contributor to KERA

Laura and Alex Laywell spend most of their days working with refugee kids in Dallas’ Vickery Meadow neighborhood. At night, they open their home to them.

Laura Skelding / Texas Tribune

When Sierra Smith told Baylor University she’d been sexually assaulted by a classmate during a 2016 spring break trip to South Padre Island, she hoped administrators would move to protect her and other students.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

The Texas Legislature’s special session starts Tuesday. At the top of Gov. Greg Abbott’s education agenda: school choice for special-needs students.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

With less than a week before the start of a special session of the Texas Legislature, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick laid out a proposal Thursday to give teachers bonuses and increase their retirement benefits, with plans to pay for both long-term using money from the Texas lottery. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Texas is facing shortages in the workforce in fields like nursing and education. One solution: Lawmakers passed a bill this session allowing community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in certain fields. Gov. Greg Abbot signed the bill into law last month.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Southern Methodist University and UNT-Dallas Monday each received $5 million in scholarship money to help attract students committed to teaching careers.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Summer school's gliding along in North Texas, but students aren’t the only ones in session. Southern Methodist University's STEM Academy is for science teachers. 

For one recent lesson, they left dry land behind to kayak the Trinity River that wanders through the Great Trinity Forest. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Texas' top public university administrators remain among the highest paid in the country, according to a nationwide survey released Wednesday.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Telemedicine, which connects doctors and patients virtually, has made a big difference in North Texas schools for students with physical issues.

This fall, the same technology will be available to connect students and their behavioral therapists in a pilot program from Children's Health.

Ricky Rijos Jr.
Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Ricky Rijos finished up high school in January, but he waited until June to get his diploma with his classmates from Flower Mound High School. He's headed to the University of North Texas this fall. Ricky's learned some hard lessons over the last four years, including one that may actually take a lifetime to deal with — the death of his best friend.

Courtesy of Community ISD

A group of superintendents across Texas recently released a report on the state of rural schools. The report identifies challenges specific to these schools, like teacher recruitment and isolation, and offers best practices to meet them.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Organizers of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition bring world-class pianists to Fort Worth not only to compete on stage but also to introduce classical music to local students through the Adopt-A-Competitor program.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Alex Gutierrez struggled with math — and that kept her from going to her dream school. She just wrapped up her senior year at a Garland charter school where students learn English, Spanish and Chinese. She plans to stay home for a few years going to community college, but she has big plans for the future.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Going to school in a tough neighborhood has its challenges, even for a high-achiever like Joel Luera. The high school debater is headed to college in the fall, but the road to graduation hasn’t been easy.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

At this time four years ago, Phantasia Chavers of Cedar Hill was struggling with her sister’s departure for college. Today, it’s Phantasia who’s getting ready to pack her bags.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Kelli Bowdy, a senior at O.D. Wyatt High in Fort Worth, wants to be a nurse — she took special classes through school to make it happen. She’s planning to go to college. But, first, it's time for prom.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

As Pearland seniors celebrate graduation this week, 18-year-old Democrat Mike Floyd is preparing for his first term in elected office.

Lara Solt / KERA News

Jerry Harris, 18, is a senior at Plainview High School in Ardmore. After his parents split years ago, he left Texas to live with his dad in Oklahoma. Jerry has gone through high school with a learning disability, but he's graduating on time at the end of May.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been a passionate proponent of expanding school choice, including private school vouchers and charter schools, and she has the clear backing of President Trump. But does the research justify her enthusiasm?

Experts say one single, overarching issue bedevils their efforts to study the impact of school choice programs. That is: It's hard to disentangle the performance of a school from the selection of its students.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Chance Hawkins, 19, was born with a rare genetic degenerative disease. He’s getting ready to graduate from Fort Worth’s Dunbar High School, concluding a journey that’s been filled with obstacles — and rewards.

Prasit Rodphan / Shutterstock

U.S. News & World Report recently released its annual rankings of the best high schools in the country. The Dallas school district’s School for the Talented and Gifted dropped to fourth place – after five straight years as the No. 1 school. A charter school in Scottsdale, Arizona, took the top spot.

Texas House Easily Passes Bill Overhauling School A-F Ratings System

May 3, 2017
Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

The House passed a major overhaul Wednesday of a rating system that would give schools and districts grades between A and F.

Some of the nation's top researchers who've spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal in mind: to cut through the fog of studies and the endless debates over the benefits of preschool.

They came away with one clear, strong message: Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don't.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas high schoolers recently debated a topic that's dominated Texas headlines — school vouchers — in the Mayor's Cup, a new high school debate competition organized by the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance. The inaugural event was hosted by Mayor Mike Rawlings and Harlan Crow at Old Parkland Thursday.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

High school debaters from across the Dallas school district took center stage at the first ever Mayor’s Cup contest Thursday night.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is the 2017 Latino Superintendent of the Year, according to the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS).

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

A new report out says in the 2014-2015 school year, 8 percent of Texas students who dropped out did so in the seventh or eighth grades. The Fort Worth school district is taking several measures to prevent students from dropping out before high school and keep them on the path to graduation.

In Aftermath Of Rape Scandal, Baylor Hires Its First Female President

Apr 18, 2017
Illustration by Baylor University / Shelby Knowles / The Texas Tribune

As it tries to move past a crisis over how it handled allegations of sexual assault on campus, Baylor University has hired its first female president. 

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