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:

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. 

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.

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