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:

Dean Terry (cc) flickr

The Dallas School District holds a series of public meetings this week to find out what citizens want in their next Superintendent. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports some trustees already have an idea what they’ll say.

School funding in Texas is in turmoil. State lawmakers slashed more than $4 billion from education this school year — one of the largest cuts in state history — and more than 12,000 teachers and support staff have been laid off.

Academic programs and transportation have been cut to the bone. Promising reforms are on hold or on the chopping block. Next year, the cuts could go even deeper.

Bill Zeeble

When Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings campaigned for office, he said public education would be a top priority. What's happened since then? KERA's Bill Zeeble takes a look.

More than 400,000 Texas students will have the option of transferring to new schools because their schools have ended up on the Public Education Grant list. KERA's Shelley Kofler says making the PEG list brands a school as having poor academic standards.

There are two ways a campus can make the dreaded PEG list. It can be rated unacceptable or at least twice in the past three years at least 50 percent of its students have failed part of the TAKS test.

The Texas Association of Business wants the state to withhold some money for community colleges until graduate rates rise. The group has even put up billboards to encourage support. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports the Dallas County Community College District says the business group doesn't know the whole story.

A new billboard on Central Expressway reads "8 PERCENT OF DALLAS COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS GRADUATE IN 3 YEARS. IS THAT FAIR TO THE STUDENTS? It's signed by the Texas Association of Business.

Some DISD parents and activists are demanding changes to what they call unfair school discipline policies that create a pipeline to prison. KERA's Bill Zeeble was at a demonstration outside Dallas County's Juvenile Justice Center.

Members of a group called the Texas Organizing Project cite a recent Texas study from the Council of State Governments that found more than half of Texas students were expelled or suspended over a 6 year period, and most of them were Black or Hispanic.

Dallas, TX – 16 year-old high school junior Kevin Chang, from Plano, could win a prestigious national science contest later this morning. The top prize is $100,000 in scholarship money. KERA's Bill Zeeble talked to Chang in Washington D.C., the site of the finals.

Chang attends the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, a kind of specialty high school at UNT. The teen says he's loved mathematics from elementary school days.

Dallas, TX – Texas public schools are awaiting results from last month's brand-new STAAR test. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness replaces the old test and will become the required end-of-course exam. Outgoing Plano Senator Florence Shapiro, Chair of the Education Committee, sat down with KERA's Bill Zeeble to talk about this test and other education issues.

Dallas, TX – A survey by one teachers group is providing a look at how state budget cuts may be affecting Texas school districts. KERA's Shelley Kofler says the survey comes as lawsuits challenging school funding take shape.

The online survey from the Texas American Federation of Teachers isn't scientific, but it's a glimpse into what has happened in schools since the state legislature reduced their funding by more than four billion dollars.

Dallas, TX – The Cedar Hill School District says it will try convincing voters to pass another bond proposal after citizens narrowly rejected package last week. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more on Cedar Hill's dilemma.

Citizens rejected the bond by just sixty-seven votes and also also turned down a tax hike to bolster shrinking operating funds.

Dallas, TX – A newly-launched pilot education program could help more North Texans attend college. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports TexCan - the Texas College Access Network - will target first generation and low-income students.

Dallas, TX – Some Carrollton-Farmers Branch elementary students are in the "greeting card" business this year. KERA's BJ Austin says it's a money-making idea from the district's Educational Foundation - which is working to help fill the gap left by state budget cuts.

Dallas, TX – The midnight deadline has passed for excess Dallas teachers to take a resignation deal. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports the school district doesn't yet know how many took the offer, prompted by the state's education budget cuts.

Dallas, TX – A Dallas non-profit is trying to raise awareness about students with time on their hands after school and no safe place to spend it. KERA's Courtney Collins explains.

A special event at the Dallas After School Network kicked off with a demonstration by Marsh Middle School's Junior ROTC. Eighth grader Sandra Diaz is very involved with that program and spends hours after school practicing marching and drills.

Dallas, TX – This week, the Mesquite School District won another top honor for student achievement. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more on Mesquite's winning formula.

In classroom - Starla Richter: Does a poem always have to rhyme? Students: No.

Third grade teacher Starla Richter is teaching language arts using poetry examples flashed on a screen. Learning here is fun, the quizzing is like a game. Children speak the answers, but can also click them on a handheld device.

Dallas, TX – Students in Tarrant County who have been squinting at the blackboard all year were given the gift of sight today. KERA's Courtney Collins explains.

Most sixth grade girls don't beam over a pair of prescription glasses, but Karen says her chic, Juicy Couture frames are as stylish as any accessory.

Karen: "I picked out some glasses that are purple on the outside and green on the inside."

Dallas, TX –

What was expected to be a routine vote on a state proposition to extend a low-interest student loan program may have run into a political buzz-saw called the Texas Tea Party. Texas Public Radio's David Martin Davies has more.

Fort Worth – As Fort Worth schools continue struggling with a state budget shortfall of up to $80 million over the next 2 years, the district is still considering cuts to some or all of its all-day pre-kindergarten program, including pre-k assistants. KERA's Bill Zeeble explains.

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