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

A new medical school opening next year in Fort Worth will feature a four-year curriculum in communication, a program believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

What’s more, it’ll be run by the nation’s first medical school dean dedicated solely to that subject. The focus on communication is designed to improve not just the health of patients but of doctors, too.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

A former school board member is suing the Richardson school district and school board claiming they violated the state open meetings law.

Lara Solt for KERA News

Pre-registration begins Wednesday for the 22nd Dallas Mayor's Back to School Fair, with a sign-up event at Habitat for Humanity in West Dallas from 1 to 4 p.m.

The fair, which is scheduled for Aug. 3 at Fair Park, supports Dallas students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade as they return to school this fall.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Education Agency is starting the search for organizations to help school districts overhaul special education following a federal finding that the state had effectively denied students with disabilities access to needed services.

School may be out, but there has been no lack of news this summer on race and admissions: an announcement from Jeff Sessions, a Harvard lawsuit, changes in the Supreme Court and proposals for selective high schools in New York City. Here's a rundown of the facts in place, and the latest developments.

Who is in school?

The Trump administration is rescinding Obama-era guidance to colleges and universities that encouraged schools to take a person's race into account in admissions to diversify the student population.

Tony Gutierrez / AP Photo

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is demanding the Fort Worth school district turn over a copy of its sixth grade human sexuality curriculum, which includes lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity. He says parents were repeatedly denied access to class materials.

Laura Buckman / Texas Tribune

Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner on Thursday evening demanding he hand over a copy of the district's controversial sixth-grade human sexuality curriculum, which includes lessons about gender identity and sexual orientation.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Fourth- and fifth-graders are gathered inside a cool, dark conference room. They take turns wearing headsets and face a computer screen. Calming, electronic music plays in the background.

The objective: to paint. But this isn’t exactly the kind of painting you’d imagine.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

A group of North Texas researchers has made the cut in an international competition to develop an easy-to-use smartphone app to improve adult literacy.

Scripps National Spelling Bee / Flickr Creative Commons

“Koinonia,” a noun meaning a body of believers or spiritual communion, is the last word Karthik Nemmani spelled correctly to win this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

More than 100,000 Texas students were affected by computer glitches on standardized tests this year, tens of thousands more than previously estimated, Education Commissioner Mike Morath told the State Board of Education during a briefing on Wednesday morning.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

The State Board of Education indicated in a preliminary vote on Wednesday that it would change the name of Texas' new high school Mexican-American history course to “Ethnic Studies: Mexican American Studies.”

Rachel Zein for The Texas Tribune

Wylie Independent School District prepares for armed intruders in a variety of ways, from active shooter drills to safety-themed coloring books. Some school staff are trained to be armed marshals and are ready to shoot if there's a threat.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Texas activists pushing for a high school course on Mexican-American history won a hard-fought victory in April, when the State Board of Education voted to create the class. 

Lara Solt for KERA News

Across Texas and the country, many campuses conduct active shooter drills. Because school shootings are often perpetrated by students who attend those schools, some raise a concern: Do these drills give potential shooters too much inside information? 

A group of law enforcement officers told Texas senators today that they don't think the governor's plan to “harden” schools is the best way to keep students safe.

“Give us more campus officers,” Joe Curiel, police chief for San Antonio Independent School District Police Department, told the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security.

From Texas Standard.

In efforts to avoid strict state sanctions, Houston ISD, San Antonio ISD and Waco ISD are all school districts that have recently either considered or adopted plans to consolidate several of their consistently failing public schools into charter school partnerships.

Gabriel Cristover Perez / KUT News

For Texas students who eat breakfast and lunch on campus during the school year, summer break can be a difficult time to secure three full meals a day.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Poverty may be playing a bigger role than ever in education. That’s according to education leaders and thinkers who gathered in Dallas on Monday for an all-day session on schools and the economy.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Two days after Gov. Greg Abbott released a 40-page school safety plan, Texas House and Senate leaders ordered their committees to study ways to limit shootings and increase protections in Texas public schools before students return in August.

Tiffany Szerpicki

For school districts with chronically failing campuses, a recently passed law that allows them a reprieve from state sanctions was supposed to be a lifeline. A year on, less than a tenth of those districts are on track to take advantage of it.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

For most kids in North Texas, today's the last day of school. This day has special meaning for the struggling schools KERA's education team has explored over the last month in our series, “The Race To Save Failing Schools.”

Scripps National Spelling Bee / Flickr Creative Commons

Karthik Nemmani of McKinney defeated 15 finalists, including three North Texans, in the 2018 annual Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday night.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

The Fort Worth Independent School District took five of its struggling elementary campuses and turned them into leadership academies this school year. Now, the district is pointing to some early successes. 

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

The race to save failing schools doesn’t just happen in inner cities. Suburbs like Arlington face the same challenges.

Two miles west of the Cowboys’ glitzy AT&T Stadium, Wimbish Elementary is trying to turn itself around. It’s been on the state’s “Improvement Required” list for four straight years.

If it doesn’t succeed by next year, the state could shut it down or take over the district.

Lara Solt / KERA Special Contributor

A few years back, the Dallas school district came up with an ambitious plan to save failing schools. Accelerating Campus Excellence, or ACE, pours money and the best teachers and principals into struggling schools. With Fort Worth, Garland and Richardson borrowing the idea for their failing schools, can ACE work on a larger scale?

Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

The Texas Education Agency will levy a $100,000 financial penalty against the New Jersey-based company that develops and administers standardized tests, after tens of thousands of Texas students were kicked out of the testing software or encountered connection problems while taking computerized State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exams in April and May.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Opened in 2011 to relieve crowding at other nearby schools, John T. White Elementary School in Northeast Fort Worth has always been on the state’s “Improvement Required” list.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Once on the state’s list of failing schools, Pinkston High School in West Dallas has managed to turn things around, meeting state education standards for the past three years.

Now, with the nearby Edison Middle Learning Center closing, Pinkston is preparing to take in hundreds of younger students coming from the struggling school.

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