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

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. 

Hello! Welcome to our weekly roundup of all the education news you may have missed.

An online charter school is closing midyear

Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Education Agency released a preliminary plan for reforming special education Thursday.

jeweledlion / Flickr

The city of Dallas will foot the $2.4 million bill to pay for crossing guards through the end of the school year, but a long-term solution is still up in the air.

Queen's University / Flickr

This has been a brutal flu season in North Texas. More than 40 people have died so far, and Tuesday, the Bonham Independent School District announced it was closing for a week because of the flu outbreak.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

More than three million adults in Texas don’t have a high school diploma or the equivalent of one. And the number of adults in Texas taking the General Equivalency Diploma test, or GED, has been dropping for the past decade, according to a new report.

Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune

After a federal report blasted Texas for failing kids with disabilities, educators and public education advocates are pointing the finger directly at state legislators who, they argue, first suggested capping special education to keep costs low.

Hello! Money is on our minds in this mid-January edition of the Weekly Roundup.

Student loan default is a "crisis," report says

Rick Holter / KERA News

One of the most influential education nonprofits in North Texas has a new leader. Byron Sanders, who's 34 and grew up in southern Dallas, got the CEO job this week at Big Thought, a nonprofit focused on merging education and the arts to create a creative path for kids.

"The federal government must take bold action to address inequitable funding in our nation's public schools."

So begins a list of recommendations released Thursday by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent, bipartisan agency created by Congress in 1957 to investigate civil rights complaints. Thursday's report comes after a lengthy investigation into how America's schools are funded and why so many that serve poor and minority students aren't getting the resources they say they need.

From Texas Standard.

Twenty-three percent of the students in Fort Worth ISD are black. But according to a recent report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 62 percent of all girls suspended in the district last school year were African-American. Fort Worth ISD administrators are looking into why this is happening in their district.

Shutterstock

Texas failed to make special education services available to all students with disabilities who needed it, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Irving-based Boy Scouts of America recently launched an effort in some area schools, helping to teach classes and introduce more kids to scouting during the day.

The program, currently running in four Dallas middle schools, was inspired by the Girls Scouts, an organization that's been going inside local schools for decades. 

jeweledlion / Flickr

A battle is brewing in the city of Dallas over school crossing guards. It comes after the Dallas County Schools bus agency said it doesn’t have the money to continue paying for crossing guards past Jan. 31.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

There’s a new major at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth dedicated to shining a light on issues around race and ethnicity. It’s part of broader efforts at the university to attract and retain more students of color and improve the campus culture.

Andy Simonds / Flickr.com

The Texas Education Agency recently announced 20 school systems will be part of a pilot program to develop local accountability systems. That’s now possible because of a law passed during the recent legislative session, which allows school districts to develop their own protocol to evaluate their schools.

On the NPR Ed Team, I am what you might call the grizzled veteran. I've seen education trends come and go and come again. And go again.

You get the idea.

In years past, around December, my teammates would often pause by my desk and ask: "What do you think we'll be covering next year?"

I've always found this a fun thought exercise, and, at some point, my editor suggested I jot down my answers and share them beyond our cubicles. And so, here are a few predictions for 2018.

Winter break is when many high school seniors are rushing to finish their college applications. Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson gets some tips from Lisa Micele (@LisaMicele), director of college counseling at the University of Illinois Laboratory High School in Urbana, Illinois.

10 ‘Micele Musts’ For College Applications And Using Your Winter Break

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

In light of the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia this past summer, the Dallas school board voted to change the names of four elementary schools named for Confederate generals: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, William Cabell and Albert Sidney Johnston.

We cover education stories every day. But our most popular education news of the year came the day that Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the U.S. secretary of education; our story that day was read nearly 1 million times. DeVos is a school choice activist and billionaire Republican donor who was nominated by President Trump and approved by the Senate, despite the fierce objections of Senate Democrats, teachers unions and others.

Gabriel Cristover Perez / KUT News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Free meals for students during winter break; gas prices are down in time for holiday road trips; the best movies of 2017; and more.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

It was one of those football game highlight moments. Dallas Cowboys fans went wild as punt return specialist Ryan Switzer dashed 83 yards for a touchdown in the first half against the visiting Washington Redskins last month.

Updated 12/19 11:15 a.m.

When the exclusions and exceptions the state grants charter schools are stripped away, Texas charter schools have an average graduation rate almost 30 percentage points lower than the state’s traditional school districts.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Students across the country aren’t just learning how to spell or solve math problems. They’re also learning what are known as social and emotional skills, like managing stress and having empathy. In Dallas ISD, teachers are learning how to teach these skills in the classroom.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Gym class every Thursday at the Young Men’s Leadership Academy in Pleasant Grove is unusual. Instead of typical sports or activities, the Boy Scouts take over, teaching the students camping and other skills.

Something else sets this school apart: It’s the district’s first all-boys school that’s not a magnet campus.

Rosa Say / Flickr

Voters chose to dissolve the school bus agency known as Dallas County Schools last month. The bus service will continue through the end of this school year while a committee oversees the dissolution of the agency.

In the meantime, the Dallas Independent School District and other districts that used the service are trying to figure out how they’re going to get kids to school next year.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A report finds that Texas is among the states that have made the deepest funding cuts to K-12 education over the past decade.

Plano ISD/Facebook

The superintendent of the Plano school district has resigned – and school officials remain tight-lipped about his sudden departure.

Kzenon / Shutterstock

Recent headlines, like the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict travelers from certain countries, have raised questions in education circles about whether U.S. politics are having an impact on foreign student enrollment at American universities. 

UT Dallas International Center

To get a sense of the importance of international students to the University of Texas at Dallas, you only need to look at the annual Homecoming Parade.

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