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Education

Austin district leaders launch three new early college high schools

Austin district leaders launch three new early college high schools

The Austin school district this fall will launch three new early college high schools, giving thousands of students an opportunity to earn an associate degree while earning their high school diploma. Crockett, Eastside Memorial and Lanier will offer the program, allowing students to earn up to 60 hours of college credit. The district partners with Austin Community College. The program targets first-generation...
Senate OKs bill requiring seat belts on new school buses

Senate OKs bill requiring seat belts on new school buses

The Texas Senate on Wednesday approved legislation requiring all school buses purchased after Sept. 1 to have three-point seat belts for all occupants. Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, said her bill would close a loophole in a 2007 state law that required the seat belts on school buses but was contingent on state funding that is no longer provided. Garcia said Senate Bill 693 was inspired by the families...
Senate bill would require seat belts on new school buses

Senate bill would require seat belts on new school buses

The Texas Senate on Wednesday approved legislation requiring all school buses purchased after Sept. 1 to have three-point seat belts for all occupants. Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, said her bill would close a loophole in a 2007 state law that required the seat belts on school buses but was contingent on state funding that is no longer provided. Garcia said Senate Bill 693 was inspired by the families...
Hundreds flock to Capitol to support more funding for charter schools

Hundreds flock to Capitol to support more funding for charter schools

4 p.m. update: Although it’s unclear whether lawmakers can find the money to give charter schools the boost they want given the tight budget cycle, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told a raucous crowd on Wednesday that he would try. “It’s not going to be easy to get the facility funding but … as lieutenant governor, I will do all I can in this budget conference to get money for the first...
Lawmakers consider bill that would reduce the number of STAAR tests

Lawmakers consider bill that would reduce the number of STAAR tests

A Central Texas lawmaker has filed a bill that would scale back the number of state standardized tests, including social studies and writing. More than two dozen lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, have signed on as co-authors of House Bill 1333, filed by Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs. The bill was heard in the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday. The main purpose of the bill...

EMS: Motorcyclist dies after falling 100 feet from MoPac flyover

NORTHWEST AUSTIN EMS: Motorcyclist dies after falling from flyover A motorcyclist died Tuesday afternoon after falling off the MoPac Boulevard overpass above U.S. 183, officials said. The motorcyclist was a woman estimated to have been in her 20s, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said. She fell roughly 100 feet around 4:15 p.m. Other details on the crash were not available Tuesday evening. &mdash...
Parent meeting at Boone Elementary to discuss ‘alleged sexual assault’

Parent meeting at Boone Elementary to discuss ‘alleged sexual assault’

Days after the American-Statesman first reported the case, Austin school officials have scheduled a meeting for Thursday evening to discuss allegations of a sexual assault at Boone Elementary. District leaders and school staff will meet with parents in the school cafeteria from 6 to 7 p.m. “to answer any questions about the alleged sexual assault that has been widely reported,” according...
LASA students cheat on AP course exam after gaining access to answers

LASA students cheat on AP course exam after gaining access to answers

Multiple students from the nationally ranked Liberal Arts and Science Academy, or LASA High School, cheated on their Advanced Placement U.S. History six-weeks exam after another student gained access to the answers. School officials discovered a LASA student accessed a teacher’s electronic test answers to the end-of-grading period exam and distributed them to other students. Fewer than 10 students...
Texas students demonstrate mixed results on STAAR reading, math tests

Texas students demonstrate mixed results on STAAR reading, math tests

Elementary and middle school students demonstrated mixed results this year in their performance on the first administration of Texas’ standardized tests. STAAR math scores for fifth- and eighth-grade students showed improvement, but reading scores for both grades dropped. Compared with last year, passing scores on the math test for both grade levels statewide were up 5 percentage points to 81...
Texas students demonstrate mixed results on STAAR exams

Texas students demonstrate mixed results on STAAR exams

Elementary and middle school students demonstrated mixed results this year on their performance on the first administration of Texas’ standardized tests. STAAR math scores for fifth and eighth grade students showed improvement, but reading scores for both grades dropped. Read the full story about this year’s scores .
Austin school board will appoint replacement for Trustee Paul Saldaña

Austin school board will appoint replacement for Trustee Paul Saldaña

The Austin school board late Monday night voted unanimously to appoint a replacement to fill the board seat being vacated by Trustee Paul Saldaña, who announced his resignation earlier this month. The district could post online the candidate applications and questionnaires as early as Wednesday. The public will be able to hear from the candidates during candidate forums and public interviews...
Herman: Proposal to require Texas lawmakers’ OK for state statue moves

Herman: Proposal to require Texas lawmakers’ OK for state statue moves

The battle over the University of Texas’ Jefferson Davis statue is over. So now we move on to the battle over the battle. And we all know where those are fought. Let’s say it all together: “Our state Capitol.” Quick background: The statue of the Confederate president stood (proudly in the eyes of some, disgracefully in the eyes of some others) on UT’s Main Mall from 1933...
Lawmakers to consider bill to scale back STAAR requirement Tuesday

Lawmakers to consider bill to scale back STAAR requirement Tuesday

The Texas Senate could have considered a bill on Tuesday that would continue a policy that allows high school students to graduate even if they fail state standardized tests. The Senate did not debate the bill on Tuesday but it could do so in the coming days. Senate Bill 463 filed by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, would allow schools to graduate high school seniors who fail up to two State of Texas...
Austin district trustees to appoint replacement to fill Saldaña’s seat

Austin district trustees to appoint replacement to fill Saldaña’s seat

The Austin school board on Monday night voted to appoint a replacement to fill the board seat being vacated by Trustee Paul Saldaña, who announced his resignation earlier this month. Saldaña’s departure leaves the board without Hispanic representation, and with only one minority, in a district that is comprised of mostly low-income, Latino students. In his farewell speech, Saldañ...
Retired UT provost Gerhard Fonken dies at 88

Retired UT provost Gerhard Fonken dies at 88

Gerhard Fonken scavenged apples as a youngster to help his family survive the Great Depression and went on to become executive vice president and provost of the University of Texas. Along the way, he saw the airship Hindenburg burn, served in the U.S. Army in Europe in the aftermath of World War II and in the Korean conflict, and earned a Ph.D. in chemistry. Fonken, who retired from UT in 1994, died...
Phillips: Texas should see charter schools as success, not experiment

Phillips: Texas should see charter schools as success, not experiment

The sign planted on a sprawling lot in North Austin is hopeful: “Future Home of NYOS Charter School,” it says in big, black block letters. NYOS, which stands for Not Your Ordinary School, bought the vacant 10-acre lot adjacent to its main campus on North Lamar Boulevard nearly a year ago. While the grass is cut and the property well-maintained, there is no sign of construction —...

Police seek 2 suspects in Lake Pflugerville shooting

PFLUGERVILLE Police seek suspects in shooting The Pflugerville Police Department said Sunday it is looking for two suspects in a shooting that injured one man on Lake Pflugerville on Saturday night. Police responded to a call of shots being fired at about 9 p.m. in the 18000 block of Weiss Lane, which runs along the lake. One person was found injured, and the Austin-Travis County EMS took the person...
Student arrested Saturday for threatening several Austin schools

Student arrested Saturday for threatening several Austin schools

An Akins High School student was arrested Saturday for allegedly making a terroristic threat against several district schools, school officials said. The Austin school district sent a letter to parents on Sunday informing them of the incident, which, according to the letter, occurred on Friday. Akins High School officials had been told that a student, who has not been named, made threats against Akins...
Transgender bathrooms overshadow Dripping Springs school board race

Transgender bathrooms overshadow Dripping Springs school board race

Three candidates, including two incumbents, are vying for two school board seats in Dripping Springs, where a battle over which bathroom a transgender student should use has overshadowed a typically low-key race. The trio — incumbent Ron Jones, a consultant; incumbent Barbara Stroud, a family law attorney; Trey Powers, a senior mortgage loan officer — said there are far greater challenges...
Seven candidates seek Hays school trustee positions

Seven candidates seek Hays school trustee positions

Hays school district voters in May will not only decide on the largest school bond package in the history of the school district totaling $250 million for new campuses and upgrades, but they’ll also vote on three positions on the board of trustees who will lead a rapidly growing district. Seven candidates are seeking spots for a District 1, District 2 and an at-large trustee position. READ:...

EDITORIAL: LASA, Kealing magnets opens for more Austin blacks, Latinos

The Austin Independent School District has taken a bold step in addressing the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in its acclaimed Liberal Arts and Science Academy and Kealing Middle School magnet program. It’s about time. Now, we urge AISD trustees and Austin schools Superintendent Paul Cruz to take another giant step by establishing a middle school and high school — on par with LASA...
San Marcos district seeks $107.3 million bond; six vie for board spots

San Marcos district seeks $107.3 million bond; six vie for board spots

The San Marcos school district is seeking approval of $107.3 million bond package that largely would fund facilities to accommodate the district’s rapid growth. The 8,098-student district is projected to rise to more than 10,000 students within the next decade, maxing out already overcrowded campuses. Currently, nine of the 11 schools in the district are overcrowded, district officials said...
Facebook comments: April 23, 2017

Facebook comments: April 23, 2017

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Thomas Jones, home-school athletes are a step closer to being allowed to compete in UIL-sanctioned event. Senate Bill 640, which would end a longtime ban on the athletes, was approved by the Texas Senate and will now move on the House for consideration. The measure has been dubbed the Tim Tebow bill in recognition of the former Heisman Trophy winner at...
Probe launched into school choice letters sent to legislators

Probe launched into school choice letters sent to legislators

The Travis County district attorney’s office is launching an investigation into whether hundreds of pro-school choice letters sent to lawmakers earlier this year were fraudulent. State Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin, said Friday she asked the district attorney’s office to investigate the letters, which were sent to several members of the House, including Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio...
State panel limits teaching phenomena that challenge evolution

State panel limits teaching phenomena that challenge evolution

By swapping out a few words in high school biology curriculum standards, the State Board of Education has limited the teaching of scientific phenomena that challenge the theory of evolution, a move that liberals hailed as a victory. The panel on Friday approved a pared down version of the high school biology curriculum standards after committees of teachers and scholars worked for months to streamline...
Travis County DA launches probe into school choice letter campaign

Travis County DA launches probe into school choice letter campaign

The Travis County district attorney’s office is launching an investigation into whether hundreds of pro-school choice letters sent to lawmakers earlier this year were fraudulent. State Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin, said Friday she asked the district attorney’s office to investigate the letters, which were sent to several members of the House, including Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio...
Phillips: Texas should see charter schools as success, not experiment

Phillips: Texas should see charter schools as success, not experiment

The sign planted on a sprawling lot in North Austin is hopeful: “Future Home of NYOS Charter School,” it says in big, black block letters. NYOS, which stands for Not Your Ordinary School, bought the vacant 10-acre lot adjacent to its main campus on North Lamar Boulevard nearly a year ago. While the grass is cut and the property well-maintained, there is no sign of construction —...
Editorial: Doors of Austin’s LASA, Kealing magnets open for more blacks, Latinos

Editorial: Doors of Austin’s LASA, Kealing magnets open for more blacks, Latinos

The Austin Independent School District has taken a bold step in addressing the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in its acclaimed Liberal Arts and Science Academy and Kealing Middle School magnet program. It’s about time. Now, we urge Austin ISD trustees and Superintendent Paul Cruz to take another giant step by establishing a middle school and high school — on par with LASA and Kealing...

Court grants Ph.D. graduate a reprieve from UT disciplinary hearing

A state appeals court has prohibited the University of Texas, at least temporarily, from conducting a disciplinary proceeding for deciding whether to revoke a Ph.D. conferred in 2008. The order Thursday by the 3rd Court of Appeals is the latest development in Suvi Orr’s long and circuitous legal battle to retain her doctorate in chemistry, which launched her career in the pharmaceutical industry...
Austin school police miss clues in possible campus rape of 4-year-old

Austin school police miss clues in possible campus rape of 4-year-old

Travis County prosecutors have opened an investigation into the possible sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl at a South Austin school, two months after school district police closed the case and questioned whether a crime had occurred — despite a crucial investigative lead they never followed. Medical records from Dell Children’s Medical Center obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV...

Suspects wreck car, steal pickup during chase in Williamson, Milam

WILLIAMSON COUNTY Officials: Suspects wreck car, steal pickup in chase Authorities arrested three people Thursday after a dramatic chase in Williamson and Milam counties in which the suspects wrecked their car and then stole a pickup truck, according to a news release from the Williamson County sheriff’s office. The names of the two men and one woman who were arrested were not released Thursday...
State board mulls integrating ethnic studies in high school curriculum

State board mulls integrating ethnic studies in high school curriculum

In what could be the first step in integrating ethnic studies into Texas high school curriculum, the State Board of Education is considering a new English class that examines works of authors from different ethnic backgrounds. Board member Georgina C. Pérez, D-El Paso, has proposed a comparative literature class for juniors or seniors that would include works by authors from diverse backgrounds...

UTIMCO board votes to add Aggie flavor to investment firm’s name

The board of directors for the University of Texas Investment Management Co. voted unanimously Thursday to add an Aggie flavor to the company’s name. The UT System Board of Regents is expected to sign off in May on the new name: the University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Co. The company will continue to be known as UTIMCO for short. UTIMCO directors took the action during a meeting...
Texas regulators won’t punish teacher for getting high in Colorado

Texas regulators won’t punish teacher for getting high in Colorado

In a move that could be good news for some future pot tourists, Texas education officials have officially dropped their case against an El Paso-area teacher who argued she shouldn’t be punished for a positive marijuana test because she had ingested the drug while vacationing in Colorado, where its use is legal. Texas’s State Board for Educator Certification had sought to suspend Maryam...
Hundreds gather at UT Tower to mourn student killed in crash

Hundreds gather at UT Tower to mourn student killed in crash

The Main Mall at the base of the University of Texas Tower is usually a quiet space during weeknights, with handfuls of students lounging on the steps or milling about. But on Wednesday evening, hundreds of students packed the esplanade to memorialize 21-year-old Nancy-Jane David with a candlelight service that started as the sun began to set. Students who knew David mourned her death this week after...
Five things to know about the $250 million Hays district bond

Five things to know about the $250 million Hays district bond

They Hays school district is seeking approval of a $250 million bond package to build new schools and upgrade existing campuses. Early voting begins Monday. Election Day is May 6. Here are five things you need to know before going to the polls. 1. It is the largest proposed school bond in the district’s history, and is broken into two propositions, the first for approximately $189.9 million...
Texas House gives preliminary OK to $1.6 billion school finance fix

Texas House gives preliminary OK to $1.6 billion school finance fix

Legislators on Wednesday embarked on a lofty first step to fixing Texas’ troubled school finance system that has vexed school district leaders across the state for the last couple of decades. The Texas House voted 134 to 16 to give preliminary approval to a $1.6 billion school finance bill after four hours of debating a slew of amendments that would determine how much public schools would get...
Lawsuit: Lake Hills Montessori staff fired for reporting child abuse

Lawsuit: Lake Hills Montessori staff fired for reporting child abuse

A former administrator at Lake Hills Montessori Cuernavaca filed a lawsuit April 17 in Travis County District Court claiming she was fired by the school’s founder for reporting the physical abuse of children in the school’s care. Lake Hills Montessori is a school for children ages 2 to 6 years old, serving approximately 100 students at any given time. In April 2016, staff at the school...
State Board of Education compromises on how evolution is taught

State Board of Education compromises on how evolution is taught

The State Board of Education has compromised on how Texas high school students will learn about the theory of evolution in school. “I think this is a product … of the board recognizing the input … and working with the committee to come up with an acceptable language … that both meets the expectations of the committee and also balances with it the input I’ve received...
Senate panel votes to scale back top 10% law for college admissions

Senate panel votes to scale back top 10% law for college admissions

A key state senator has abandoned his plan to repeal a 20-year-old law that grants high-ranking students automatic admission to any of the more than three dozen public universities in Texas. Instead, Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, wants to give the schools authority to limit such students to 30 percent of the incoming class from Texas. The Senate Higher Education Committee, which Seliger chairs, approved...
Bill that permanently eases STAAR requirements moves to Senate

Bill that permanently eases STAAR requirements moves to Senate

A bill that would allow students to graduate high school even if they don’t pass all state standardized tests has advanced to the Texas Senate. To graduate from high school, students must pass five end-of-course State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. A bill in 2015 revised the requirement so that students who fail one or two of the tests could still graduate as long as they meet all...
State panel compromises on curriculum that challenges evolution

State panel compromises on curriculum that challenges evolution

The State Board of Education has compromised on how Texas high school students will learn about the theory of evolution in school. “I think this is a product…of the board recognizing the input …and working with the committee to come up with an acceptable language…that both meets the expectations of the committee and also balances with it the input I’ve received from...
UT investment company’s name, board to take on more of an Aggie flavor

UT investment company’s name, board to take on more of an Aggie flavor

You wouldn’t know it at first blush, but the University of Texas Investment Management Co. doesn’t just oversee stocks, bonds and other assets for Longhorn Nation. The $18 billion Permanent University Fund endowment it manages also benefits Aggieland. The investment company’s name and the makeup of its board of directors will soon take on more of an Aggie flavor. On Wednesday, the...
House to consider $1.6 billion school finance bill Wednesday

House to consider $1.6 billion school finance bill Wednesday

The Texas House will consider and possibly approve a $1.6 billion school finance bill and a slew of other amendments on Wednesday that could determine how much public schools will get in extra funding over the next two years. Under House Bill 21 filed by Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, most school districts would see a boost but because of the complex school finance system, some would actually see less...
Bill that permanently eases STAAR requirements moves to Senate

Bill that permanently eases STAAR requirements moves to Senate

A bill that would allow students to graduate high school even if they don’t pass all state standardized tests has advanced to the floor of the Texas Senate. To graduate from high school, students must pass five end-of-course State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. A bill in 2015 revised the requirement so that students who fail one or two of the tests could still graduate as long as...
Texas Senate pitches simplified school funding formula

Texas Senate pitches simplified school funding formula

The day before the House is slated to consider its big school finance fix, the Senate education panel weighed even loftier changes to the complicated and outdated school funding formula on Tuesday. Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood and chairman of the Senate Education Committee, has proposed a package of bills that would make substantial changes to funding formula, including eliminating several components...
The politics of teaching evolution in Texas comes down to one word

The politics of teaching evolution in Texas comes down to one word

The State Board of Education is expected to resolve on Friday a months-long tug-of-war over whether Texas high school students should continue learning theories that challenge the scientific understanding of evolution. It started in January when a committee of educators and scholars appointed by the State Board of Education to streamline the state’s voluminous biology curriculum standards recommended...
Commentary: U.S. needs to invest more in STEM education

Commentary: U.S. needs to invest more in STEM education

As a kid, I spent winters dreaming of snow days. While classmates were sledding or making snow angels during unexpected snow days, my brother and I were mixing “treatments” in beakers and peering at blastocyst cells through a microscope. That’s because my mother, like many mothers all over the country, needed to take us to work when child care wasn’t available. Her office was...
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