Education

San Marcos teacher charged with having improper relationship with student

San Marcos teacher charged with having improper relationship with student

A San Marcos teacher and coach is accused of having an improper relationship with a student, according to his arrest affidavit. Rodney Guerrero, 39, was arrested Saturday and charged with improper relationship between educator/student. He describes himself as “the boys athletic coordinator at Goodnight Middle School” on the school’s website.  The student first met...
Texas Tech Chancellor Robert Duncan to retire

Texas Tech Chancellor Robert Duncan to retire

Robert Duncan, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System and a former state legislator, announced Monday that he will retire at the end of the month. “As we approach the start of a new school year, I look back with pride on the tremendous strides we have made in recent years,” Duncan said in an email to the university community. “But I have also reflected on my life, my decades...
Austin school bus driver sexually abused student, police say

Austin school bus driver sexually abused student, police say

An Austin school district bus driver who admitted touching a 5-year-old student inappropriately several times was arrested Friday and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, his arrest affidavit says. Cesar Antonio Maldonado, 57, was booked into the Travis County Jail on Friday night and was still being held in lieu of $50,000 bail Monday afternoon. School district police got involved in...

Texas Digest: Despite bonuses, prisons still short of guards

CRIMINAL JUSTICE Prisons short of guards despite bonuses The Texas prison system is still facing staffing shortages seven months after designating $9 million to bring down the 14 percent officer vacancy rate. The Houston Chronicle reported that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has 3,675 unfilled positions, about 30 more than in January, when state officials started addressing the issue. But...
Austin school bus driver accused of sexually assaulting young student, affidavit states

Austin school bus driver accused of sexually assaulting young student, affidavit states

An Austin school district bus driver who admitted touching a 5-year-old student inappropriately several times was arrested Friday and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, his arrest affidavit says. Cesar Antonio Maldonado, 57, was booked into the Travis County Jail on Friday night and was still being held in lieu of $50,000 bail Monday afternoon. School district police got involved in...
School ratings under new Texas system to be released Wednesday

School ratings under new Texas system to be released Wednesday

Texas school districts will receive letter grades this week under a new statewide rating system unpopular among public school officials. On Wednesday, the Texas Education Agency will label school districts with an A, B, C, D or F and campuses with a rating of “met requirement” or “improvement required,” based on performance in the 2017-18 school year. Campuses will not be graded...
Golden: Star athletes say parents are the real coaches

Golden: Star athletes say parents are the real coaches

Joe Dumars, Mark Henry and Lacey Henderson are three athletic greats from three different generations. They have walked different paths in their athletic journeys but share an identical message when it comes to dealing with young people. It all starts at home. Parents are the real coaches. Before a kid ever picks up a baseball bat, throws a football or joins a team at school, the folks play the most...
Shooting drills train educators, school administrators to be marshals

Shooting drills train educators, school administrators to be marshals

Desolate halls at Pflugerville’s Windermere Elementary School, free of the students who will file into their first day of class in less than a week, reverberated with fake gunshots against fake bad guys Friday as 20 soon-to-be school marshals tested their training. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement hosted its fifth round of school marshal training of the summer, which kicked off Aug. 4...
UT regents give Army’s Futures Command free use of space temporarily

UT regents give Army’s Futures Command free use of space temporarily

University of Texas System regents signed off Friday on plans to allocate space — at no charge until December 2019 — in the system’s downtown Austin building to the U.S. Army for its Futures Command, which is tasked with leading a modernization of military technologies and building partnerships with innovators in academia and industry. The regents also voted, as expected, to...
FOLLOW LIVE: UT regents expected to approve Army lease, $1B endowment payout

FOLLOW LIVE: UT regents expected to approve Army lease, $1B endowment payout

University of Texas System regents are expected to take up a variety of matters on Friday. Among them: — Approval of a lease of space in the UT System’s downtown Austin headquarters building to the U.S. Army for its Futures Command, which is charged with leading a modernization of military technologies and building partnerships with innovators in academia and industry. Lt. Gen. Eric J...
Commentary: Texas issues A-F grades for schools Aug. 15

Commentary: Texas issues A-F grades for schools Aug. 15

On Aug. 15, the Texas Education Agency will issue report cards for our schools. We do this for two main reasons: First, parents should know how well our schools are performing, so they can better support their children; second, educators benefit from having clear information about school performance, highlighting successes and challenges, to help improve support for students over time. This year,...
Texas' No. 1 public high school is right here in Austin, list says

Texas' No. 1 public high school is right here in Austin, list says

One of Austin’s top high schools racked up another honor: Best public high school in Texas. Liberal Arts & Science Academy, a public magnet school located on the LBJ campus, earned the distinction from the neighborhood and school review site Niche.  According to Niche’s latest ranking of the best public high schools in the U.S., LASA ranked No. 11, with a grade of A+ on the site...
Texas education chief suggests paying higher-performing teachers more

Texas education chief suggests paying higher-performing teachers more

Paying quality teachers significantly more could go a long way in recruiting top college graduates and retaining educators at the state’s neediest campuses, Education Commissioner Mike Morath told Texas lawmakers Wednesday. But Morath proposed an approach — paying some teachers more based on their performance — that was panned by teacher union representatives if tied to student test...
Approval of record $1 billion payout from endowment on regents’ plate

Approval of record $1 billion payout from endowment on regents’ plate

The Board of Regents of the 14-campus University of Texas System will dive into a range of topics at a two-day meeting this week, from a discussion about the public value of a university system to a recommendation from its staff to boost the payout from a higher education endowment to just more than $1 billion, a record. The endowment, known as the Permanent University Fund, consists of stocks, bonds...
Charter schools see big enrollment gains in Central Texas

Charter schools see big enrollment gains in Central Texas

Charter schools continue their rapid expansion in Central Texas, and likely will enroll 30,000 students in dozens of campuses this school year. Austin Achieve this week opened its second campus in Northeast Austin, which will allow the school to serve 1,500 additional students within a few years. Valor Public Schools will make its debut in South Austin next week, expecting to enroll 450-500 students...
School ratings under new Texas system to be released next week

School ratings under new Texas system to be released next week

Texas school districts next week will learn what letter grade they have received under a new statewide rating system, unpopular among public school officials. On Aug. 15, the Texas Education Agency will release whether school districts earned an A, B, C, D or F and whether campuses earned a rating of ‘met standard’ or ‘improvement required,’ based on performance in the 2017-18...
Austin-area districts take advantage of new law to start school early

Austin-area districts take advantage of new law to start school early

The first bell rings early this year for nearly all Central Texas public school students. Two Austin charter schools opened at the end of July, and two more opened Monday. Meridian School, a charter school in Round Rock, will follow Wednesday. The first traditional school districts in the area to open their doors will do so Aug. 15. The state mandates school starting no earlier than the fourth Monday...
PolitiFact: Texas law requires credit for AP exams

PolitiFact: Texas law requires credit for AP exams

In his first run for governor, Greg Abbott urged a change in law requiring Texas public colleges and universities to give course credit to students who get above-average scores on Advanced Placement exams. In his October 2013 compendium of campaign vows, Abbott called for lawmakers to adopt a statewide AP credit-by-exam policy requiring public colleges and universities to award course credit to students...
Veteran administrator Milliken sole finalist for UT System chancellor

Veteran administrator Milliken sole finalist for UT System chancellor

University of Texas System regents voted Saturday to name James B. Milliken, former chancellor of the City University of New York and former president of the University of Nebraska, as the sole finalist for chancellor of the 14-campus system. The unanimous vote by the Board of Regents, with Regent Rad Weaver absent, came at a special meeting behind closed doors in Austin at which the regents interviewed...
UT regents name James B. Milliken sole finalist for chancellor

UT regents name James B. Milliken sole finalist for chancellor

University of Texas System regents voted Saturday to name James B. Milliken, former chancellor of the City University of New York and former president of the University of Nebraska, as the sole finalist for chancellor of the 14-campus system. The unanimous vote by the Board of Regents, with Regent Rad Weaver absent, came at a special closed-door meeting in Austin at which the regents interviewed candidates...
Austin-area school board member resigns seat after 23 years

Austin-area school board member resigns seat after 23 years

One of Central Texas’ longest-serving school trustees is stepping down after 23 years. Don Hisle, 71, who has served on the Leander school district’s board since 1995, has announced he won’t seek re-election in November. Hisle’s latest term, to which he was re-elected in 2015, ends this year. The election is in November, and candidate filing is underway. Leander school board...
Former Austin school police officer indicted in hit-and-run

Former Austin school police officer indicted in hit-and-run

A former Austin school district police officer has been indicted in a hit-and-run, which was caught on video, that seriously injured a woman in a South Austin parking lot earlier this year. Adam Marsh, 33, is expected to turn himself in to the Travis County Jail by the end of the week, his attorney Robert McCabe said Thursday. A district spokesman said he also resigned his position Thursday. Marsh...
Former Austin schools police officer indicted in hit-and-run

Former Austin schools police officer indicted in hit-and-run

A former Austin school district police officer has been indicted in a hit-and-run that was caught on video and seriously injured a woman in a South Austin parking lot earlier this year. Adam Marsh, 33, is expected to turn himself in to the Travis County Jail by the end of the week, his attorney Robert McCabe said Thursday. A district spokesman said he also resigned his position Thursday. Marsh is...
Law enforcement, educators discuss school safety ahead of new year

Law enforcement, educators discuss school safety ahead of new year

Educators, lawmakers and law enforcement officials from Central Texas gathered ahead of the school year to discuss how to prevent and respond to school shootings. The Austin Regional Intelligence Center and the FBI hosted a gathering on Aug. 1, the last of the three-part series to address school safety measures, said Austin police Lt. Matt Greer, ARIC’s director. Both agencies organized the...
Retired Texas teachers face giant hurdle to pension boost

Retired Texas teachers face giant hurdle to pension boost

To give retired teachers a chance at a pension bump — something that hasn’t happened in more than a decade for some — the Legislature will have to approve at least an additional $786 million in funding annually, according to new data from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Teachers say the new figure points to the need for the state to step up its contributions to the $151 billion...
Austin-area school districts lift college-ready rates to 63 percent

Austin-area school districts lift college-ready rates to 63 percent

More Central Texas high school seniors are graduating ready for college, preliminary data for the class of 2018 show. Graduates from five Austin-area districts – Austin, Round Rock, Leander, Pflugerville and Hutto — all posted gains in college readiness rates, up 5 percentage points from last year to 63 percent collectively. Hutto saw the most improvement, jumping 16 percentage points...
Deputy Chancellor David Daniel to retire from his UT System post

Deputy Chancellor David Daniel to retire from his UT System post

David E. Daniel, the deputy chancellor of the University of Texas System and a former president of UT-Dallas, will retire at the end of August. Daniel, 68, led the UT System’s failed bid to operate Los Alamos National Laboratory, and his departure comes as the Board of Regents seeks a new chancellor to succeed Bill McRaven, who stepped down at the end of May. It was McRaven who created the position...

UT board could name finalist for chancellor after interviews Saturday

University of Texas System regents will meet Saturday to interview candidates for chancellor of the 14-campus system and could name one or more finalists that day. Former UT-Austin President Larry Faulkner has been serving as interim chancellor since the end of May, when Bill McRaven stepped down, citing health concerns and a desire to teach, write and pursue other interests. McRaven was an unusual...
PolitiFact: Greg Abbott’s vow to kill CSCOPE, common core is stalled

PolitiFact: Greg Abbott’s vow to kill CSCOPE, common core is stalled

Accepting his party’s 2014 gubernatorial nomination, Greg Abbott vowed to kill an educational resource already cut. In the same breath, he promised to stop Texas from embracing academic standards that were already curbed. “I will drive a stake through the heart of CSCOPE and will never allow common core in Texas,” Abbott said. Four years later, we found little has happened on Abbott&rsquo...
Austin-area districts pump more money into security after shootings

Austin-area districts pump more money into security after shootings

In the wake of mass school shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Central Texas districts are beefing up their security budgets for the new school year, hiring more police officers, creating safety positions and examining whether to set up their own police departments. Austin-area districts, from Georgetown to Hays, are collectively pumping millions more into security. Among the changes, multiple...
Competing views of academic freedom at UT land before appeals court

Competing views of academic freedom at UT land before appeals court

The evolving debate over academic freedom at the University of Texas is now squarely before a federal appeals court considering three professors’ right to challenge the state’s campus carry gun law. Correspondence from the professors’ lawyer, the state attorney general’s office and UT’s president — all of which take different positions on academic freedom &mdash...
Commentary: How Texas schools benefit from unbiased energy curriculum

Commentary: How Texas schools benefit from unbiased energy curriculum

Texas powers the nation. The Lone Star State leads the nation in natural gas, oil, and wind power — and our energy reserves stretch into the next century. CNBC just ranked Texas as the best state for business and credited our energy sector with powering our economy. I’m grateful for the Statesman’s coverage of the Texas Natural Gas Foundation’s work to educate young Texans...
After grading error, all Austin high school rankings to get audit

After grading error, all Austin high school rankings to get audit

After a grading glitch incorrectly ranked Reagan High School’s valedictorian as No. 2, Austin school officials are planning to hire an independent auditor to review the final 2018 class rankings at all 13 of the district’s high schools. Officials are soliciting bids for the work and anticipate the audit to be complete by October. It is unclear how much an audit will cost; if quotes come...
Phillips: Austin ISD should recognize Reagan High’s true valedictorian

Phillips: Austin ISD should recognize Reagan High’s true valedictorian

Without a tie, there should be one high school valedictorian: the student who earned it. In the case of Reagan High School’s Class of 2018, that student is Naomi Lands. Because of a computing error by the Austin Independent School District, Naomi was initially denied the honor – and the scholarship that went with it. She was not allowed to give the graduation keynote reserved for valedictorians...
Two candidates file to represent Austin district’s school board

Two candidates file to represent Austin district’s school board

Two Austin district school board candidates filed for election on Monday, the first filing day for the Nov. 6 election. Five school board seats are up for election to represent four single-member districts and one at-large position. Kristin Ashy, a long-time school volunteer, including serving on the district’s facilities and bond committee, was the first to file Monday morning. Ashy is running...
UT regents honor Austin couple for supporting higher education

UT regents honor Austin couple for supporting higher education

Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long grew up in modest households — she the daughter of a dairy farmer, he the son of an electrician. Each was a high school valedictorian. She went on to earn three degrees at the University of Texas, including a doctorate in education. He earned an associate degree at what is now Tarleton State University, as well as bachelor’s and law degrees at the Austin flagship...
UT: Professors have academic freedom, despite what we say in court

UT: Professors have academic freedom, despite what we say in court

In defending its policy allowing the concealed carry of handguns in classrooms, the University of Texas has taken a surprising position in a federal appeals court — that individual professors do not have academic freedom. “The right to academic freedom, if it exists, belongs to the institution, not the individual professor,” says a brief filed by the state’s lawyers on behalf...
Report: Texas student arrests have soared since Parkland, Santa Fe

Report: Texas student arrests have soared since Parkland, Santa Fe

More Texas students are being arrested for terroristic threats and firearm violations since mass shootings at high schools in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, according to a Tuesday report commissioned by social advocacy groups. About 1,470 law enforcement referrals were made for terroristic threats and exhibition of firearms from January through May, the study found. Referrals to law enforcement for...
Grading glitch incorrectly ranks Reagan High valedictorian No. 2

Grading glitch incorrectly ranks Reagan High valedictorian No. 2

Six years of studying every night until the early hours of the morning, working daily through lunch on homework and projects in a teacher’s classroom and abandoning high school extracurricular activities paid off for Naomi Lands. Lands graduated at the top of her 2018 Reagan High School class, the Austin district’s only black valedictorian this year. But the 17-year-old didn’t receive...
Safety, security at Los Alamos lab to be top priority for A&M team

Safety, security at Los Alamos lab to be top priority for A&M team

The incoming director of Los Alamos National Laboratory said Tuesday that a key mission for the Texas A&M University System and its partners in running the lab will be to elevate safety and security at the nuclear weapons facility. “Do you have an organization that learns when something goes wrong?” said Thomas Mason, adding that an affirmative answer is crucial so that lessons from errors...
A&M chancellor to discuss new contract to run Los Alamos nuclear lab

A&M chancellor to discuss new contract to run Los Alamos nuclear lab

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp on Tuesday morning spoke in Austin on the system’s partnership with the University of California System and Battelle Memorial Institute to operate Los Alamos National Laboratory, heart of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex. The A&M-UC-Battelle team, known as Triad National Security LLC, beat out the University of Texas System and other...
Ernest Perales, trailblazer for equal education in Austin, dies

Ernest Perales, trailblazer for equal education in Austin, dies

Ernest Perales, a trailblazer for equitable education for Mexican-Americans in the Austin community, died Sunday. He was 73. Perales was a community organizer, a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens District 85 and a member of the GI Forum. In April 1972, he helped mobilize Mexican-American parents to create a group called Concerned Parents for Equal Education, said Paul Saldañ...
UT Austin’s ‘Kate the Chemist’ gets Stephen Colbert to ‘breathe fire’ on the late show

UT Austin’s ‘Kate the Chemist’ gets Stephen Colbert to ‘breathe fire’ on the late show

University of Texas lecturer Kate Biberdorf has a reputation for blowing stuff up.  The chemistry professor labels herself a pyromaniac and leads explosive science demonstrations in her classrooms. Last week, “Kate the Chemist” got to take her lab space to New York City for an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  Biberdorf, who was named one of the ...
Letters to the editor: July 14, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 14, 2018

Re: July 9 article, “Central Texas suspensions of young students raise concerns.” So, those who advocate banning suspension of misbehaving kids in second grade and under, for most situations, “warned that suspensions caused students to fall behind in their classwork, to be disciplined more in the long run and to be ostracized by their peers.” Someone doesn’t understand...
Editorial: Texas must do more to end suspensions of youngest students

Editorial: Texas must do more to end suspensions of youngest students

Just two years ago, Austin schools issued 321 suspensions to the district’s youngest students, those in prekindergarten through second grade, sometimes over infractions as small as using rude language or leaving the classroom without permission. Those numbers included 288 out-of-school suspensions and 33 in-school suspensions. This year, Austin had just eight out-of-school suspensions for that...
Dripping Springs district seeks applicants to fill vacant trustee seat

Dripping Springs district seeks applicants to fill vacant trustee seat

The Dripping Springs school district is seeking applicants to fill the board seat vacated by former Trustee Shelly Reeves in June. Reeves, who was elected in 2010, said she resigned her position due to health issues. Board members decided to appoint a replacement for the remainder of term, which expires May 2019, rather than call for an election. The trustees are accepting applications for the at-large...
UT regents mum on candidates they plan to interview for chancellor job

UT regents mum on candidates they plan to interview for chancellor job

University of Texas System regents voted Wednesday to interview candidates for chancellor at a future board meeting but gave no clue as to who those candidates might be. Nor did they say when that meeting would take place. Sara Martinez Tucker, chairwoman of the regents, declined to tell the American-Statesman how many people might be invited to interview for the job of leading the 14-campus system...
More Stories