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:

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.

Kenyon Gerbrandt / Shutterstock

The Fort Worth school district is trying to recruit teachers with a billboard campaign in Oklahoma, where teacher protests about classroom funding recently closed schools across the state.

Fort Worth ISD has placed red billboards in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman and Stillwater. They declare, “Your future is in a Fort Worth classroom.”

Three million school children in the U.S. are identified as gifted. That's roughly the top 10 percent of the nation's highest achieving students.

But Rene Islas, head of the National Association for Gifted Children, says tens of thousands of gifted English language learners are never identified. We sat down with Islas and asked him why.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

For five straight years, Thomas Edison Middle Learning Center has failed to meet the state’s minimum education standards.

The West Dallas school named for America’s great inventor couldn’t find a way to earn to a passing grade. One more failing round of tests and the state would shut it down or even take over the district.

So instead of waiting on the verdict, Edison will close its doors.   

iStock.com

In 2006, in Dallas, a construction company sued a charter school, alleging that the school stiffed workers on a building contract to the tune of a couple hundred thousand dollars.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Seniors at J.W. Adamson High School in Dallas had a lot to celebrate on Wednesday. Many of them have plans to go to college tuition free. That’s thanks to a new initiative called Dallas County Promise.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Mitchell Boulevard Elementary is one of five low-performing schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District that has been designated a “leadership academy.”

The school struggles with kids regularly moving in and out and low literacy rates, but administrators believe changes made this year — including an ambitious literacy goal set by the district — will put Mitchell Boulevard back on track.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Texas is getting tough with chronically low-performing schools. A 2015 law allows the state education commissioner to shut down schools or take over districts when schools go five straight years with the state’s lowest accountability rating: "Improvement Required."

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

Update, May 15: Alumni's efforts apparently came too late to save the student newspaper from folding its print edition as well as the paper's publishing company from shutting down. More here

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

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