Education

NORTHEAST AUSTIN: 2 injured in school bus crash on U.S. 290 service road

NORTHEAST AUSTIN: 2 injured in school bus crash on U.S. 290 service road

A pickup truck apparently ran a red light before hitting a school bus carrying two students in Northeast Austin on Wednesday morning, an Austin school district spokesperson said. Austin-Travis County EMS medics took the drivers of the bus and the pickup truck to St. David’s Medical Center in Central Austin with injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening. The two...
Commentary: A second special session would stir up a million teachers

Commentary: A second special session would stir up a million teachers

The 85th Texas Legislature just completed a tumultuous special session, tasked by Gov. Greg Abbott to tackle 20 subjects not addressed to his liking during the regular session. The special session was an engineered opportunity for a legislative bonus round, necessitated after critical sunset legislation affecting medical licensure did not pass in May. Media reported that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick worked...
UT’s Fenves removes Confederate statues as symbols of white supremacy

UT’s Fenves removes Confederate statues as symbols of white supremacy

Ever since they were dedicated in 1933, statues of three Confederate leaders and one son of a Confederate officer had stood beneath graceful live oaks on the campus of the University of Texas. In a few hours late Sunday and early Monday, crews removed them from their pedestals on the orders of UT President Gregory L. Fenves, who said the university should no longer glorify those who subjugated African-Americans...
Lanier High’s Tara Bordeaux named Texas teacher of year finalist

Lanier High’s Tara Bordeaux named Texas teacher of year finalist

Lanier High School audio-video production teacher Tara Bordeaux surprised her students, donning a pirate costume to help them feel more at ease on their first day back in school Monday morning. But Bordeaux got a surprise of her own as Superintendent Paul Cruz and Lanier Principal Ryan Hopkins made an unexpected visit to her classroom to announce that she is one of the best teachers in Texas. &ldquo...
Austin students glimpse the solar eclipse during school watch parties

Austin students glimpse the solar eclipse during school watch parties

The typical students’ hems and haws of the first day back in school were overshadowed by the excitement of solar eclipse viewings Monday, with live watch parties at campuses throughout the Austin area. In the Eanes district, Westlake High School students had a schoolwide event and pep rally, watching the eclipse from Chaparral Stadium. In the Austin district, hundreds of Burnet Middle School...
LIVE COVERAGE: Solar eclipse watch parties in Austin, Eanes schools

LIVE COVERAGE: Solar eclipse watch parties in Austin, Eanes schools

Students will have a memorable first day at school today. Campuses throughout Central Texas are hosting live watch parties of the solar eclipse. In the Austin district, Burnet Middle School will have a school-wide watch party. Students will learn about the eclipse during class, then break outside the watch the eclipse, expected to peak at 1:10 p.m. Superintendent Paul Cruz will be visiting students...
Austin’s Tara Bordeaux is named Texas Teacher of the Year finalist

Austin’s Tara Bordeaux is named Texas Teacher of the Year finalist

Superintendent Paul Cruz made a surprise visit Monday morning to Lanier High School to announce Tara Bordeaux, the school’s audio-video production teacher, is a finalist for the Texas Teacher of the Year. The announcement came on the district’s first day back to school. Bordeaux spent 10 years in Los Angeles, where she worked in television and motion picture production, Bordeaux relocated...
First day of school arrives for Austin district students

First day of school arrives for Austin district students

They’re baaaack! Austin district students are back in school this morning, returning a week earlier than usual. Summer break was shorter this year for Austin and a dozen other local school districts that earned special innovation designations from the state. Being a District of Innovation gave them the option to decide when school should start, among other flexibilities. Multiple Central Texas...
UT removes Confederate statues from South Mall

UT removes Confederate statues from South Mall

University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves abruptly announced late Sunday that four statues of people with Confederate ties would be removed immediately from the school’s South Mall. The bronze likenesses of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston and Confederate Postmaster John H. Reagan will be relocated to the university’s Briscoe Center for American History...
Manor district launches two more New Tech schools to boost academics

Manor district launches two more New Tech schools to boost academics

Praised by former President Barack Obama as an example for the nation, Manor New Tech High School has continued to buck national trends by graduating nearly all of its students, largely ethnic minority members who are low-income, and sending them to college. But the Manor district has struggled to translate achievement at its flagship campus throughout the district and to its historically struggling...
Leander school board calls for $454 million bond election

Leander school board calls for $454 million bond election

The Leander school board Thursday night unanimously approved putting before voters in November a $454 million bond package, the first in 10 years. The bond package calls for four new schools to be built in the next four years; land purchases for nine more schools; design work for two other secondary schools; secure entrances at all middle and high schools; a second transportation facility and new...
NEW NOW: After Texas A&M rally canceled, white nationalist says he may hold event near campus

NEW NOW: After Texas A&M rally canceled, white nationalist says he may hold event near campus

After Texas A&M University canceled a white nationalist rally that was planned for September at the university's plaza, the organizer says he wants to host some sort of event off-campus. However, it would not be on Sept. 11, when the original rally was planned, said Preston Wiginton, the white nationalist who organized the “White Lives Matter” rally. Wiginton said he believes...
UT’s McRaven worries that U.S. is losing sight of its common humanity

UT’s McRaven worries that U.S. is losing sight of its common humanity

University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven said Thursday that the violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., has heightened his concern that the nation is losing sight of its common humanity. “Some, who are lost in a world of hatred, bigotry and violence, are focusing on our differences and not our commonalities,” McRaven said in a memo to the presidents of the 14 UT System...
Lawmakers provide little extra money for Austin-area school districts

Lawmakers provide little extra money for Austin-area school districts

Despite talk of teacher raises and a bill overwhelmingly approved by the Texas House that would have infused $1.8 billion into Texas schools, lawmakers left Austin this week without moving the needle much on education funding. At the end of the 29-day special legislative session this week, the Legislature passed a scaled back version of House Bill 21 that will spend $351 million on schools and $212...
Austin drivers cited $3.6 million for illegally passing school buses

Austin drivers cited $3.6 million for illegally passing school buses

Austin-area drivers paid $3.6 million in fines over a 17-month period for allegedly passing school buses illegally. Last year, the Austin school district launched its school bus stop-arm safety program, which uses bus-mounted video cameras to identify vehicles that illegally pass a bus after its flashing lights or its stop arm have activated. Nearly 20,700 tickets have been issued since the start...
UT’s Fenves: No place for white supremacy in America

UT’s Fenves: No place for white supremacy in America

University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves said Wednesday that white supremacy has no place in America, adding that he would evaluate how the Austin flagship should move forward in the wake of race-fueled violence in Charlottesville, Va. “The display of hatred and violent actions by white supremacists in Charlottesville reaffirms our need to reject racism, bigotry and discrimination in...
Leander trustees weigh $454 million school bond package

Leander trustees weigh $454 million school bond package

The Leander school board Thursday night is likely to call for a $454 million bond package, the first such proposal it has placed on the ballot in 10 years, to pay for four new schools and buy land for several more, among other things. The district says it can pay off the bonds without increasing its tax rate, a common selling point in fast-growing Central Texas. With 1,100 new students projected to...
Herman: Mars’ role in the future of Texas public education

Herman: Mars’ role in the future of Texas public education

Mars, people. The solution to what is always the biggest challenge our state faces will come from Mars. Or, says a leading state lawmaker, from people who make believe they’re from Mars. The suggestion came in inspiring and instructive remarks made late Tuesday by state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, as the special legislative session approached its end and he rose to express remorse that...
When the eclipse appears over Austin, DO NOT STARE AT IT

When the eclipse appears over Austin, DO NOT STARE AT IT

Staring at the sun is always a bad idea. It’s a bad idea even when the moon slides in front of the sun and blocks out most of the sun’s rays, as will happen on Monday for a little over two-and-a-half minutes. Basically, looking at the sun can give your eyeball a sunburn. Robert Rosa, an ophthalmologist at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine, explains in more...
Texas A&M could be on thin ice in cancelling white nationalist rally

Texas A&M could be on thin ice in cancelling white nationalist rally

When a white nationalist spoke at Texas A&M University in December, school officials said they were duty-bound to tolerate free speech, even speech they considered repugnant. A&M changed its policy later to bar outside people from using on-campus conference rooms without sponsorship of a university-sanctioned group. No such requirement applies to outdoor events at several free-speech zones on the...
SCHOOL RATINGS: Austin campuses rebound as state raises stakes

SCHOOL RATINGS: Austin campuses rebound as state raises stakes

Four Austin district schools failed to meet state academic standards, half as many failing campuses in the district as last year, under the latest accountability ratings released Tuesday. Burnet, Martin and Mendez middle schools, as well as Govalle Elementary, received ratings of Improvement Required, according to data released by the Texas Education Agency on Tuesday. “We’re happy...
Commentary: Texas schools are struggling. Why vouchers make it worse

Commentary: Texas schools are struggling. Why vouchers make it worse

Imagine if Texas had enough money to update all public schools, pay salaries appealing to the brightest and best graduates, and provide state-of-the-art materials and equipment. Imagine if private and parochial schools also requested state funding. I might stand at the front of the line to say, “Of course, Texas can fund private as well as public education.” Unfortunately, we do not enjoy...
Just in: These Central Texas schools fail state academic standards

Just in: These Central Texas schools fail state academic standards

Four Austin district schools failed to meet state academic standards, half as many failing campuses as last year, under the latest accountability ratings released Tuesday. Burnet, Martin and Mendez middle schools, as well as Govalle Elementary, received ratings of Improvement Required, according to data released by the Texas Education Agency Tuesday morning. “We’re happy that we&rsquo...
Legislature OKs $563 million bill for retired teachers, schools

Legislature OKs $563 million bill for retired teachers, schools

6:30 p.m. update: The Texas House reluctantly agreed on Tuesday to a $1.5 billion cut to one of its bills that would now inject $351 million into the public education system over the next two years. “To say I’m disappointed is an understatement,” said Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, the author of House Bill 21. “The biggest disappointment that all of us have is that we were unable...
Texas House tentatively approves Senate bill to study school funding

Texas House tentatively approves Senate bill to study school funding

The Texas House on Monday tentatively approved 142-2 Senate Bill 16, which would create a 15-member commission to study and make recommendations on the state’s beleaguered school finance system. The commission would be comprised of lawmakers, teachers and school officials as well those from the business and civic communities. The commission would be tasked with studying tax rates and policy...
Texas House tentatively approves bill to study school funding

Texas House tentatively approves bill to study school funding

The Texas House on Monday tentatively approved 142-2 Senate Bill 16, which would create a 15-member commission to study and make recommendations on the state’s beleaguered school finance system. The commission would be comprised of lawmakers, teachers and school officials as well those from the business and civic communities. The commission would be tasked with studying tax rates and policy...
East Austin school raising funds after fire destroys playground

East Austin school raising funds after fire destroys playground

Winn Elementary School in East Austin is trying to raise money for sports equipment and outdoor games after a fire destroyed the school’s playground on Aug. 1. An EdBacker.com fundraising campaign launched after Austin fire officials said damage to the playground was so severe that it was deemed unsafe and fenced off. The school is asking the public to help it raise $20,000 in donations. BACK...
Senate tentatively OKs bill banning insurance coverage of abortions

Senate tentatively OKs bill banning insurance coverage of abortions

The Senate on Saturday tentatively approved 20-10 House Bill 214, which would ban insurance coverage of abortions. The bill was approved along party lines with Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, abstaining. Under House Bill 214, private and state employee health plans as well as plans in the Affordable Care Act may not include coverage of abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger. The...
UT regents mapping strategy for political support on tuition

UT regents mapping strategy for political support on tuition

University of Texas System regents sketched out a strategy Friday to ensure that proposals to raise tuition and fees in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years are warranted and to seek support from local officials, lawmakers and statewide elected leaders before adopting them. The effort to bolster the tuition-setting process with an eye toward enlisting political support comes after a legislative...
Tax-free weekend: Know what’s on sale, how to deal with crowds

Tax-free weekend: Know what’s on sale, how to deal with crowds

Tax-free weekend in Texas is underway through Sunday. That means an automatic discount of 8.25 percent, the maximum sales tax rate in Texas. It’s not as good as a 20-percent-off sale or even a 10-percent-off sale, but look for stores that are having sales on top of the tax-free weekend sale for the most value. • School supplies: Binders; backpacks and book bags; calculators; cellophane...
Giving City: Arts strategies having positive results in classrooms

Giving City: Arts strategies having positive results in classrooms

On Monday, more than 1,000 teachers will be back on campus to learn creative teaching strategies based on arts techniques. The professional development workshops are part of a districtwide project called the Creative Learning Initiative, led by the Austin nonprofit Mindpop. During the daylong workshop, a teacher of young readers might learn how and when to ask students to act out or “stage&rdquo...
Commentary: How Texas high school principals can cultivate teen voters

Commentary: How Texas high school principals can cultivate teen voters

Our democracy depends on the active participation of young Texans in the electoral process. It is essential that we empower younger generations to make their voices heard through voting. To do this, we must first take an active role in ensuring that those who are eligible can and will register to vote. Fortunately, enshrined in the Texas Election Code is a unique provision that requires all high school...
Austin tax rate may mean election as city mulls AISD swap

Austin tax rate may mean election as city mulls AISD swap

Austin will consider a maximum tax rate of 46.5 cents per $100 of property value — a 14.4 percent revenue increase that could trigger an election — to facilitate a possible tax swap with the Austin school district. The City Council approved the maximum rate in a 6-4 vote Wednesday, despite council members Ellen Troxclair and Jimmy Flannigan saying they both intended to lead a citywide...
First bell rings early this year at Austin-area school districts

First bell rings early this year at Austin-area school districts

Summer break was shorter this year in the Lake Travis area, and don’t think for a minute that the kids don’t notice. In the first week of August, Lake Travis High School students were already picking up class schedules and paying for parking passes, with those in advanced courses lamenting that they had less time to finish summer assignments. “No one is really happy about going back...
Texas Senate leaders reject $1.8 billion House school finance fix

Texas Senate leaders reject $1.8 billion House school finance fix

Senate Republicans on Tuesday rejected a plan pushed by their GOP counterparts in the House to inject $1.8 billion into the beleaguered Texas public education system over the next two years. In a Capitol news conference, Senate Education Chair Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, flanked by 12 Republican Senate colleagues, said House Bill 21 uses one-time funding as well as Band-aid fixes to address...
Texas Senate Republicans stand firm on their education agenda

Texas Senate Republicans stand firm on their education agenda

Senate Republicans on Tuesday rejected a plan pushed by their GOP counterparts in the House to inject $1.8 billion into the beleaguered public education system over the next two years. In a Capitol news conference, Senate Education Chair Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, flanked by Republican Senate colleagues, said House Bill 21 uses one-time funding as well as Band-aid fixes to address school finance...
Will voters decide whether to use rainy fund money for public schools?

Will voters decide whether to use rainy fund money for public schools?

Texas voters would be asked to approve ongoing spending from the state’s rainy day fund for public education and the Teacher Retirement System under proposals discussed Monday in the House Appropriations Committee. Unlike Senate Republicans, who oppose using the $10 billion rainy day fund for items other than emergencies and one-time expenses, Texas House members are weighing several bills...
UT student sues Fenves over sexual assault suspension

UT student sues Fenves over sexual assault suspension

A University of Texas student claims in a lawsuit that UT President Gregory L. Fenves misapplied the school’s sexual assault policy and suspended him for five semesters even though his accuser agreed to have sex after a sorority formal in spring 2016. The case, which raises questions about the rights of the accused, comes amid national and local concern over the prevalence of campus sexual assault...
UT student sues Fenves over sexual assault suspension

UT student sues Fenves over sexual assault suspension

A University of Texas student claims in a lawsuit that UT President Gregory L. Fenves misapplied the school’s sexual assault policy and suspended him for five semesters even though his accuser agreed to have sex after a sorority formal in spring 2016. The case, which raises questions about the rights of the accused, comes amid national and local concern over the prevalence of campus sexual assault...
Commentary: HB 4 threatens local services without helping taxpayers

Commentary: HB 4 threatens local services without helping taxpayers

Texans are being crushed by the weight of their property taxes, but local governments are not the culprit. Short-sighted political decisions by our statewide “conservative” elected officials are to blame. They are misleading the public and choking our cities with the heavy hand of state government to extinguish local control. State representatives will debate House Bill 4 in the days to...
Texas House deepens battle lines with Senate on education priorities

Texas House deepens battle lines with Senate on education priorities

2:45 p.m. Monday update: The Texas House has officially passed House Bill 21, advancing it to the Senate. Earlier: Texas House members dug in Friday in their battle with Senate Republicans over education funding, reprising positions they took during the regular legislative session earlier this year. In a 130-12 vote, the House gave preliminary approval to House Bill 21 by House Public Education Chairman...
Texas House panel scraps Senate’s private school scholarship proposal

Texas House panel scraps Senate’s private school scholarship proposal

The Texas House Public Education Committee has agreed to scrap a priority measure in the Senate that would have created a scholarship program to help students with disabilities pay for private school. In a unanimous vote on Friday, the panel advanced the revised version of Senate Bill 2 to the full House, a move that deepens the divide between both chambers and clashes with Gov. Greg Abbott&rsquo...
Texas House approves $1.8 billion for public schools

Texas House approves $1.8 billion for public schools

The Texas House on Monday approved 130-13 a bill that would pump $1.8 billion into the public school system. House Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty, R-Houston, resurrected House Bill 21 which died in the regular session. HB 21 would increase the per-student basic allotment to $5,350 from $5,140. Increasing the basic allotment would reduce the recapture payments that property-wealthy school districts...
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