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:

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Experts say teaching a child how to read at a young age can make a big difference later in life. Last week, Tarrant County education groups held a forum to discuss how to get younger kids to read – and how to get their parents involved.

SAD_Hortons_Kids 114 / U.S. Department of Education

Texas is one of two states that doesn’t offer educators the option of getting a certification in early childhood education. A Texas legislator wants to change that.

State Rep. Dan Huberty says teachers should receive special training to teach the state’s youngest students. That’s why he’s sponsoring a bill that would let teachers receive an early childhood certificate. The Houston-area Republican addressed his colleagues earlier this week during a House subcommittee hearing on teacher quality.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

State Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, wants to shut down an agency called Dallas County Schools. It provides bus service to several North Texas school districts, including Dallas ISD, which favors the senator’s plans.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Focus Academy, an 18-year-old charter school in southern Dallas, is about to close because the state says it has failed to improve bad ratings three years running. The school wants a reprieve after taking in kids from Prime Prep Academy — the school that former Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders founded. The state shut it down two years ago.

Fort Worth ISD Facebook Page / Fort Worth ISD

School districts in Dallas, Fort Worth and across North Texas are making a big push this week to get parents to enroll their kids in pre-kindergarten.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Families and students of Focus Academies in southern Dallas are holding a rally Thursday to make a last-ditch bid to keep the school open. The state says the charter school has agreed to close after poor academic years.

Texas House Education Committee Backs Bill Overhauling A-F System

Apr 4, 2017
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

In a bittersweet victory for educators seeking edits to the state's proposed A-F system for grading Texas public schools and districts, the House Public Education Committee voted 11-0 Tuesday in favor of a bill that would drastically change the system.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

O.D. Wyatt – and the Fort Worth neighborhood around it – looks a lot different now than when the school opened in 1968.

Texas Senate Passes Private School Choice Bill

Mar 31, 2017
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Texas senators spent hours on Thursday questioning how a “private school choice” bill would hold private schools accountable or help students with disabilities before voting to give it final passage, 18-13.

Lara Solt / Special contributor to KERA

A classroom used as a prayer room at Liberty High School in Frisco got the attention of the Texas attorney general’s office this month. The office sent a letter raising constitutional concerns about the room. The Frisco superintendent called the letter a "publicity stunt" and said the prayer room has been in use for several years without complaints. 

Courtesy of Paul Quinn College

Dallas’ Paul Quinn College has earned federal recognition as an official “work college,” making it the first urban, Historically Black College and University and the ninth college in the country to earn the designation.

School Choice Bill Proponents, Foes Debate What's Best For Families

Mar 21, 2017
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Maria Aberra put on her red school uniform shirt with the Texas emblem like she does every morning — but instead of heading to her charter school, she drove 20 miles with her mom Tuesday to the Capitol to testify on school choice.

Samantha Guzman / KERA News

Duncanville High School has undergone big demographic changes in recent years. Today, about 70 percent of the students are considered economically disadvantaged — students like Rykeyia Branch. The high school senior is juggling classes with a part-time job and her role as manager of the Panthers softball team.

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University's first openly gay student body president is set to take office next month, marking a milestone for the largest public university in the state. 

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Frisco Superintendent Jeremy Lyon responded sharply to questions about Liberty High School's prayer room Friday, calling a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office "a publicity stunt."

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

As the city of Frisco has morphed from small town to boom town, its schools have transformed, too. These days, the majority of Frisco students are non-white. 

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Texas ranks third in the country for the highest number of homeless students in public schools, and research suggests these kids fall behind academically because they’re prone to more health problems.

UNT System

The University of North Texas System Chancellor Lee Jackson said Thursday he’ll retire at the end of August. He’s been on the job for the last 15 years. Jackson’s service in North Texas goes back decades.

Amna Salman (foreground) and other Muslim students gather to pray inside a classroom at Liberty High. Photo/Lara Solt
Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

The city of Frisco has transformed over the last quarter century – from a country town to a booming suburb that’s home to high-end shops and the Dallas Cowboys. Its schools have been transformed, too. Here's a look at how one school — Liberty High — is changing.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Through demographic and economic changes over the years, Duncanville High School, in a suburb south of Dallas, has maintained one constant — a winning girls basketball team.

Unlikely Allies: Some Homeschoolers Fighting To Kill School Choice Bill

Feb 27, 2017
Trace Thomas for The Texas Tribune

Nicki Truesdell is a product of homeschooling and would never enroll her four younger children in a public or private school. Corrine French has spent the last five years serving on the board of a rural public school district in North Texas.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Poverty is surging at Kimball High School in Dallas. Fifteen years ago, 57 percent of the families were economically disadvantaged. Today, it’s 83 percent. The Oak Cliff school is battling those numbers and turning around a dismal academic record — in part with its hospitality and tourism program.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Kimball High School in Dallas has endured a demographic earthquake over the past 50 years. First came integration, then busing and white flight, followed by waves of immigration, economic troubles and competition from charter and private schools. Again and again, the educational landscape has been reshaped — and so has the Oak Cliff neighborhood of southern Dallas.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

For decades, public schools across North Texas have endured demographic changes – from integration, then busing and white flight, followed by waves of immigration, economic troubles and competition from charter and private schools.

Shutterstock

Like schools in the state's large cities, many rural districts in Texas are worried the Legislature will embrace vouchers – which would allow families to get state money to move kids from public schools to private and religious alternatives.

They have pretty significant differences with their big-city brethren, though, when it comes to teacher retention and special services for students.

School Choice Bill Pitches Savings Accounts, Tax Credit Scholarships

Jan 30, 2017
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

One of the most anticipated debates of the 85th Legislative Session began taking shape Monday with the layout of a two-part Texas Senate bill that would allow for Texas taxpayer dollars to be used to help parents send their kids to private or religious schools.

Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

Addressing a crowd of cheering supporters on the Texas Capitol's south steps, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick declared Tuesday that he wanted both the House and Senate to take a vote on his upcoming private school choice bill.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

In Richardson, high school students are learning about all kinds of health care jobs, from emergency medical technician to nurse’s aide. They’re also getting hands-on experience, but they’re not getting it in a traditional classroom.

Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune

With increased federal attention on the low percentage of Texas students receiving special education services, the state is poised to ensure the number of students receiving such services will increase over the next year. And disability rights advocates are hoping to go even further, aiming to improve the overall quality of those services.

Bill Zeeeble / KERA News

On an Oak Cliff boulevard near the iconic Texas Theatre stands a colorful tree-trunk-like structure with a hand on top. The 17-and-a-half-foot sculpture’s only been there a few weeks and was officially dedicated in December. 

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