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McRaven praises class of police cadets for choosing a noble profession

McRaven praises class of police cadets for choosing a noble profession

Bill McRaven, chancellor of the University of Texas System, was never a police officer, but he spent 37 years as a Navy SEAL, rising to four-star admiral and commander of all U.S. Special Operations forces. He loved, as he put it, “the clarity and nobility” of keeping America safe. So too, he predicted, will the 15 cadets who graduated Friday from the system’s 100th basic peace officer...
Editorial: After ‘poverty pimps’ flap, Austin ISD must focus on kids

Editorial: After ‘poverty pimps’ flap, Austin ISD must focus on kids

We by no means excuse the words former Austin Independent School Board President Kendall Pace used in a private text to a fellow board member. Her language was uncouth and unprofessional. The fallout cost Pace her position on the board as those she offended along with political foes turned up the political heat. Pace’s judgment in making derogatory comments even confidentially threw into question...
State to fine company, give students reprieve after STAAR glitches

State to fine company, give students reprieve after STAAR glitches

Texas fifth- and eighth-graders affected by two widespread online testing disruptions in as many months won’t have to pass the state standardized test this year to move on to the next grade, the Texas Education Agency announced Thursday. In addition to dropping the testing requirement, the agency will levy $100,000 in penalties on New Jersey-based Educational Testing Service, which administers...
Commentary: With shootings and small checks, why would anyone teach?

Commentary: With shootings and small checks, why would anyone teach?

The optimism of graduation season was mixed this year with the tragedy of another school shooting, this time in Santa Fe, Texas. Among the 10 victims were two teachers. While we mourn the loss of our nation’s youths to school shootings, we should also wonder how the prevalence of gun violence will impact college graduates’ decision to enter the teaching profession. Teaching is one of the...
Texas State to open health professions building in Round Rock

Texas State to open health professions building in Round Rock

A new health professions building at Texas State University’s Round Rock campus was dedicated Thursday, and classes will start June 1. Willow Hall, 1555 University Blvd., features a speech-language-hearing clinic, a sleep center, a physical therapy clinic, simulation labs, seminar rooms and a research suite. There are also offices for administrators and faculty members in the departments of...
Following STAAR glitches, TEA gives students reprieve, fines company

Following STAAR glitches, TEA gives students reprieve, fines company

Following two high-profile testing disruptions in as many months, the Texas Education Agency won’t penalize certain students who didn’t pass the state standardized test this year. The agency will also ask New Jersey-based Educational Testing Service, which administers the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, to pay $100,000 in liquidated damages for the testing problems. &ldquo...
Commentary: I got arrested for standing up against poverty

Commentary: I got arrested for standing up against poverty

This past Monday, I was arrested for blocking traffic in front of the U.S. Capitol along with 170 other low-income people and faith leaders from across the country. At first, I was scared and nervous to risk arrest, but I eventually felt at ease as we sang freedom songs and chanted for justice. This nonviolent civil disobedience was part of the launch of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National...

Union to AISD: Stop pursuing program noted in ex-board president’s text

Leaders of the Austin teachers union called Monday for the district to stop pursuing a program the board’s former president discussed in an inflammatory text message that led to her resignation earlier that day. Austin school board President Kendall Pace on Monday morning apologized for the phrases she used in the text message, which she sent to Trustee Julie Cowan as they discussed the Texas...
Central Texas schools look to beef up security after Santa Fe shooting

Central Texas schools look to beef up security after Santa Fe shooting

In the aftermath of the Santa Fe High School shooting last week, Central Texas school officials are reviewing safety plans and working to tighten security, including for upcoming graduation ceremonies. Officials with several area school districts said this week they will continue to conduct drills, including for lockdowns, lockouts and evacuations. They said they’ll also work with local law...
Austin school board President Kendall Pace resigns amid texting flap

Austin school board President Kendall Pace resigns amid texting flap

Austin school board President Kendall Pace resigned from the board Monday, less than a week after the teachers union demanded she step down over inflammatory texts she traded with another trustee. Whether the remaining school board members will appoint a replacement to Pace’s at-large seat or leave it vacant until her term expires in November remains unclear. The district faces a $30 million...
Stop pursuing program noted in former school board president’s texts, Austin union says

Stop pursuing program noted in former school board president’s texts, Austin union says

8 p.m. update: Leaders of the Austin teachers union on Monday called on the district to stop pursuing a program that the board’s former president discussed in inflammatory text messages that came to light before she ultimately stepped down. Austin school board President Kendall Pace announced earlier Monday that she was resigning from the board effective immediately. Pace apologized for...
Austin needs to do more for low-income students, new study says

Austin needs to do more for low-income students, new study says

Only 10 percent of black and Latino students in Austin are attending the school district’s highest rated schools, compared with one-third of white students and 50 percent of Asian students, a study being released Monday says. Likewise, Austin is doing a lackluster job in educating its low-income students, according to the most recent findings from the Houston nonprofit Children at Risk...
Fake Santa Fe Facebook accounts, online lies multiply after shooting

Fake Santa Fe Facebook accounts, online lies multiply after shooting

In the first hours after the Texas school shooting that left at least 10 dead Friday, online hoaxers moved quickly to spread a viral lie, creating fake Facebook accounts with the suspected shooter’s name and a doctored photo showing him wearing a “Hillary 2016” hat. Several were swiftly flagged by users and deleted by the social network. But others rose rapidly in their place: Chris...
UT System allocates $7 million in event it wins bid to run Los Alamos

UT System allocates $7 million in event it wins bid to run Los Alamos

University of Texas System regents voted Friday to allocate up to $7 million in transition expenses for taking over operation of Los Alamos National Laboratory — assuming the system wins the federal contract to run the nuclear weapons lab. The funding requested by Chancellor Bill McRaven and other top officials is styled as a loan to the limited liability company formed by the system to bid...
Lake Travis ISD approves mandatory drug testing of certain students

Lake Travis ISD approves mandatory drug testing of certain students

The Lake Travis school board approved a mandatory drug testing policy Wednesday night for certain middle and high school students. Random drug tests would be mandatory for students in grades seven to 12 who participate in school-sponsored competitive extracurricular activities and students in grades nine to 12 who request a parking permit, contingent upon parental consent. FROM THE ARCHIVES: San Marcos...
Texas State University police chief resigns, effective immediately

Texas State University police chief resigns, effective immediately

Texas State University’s police chief, Jose Bañales, has resigned, according to a university spokesman. Bañales turned in his resignation Tuesday and it was effective immediately, spokesman Jayme Blaschke said Wednesday. Capt. Rickey Lattie has been appointed interim chief. “I am going to be pursuing other interests and thought the timing was right for my departure and for...
Teachers union urges Austin district president to resign over texts

Teachers union urges Austin district president to resign over texts

The teachers union Education Austin on Wednesday demanded that Austin school board President Kendall Pace resign immediately after she said in a text message that a grant to fund struggling campuses would only get approved if officials “ignore the special interest groups and crazy ignorant community activists and poverty pimps.” Pace, who was elected to the Austin Independent School District...
Texas State police chief resigns, effective immediately

Texas State police chief resigns, effective immediately

Texas State University’s police chief, Jose Bañales, has resigned, according to a university spokesman. Bañales turned in his resignation Tuesday and it was effective immediately, spokesman Jayme Blaschke said Wednesday. Capt. Rickey Lattie has been appointed interim chief. “I am going to be pursuing other interests and thought the timing was right for my departure and for...
Thousands of STAAR test takers plagued by glitches again

Thousands of STAAR test takers plagued by glitches again

Tens of thousands of students across Texas experienced glitches Tuesday morning while taking the STAAR standardized test, the second time problems have been reported with the online platform this year, the Texas Education Agency said. Several Central Texas school districts were affected, including Austin, Round Rock, Manor, Georgetown, Lake Travis and Hays, officials at those districts said. In April...
STAAR test takers briefly plagued by online glitches Tuesday, officials say

STAAR test takers briefly plagued by online glitches Tuesday, officials say

Some students experienced glitches while taking the STAAR test Tuesday morning, the Texas Education Agency said. Problems included frozen screens, slowness, difficulty in starting sessions and some students getting locked out because of connectivity issues, state education officials said.  The TEA did not know how many students experienced problems but said 110,000 were testing this morning on...
PETA sues Texas A&M president, says university blocked them on Facebook over dog research comments

PETA sues Texas A&M president, says university blocked them on Facebook over dog research comments

The animal rights activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is suing Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young, alleging that the university blocked the group on Facebook and calling the move a violation of the First Amendment. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the lawsuit Monday on behalf of PETA, said it believes Texas A&M has deleted or blocked comments...
Chancellor urged to reduce methane emissions from UT oil lands

Chancellor urged to reduce methane emissions from UT oil lands

In recent months and years, the Faculty Council, Staff Council and Student Government at the University of Texas have called on the UT System to cut emissions of methane, a major contributor to global warming, by 50 percent from its vast oil and natural gas lands in the western part of the state. On Monday, the retired president of Shell Oil Co., a prominent Austin real estate developer and two other...

Texas Digest: Killer set to die Wednesday loses appeals

COURTS Condemned killer loses appeals The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has refused a clemency petition from a 36-year-old San Antonio man set for execution this week for a robbery-slaying more than 14 years ago. The panel’s 6-0 vote Monday came hours after Juan Castillo lost a U.S. Supreme Court appeal. The high court refused to review arguments that Castillo’s due process rights...
Prized Austin magnet schools are more diverse, but didn’t hit targets

Prized Austin magnet schools are more diverse, but didn’t hit targets

Principal Kenisha Coburn’s push to increase the diversity of students at the mostly white Kealing Middle School magnet program goes beyond adding black and Latino students to the attendance rolls. Coburn said she could go to the area’s high-tech companies to recruit employees’ children to increase the numbers. Instead, she wants to bring in the kids who are low-income or whose parents...
Austin-area dig gives rare clues to how people lived 16,000 years ago

Austin-area dig gives rare clues to how people lived 16,000 years ago

You can hardly walk 10 steps along Buttermilk Creek about 45 miles north of Austin without finding evidence that people lived here thousands of years ago. The ground is littered with flakes of chert, a plentiful stone from which projectile points, blades, cleavers and other tools were fashioned. Archaeologists who have dug as deep as 14 feet found layer after layer of stone tools, weapons and flakes...
Austin students show improvement on 2018 STAAR exams

Austin students show improvement on 2018 STAAR exams

Austin school district students made gains in this year’s state math and reading assessments in grades 5 and 8, according to preliminary results from the annual STAAR tests. Statewide, students also improved in both fifth- and eighth-grade math, though results were mixed in reading scores. The results were from the first administration of the exam in April. Students still have two more chances...
Austin’s 5th and 8th graders improve in this year’s STAAR tests

Austin’s 5th and 8th graders improve in this year’s STAAR tests

Austin school district students made gains in this year’s state math and reading assessments in grades 5 and 8, according to preliminary STAAR results. Statewide, students also improved in both 5th and 8th grade math, though results were mixed in reading scores. The results, released by the Texas Education Agency, were from the first administration of the exam, taken in April. Students still...
Commentary: How Finance Commission can create parity in Texas schools

Commentary: How Finance Commission can create parity in Texas schools

Every morning, I start the school day by watching the news with my students, so we can both keep up with current events and understand how these relate to our own lives. For the past few weeks, the news media has been covering the stories of the educators from Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Arizona who are protesting for a livable wage within their state. While watching, one of my students turned to...
To Southwestern’s president, college is about shaping a thoughtful mind

To Southwestern’s president, college is about shaping a thoughtful mind

As far as Edward Burger is concerned, college students need more than anything to become agile thinkers. And as president of Southwestern University since 2013, he’s trying to reinvent higher education with that goal in mind. Central to the effort is Paideia, an interconnected curriculum that he inherited from the previous president, Jake Schrum, and that Burger is putting on steroids at the...
Commentary: Teach for America is a Band-Aid solution

Commentary: Teach for America is a Band-Aid solution

The Statesman recently reported that Austin ISD and Pflugerville ISD will be partnering with Teach for America to address the issue of high teacher turnover in low-income schools and to recruit more teachers of color. Ken Zarifis, president of the local teachers’ union Education Austin, was quoted as saying that teacher turnover results from lack of respect toward teachers. As former teachers...
Round Rock school beats out LASA in U.S. News’ national ranking

Round Rock school beats out LASA in U.S. News’ national ranking

There’s a new top school in Central Texas.  Meridian School, a public charter school in Round Rock, has been named the top high school in Texas by U.S. News & World Report. The school landed at No. 6 on the annual national ranking. The Liberal Arts and Science Academy, previously the top local school, retained the No. 5 spot on the Texas ranking. The magnet program, located...
Crossing the stage this spring? Send us your best graduation photos

Crossing the stage this spring? Send us your best graduation photos

You did it! Whether you completed high school or finally got that sweet, sweet Ph.D., graduating school is a big accomplishment. So we want to hear your story!  Send us your best graduation photos in your regalia to readerphotos@statesman.com.  Show us your stoles, cords, medals and of course, that classic cap and gown. The photos can feature you, your family, your pets, you name it...
Round Rock district elementary teacher wins H-E-B education award

Round Rock district elementary teacher wins H-E-B education award

A Central Texas teacher from the Round Rock school district was honored with an H-E-B Excellence in Education Award on Sunday. Allie Duffy, who teaches second grade at Joe Lee Johnson Elementary School in northern Travis County, was one of two winners in the Rising Star category. Each teacher gets a $5,000 cash prize and a $5,000 grant for their school. Last year, Duffy was named Round Rock ISD Teacher...
Smithville school board president loses re-election by wide margin

Smithville school board president loses re-election by wide margin

Smithville school board President Dareld Morris III, who a Smithville Times investigation found had been arrested in Florida last year, lost his re-election bid Saturday to challenger Nancy Towry by a wide margin. Towry, a longtime school district volunteer, received 865 votes, 68.6 percent, according to final unofficial election results. “I learned a lot through this process and I am ready...
Voters narrowly approve $132 million bond for Dripping Springs schools

Voters narrowly approve $132 million bond for Dripping Springs schools

A $132 million school bond package placed on the ballot by Dripping Springs trustees passed by just 31 votes in a narrow election. Voters cast 1,662 votes, or 50.5 percent, in favor of the bond, and cast 1,631 votes, or 49.5 percent, against according to unofficial results tallied Saturday night. In the school board races, three incumbents, Carrie Fontana Kroll, Mary Jane Hetrick and Shannon O&rsquo...
Dripping Springs ISD $132 million bond narrowly passes, incumbents win

Dripping Springs ISD $132 million bond narrowly passes, incumbents win

9:35 p.m. update: The Dripping Springs $132 million school bond package narrowly was approved, passing with 31 votes. Voters cast 1,662 votes, or 50.5 percent, in favor of the bond, and 1,631 votes, or 49.5 percent, were cast against. All three incumbents, Carrie Fontana Kroll, Mary Jane Hetrick and Shannon O’Connor, secured their at-large seats. Kroll received 1,652 votes, or 25 percent; Hetrick...
Lake Travis ISD: Guy Clayton, Lauren White, Jessica Putonti win seats

Lake Travis ISD: Guy Clayton, Lauren White, Jessica Putonti win seats

9:30 p.m. UPDATE: Unofficial final results show Lake Travis school board Place 1 incumbent Guy C. Clayton will keep his seat. Clayton garnered 2,687 votes, or 75 percent of the vote. David Lovelace, who has made five previous bids for school board, received 886 votes, or 25 percent. In Place 2, Lauren White won the seat with 1,725 votes, or 44 percent. Jan Moreland followed with 1,223 votes or 31...
Challenger wins Hutto ISD seat, and one incumbent narrowly beats other

Challenger wins Hutto ISD seat, and one incumbent narrowly beats other

UPDATED 10:30 p.m. Unofficial final results show challenger Edgar Padilla won a seat on the Hutto school board with 286 votes, or 37 percent. The results show incumbent Phillip Boutwell will keep his seat, winning by six votes over fellow incumbent Byron McDaniel. Boutwell garnered 249 votes, or 32 percent, while McDaniel received 243 votes. The top two-vote getters win the at-large seats. UPDATED...
‘UT Remembers’ event honors lives lost in university community

‘UT Remembers’ event honors lives lost in university community

As daylight faded Friday evening, all but two points of light at the crest of the observation deck of the University of Texas Tower remained dark in honor of those in the university community who died in the previous year. The light in the darkness is a traditional part of the annual UT Remembers event, which the university has organized for the past 20 years. On Friday afternoon, university officials...
Donation of $15 million becomes largest in Southwestern’s history

Donation of $15 million becomes largest in Southwestern’s history

Jack Garey, a philanthropist and retired businessman, has donated $15 million to Southwestern University in Georgetown for need-based scholarships, faculty chairs and other purposes, delivering the largest cash gift in the school’s 178-year history. Garey, 88, said he had pledged years ago to donate the money upon his death but decided to make the gift now to see its fruits benefit the small...
This UT senior’s graduation photos are more hardcore than yours

This UT senior’s graduation photos are more hardcore than yours

Oh, you wanted to take your University of Texas graduation photos in front of the UT tower or the Littlefield Fountain? Maybe even at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium?  Well, we see your predictable (albeit cute!) senior photos and raise you this: That’s Carly Morris. She’s originally from Fort Worth and is graduating from UT in May with a bachelor of science in psychology...
Four face charges in student government protest at Texas State

Four face charges in student government protest at Texas State

A Texas State University student has been arrested and warrants have been issued for the arrest of three other people — at least two of them students — in connection with a sit-in last month at which protesters called for the resignation of the student government president. Journey Alayna Carnahan, 19, is charged with interfering with the public duties of a peace officer and obstructing...
Fired UT Law School official charged amid fraud investigation

Fired UT Law School official charged amid fraud investigation

A former director of facilities at the University of Texas School of Law has been arrested and charged with six counts of tampering with government records as law enforcement authorities and university officials investigate allegations of questionable spending and fraud. UT fired Jason Shoumaker in November after internal university auditors began looking into an employee’s July 2017 complaint...
Four face charges in student government protest at Texas State

Four face charges in student government protest at Texas State

A Texas State University student has been arrested and warrants have been issued for the arrest of three other people — at least two of them students — in connection with a sit-in last month at which protesters called for the resignation of the student government president. Journey Alayna Carnahan, 19, is charged with interfering with the public duties of a peace officer and obstruction...
UT rethinks its masculinity program, as talk radio rails on it

UT rethinks its masculinity program, as talk radio rails on it

When a conservative website claimed that the University of Texas considers masculinity a mental health issue, other websites and talk show host Rush Limbaugh echoed the charge. UT’s response, in a nutshell: Fake news. Still, the blistering criticism has prompted the university to begin retooling an awareness campaign that includes posters of students saying they don’t feel compelled to...
Hays school board draws six candidates for two seats

Hays school board draws six candidates for two seats

Seven candidates, including one incumbent, are vying for two Hays school district board seats. The at-large seat, being vacated by Trustee Holly Raymond, drew three candidates. Incumbent Bert A. Bronaugh Jr. is being challenged by three candidates for the District 3 seat, which represents the northeastern part of the school district. While grappling with its increasing student population, the 19,860-student...
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