Spotlight Texas

Why It's So Hard to Fund Public Education

As a parent, I was frustrated. Recent legislation was changing school funding. An array of tests was changing teaching. I felt the need to get involved and try to make the changes go as well as possible. I ran for and won a seat on the local school board.

The year was 1985.

Manor ISD Building 3 New Schools to Handle Projected Population Boom

The Manor Independent School District is preparing to double in size in the next five years.

New superintendent Dr. Royce Avery says their student population is projected to grow from 9,000 students to 18,000. Thursday night, the district held a groundbreaking ceremony for three new campuses — an elementary, middle and high school.

Some Nonprofits Want to Put Affordable Housing at Allan Elementary

It’s no secret Austin ISD is strapped for cash. So to help make ends meet – the district put ten of its properties up for possible sale. Many of the properties are plots of land, but the list also includes the district headquarters on Sixth Street and the Allan Elementary campus in East Austin – and that has some people excited.

Feds Order Texas to Comply With Special Ed Laws

The federal government on Monday told Texas state officials that they must eliminate their special education enrollment target unless they can prove that it has not kept children with disabilities from getting services.

The U.S. Department of Education gave the officials a month to either provide the evidence or outline a plan to end so-called "PBMAS Indicator 10," which penalizes school districts that give specialized education to more than 8.5 percent of students.

What the Travis County Mock Student Election Can Tell Us About November's Race

Gretchen Nagy needs something – anything.

She's standing in front of two Austin ISD students and a district employee, who are about to go live on television, covering the district’s mock presidential election. The only problem: They have no results.

EPISD to Upgrade School Buses If $669 Million Bond is Approved

The El Paso Independent School District is looking to add more new buses to its fleet in the next few years.

Up until last year, the average age of an EPISD school bus was more than 20 years old.

Arlington's Cavazos Wins Superintendent Of The Year In Texas, Thanks To Mom And Okra

Marcelo Cavazos, the man who leads Arlington’s schools system, was named Texas Superintendent of the Year this afternoon. The honor came at the annual Texas Association of School Boards conference in Houston – and it includes a $5,000 prize. The five finalists also included another North Texan, DeSoto superintendent David Harris.

Before he left for the conference in Houston, Cavazos sat down with KERA for this week's Friday Conversation, which is part of a statewide public radio project on the rise of Latino superintendents. Now that Houston has a new school chief, all eight of the state's biggest cities have Latino superintendents.

Texas Lawmaker Wants Schools to Teach Kids Proper Actions in Police Stops

Texas nineth-graders would be taught how to properly interact with police when they are stopped for traffic violations or if they are detained under proposed legislation announced Thursday by an influential state senator.

The announcement is the first of what is expected to be numerous bills to be filed for the legislative session that begins in January to address citizen-police interaction as a way to de-escalate friction between law enforcement and various minority communities.

Texas Lawmakers to Highlight Education Spending Divide

The state’s escalating dependence on local tax dollars to fund public schools — and, at least indirectly, other government services — will be a “big focus” during a joint hearing of two House committees Wednesday and Thursday, according to the chairman of one of the panels.

“Clearly, there are points where the state is benefitting from appraisal value increases and schools aren’t,” said state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, the outgoing chairman of the Public Education Committee. The budget-writing Appropriations Committee is the other panel meeting.





Classroom Tools

Ezra Jack Keats Mini-Grants

Born In The U.S., Raised In China: 'Satellite Babies' Have A Hard Time Coming Home

Chun Zheng has lived through a house fire, a flood and an earthquake. None of that, she says, compares to sending her infant daughter and son abroad to live with her extended family.

"It's the worst hardship I've ever had to bear," says the 42-year-old hotel housekeeper, speaking in Mandarin.

Laura Bush Foundation Library Funding

Unraveling Zero Tolerance

Can A School District Help Diversify A Fire Department?

It's 8:30 a.m. and the sun is already heating up the artificial turf at Banning High School's football field. Some 70 ninth- and 10th-graders line up on their stomachs for push-ups.

For some of these kids, the "push-up ready" pose looks like a cross between an aborted yoga position and a nap.

Voter Registration Deadline is October 11

To vote in Texas, you must be registered. Simply pick up a voter registration application, fill it out, and mail it at least 30 days before the election date.

Bias Isn't Just A Police Problem, It's A Preschool Problem

First, a story:

Late one night, a man searches for something in a parking lot. On his hands and knees, he crawls around a bright circle of light created by a streetlamp overhead.

Why Multilingual People Have Healthier, More Engaged Brains

Prior to the 1960s, scientists thought children who spoke more than one language had a handicap for learning because they had to spend too much time distinguishing between languages. With more modern brain imaging technology, researchers can now see how multilingualism actually strengthens the brain. People who speak more than one language have a higher density of gray matter that contains most of the brains neurons and synapses.

Fire Prevention Week Upcoming

Why focus on smoke alarms three years in a row? Because NFPA’s survey data shows that the public has many misconceptions about smoke alarms, which may put them at increased risk in the event of a home fire. For example, only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced.

The Big Move To Improve Head Start

45 CFR Chapter XIII RIN 0970-AC63.

That's the official name of the newly-revised government standards for running a Head Start program.

PBS Kids - You Choose the Candidate





Surviving the Fall of ISIS

As Iraqi and coalition forces invade Mosul, the last ISIS stronghold in Iraq, the grim details of the extremist group’s rule come to light.

Herb Crusted Roasted Chicken Sheet Pan Supper

Crispy autumn weather, cozy nights in, and sweaters forever! The days are getting shorter and shorter, which means we’re spending maximum time outside in the fall leaves before heading in for a warm dinner and Netflix. Are you guys into TV dinners? I used to be fascinated with them. And, truthfully, I still kind of am, just not the ones that you microwave.

See the Making of a Modern Mummy

When Ulla Lohmann first met the Anga tribe in Papua New Guinea in 2003, the tribe's elders told her to leave. To even get there required a full day's drive, followed by a three-hour hike into the highlands on the west side of the island. After Lohmann, a German photographer and environmental scientist, made the trek, she was politely told that she wasn't welcome. The tribe wasn’t accustomed to visitors, and they didn't like their culture to be seen by outsiders.

See How One of New York's Best Pizzas Gets Made

At Sullivan Street Bakery in New York, Jim Lahey has been making some of the best breads in the city for years. Less well known are the bakery’s astonishing pizzas: long, rectangular slabs of dough with simple toppings such as sliced potato and crushed tomato. (He does have a traditional pizza restaurant Co. where he serves terrific, round pies with an array of toppings.) Recently, Lahey has been amping up his offerings with such ingredients as cheese, cured meat, olives, and fermented chiles—sometimes all on one pie, leading to one of the best pizzas in America right now. Here's how its made.

Where Should You Sit On a Plane?

Aeroplane seats have come a long way: The early ones were made of wicker. Yet ask any flight attendant, and he or she will tell you that they hear complaints on a frequent basis. Are some seats better than others? And more importantly — how can you nab those spots for yourself?

Going Nuts Over Texas Pecan Banana Bread

Did you know the Texas State Tree is the Pecan Tree? What better way to enjoy the pecans from said tree than combining the creamy goodness of bananas with the crunch of a perfect, Texas pecan! Enjoy a Spring morning with your family, and get out the butter to spread on this warm, delicious pecan banana bread. Make sure to sip your favorite cup of coffee or hot tea with this truly Texas treat.

15 Things That'll Make Staying Organized So Much Easier

Easier than sorting the recycling.

World's Most Luxurious Chain Hotels

With the growing popularity of Airbnb and boutique hotels, large international hotel chains have had to work harder than ever to win travelers' loyalty. Now, more than ever, high-end luxury chains like The Four Seasons and St. Regis are endeavoring to banish brand-name boredom.

These Are the Forgotten Victims of the West's Drought

Last summer Nevada was so dry that rancher Darryl Brady grabbed a shovel and hacked into a dusty pit, once a lush spring that gurgled onto fields thick with wild hay. The snows hadn’t come to the mountains and the river was dry, so Brady was desperately trying to tap into the earth’s watery veins to save his herd of about 85 cattle. But it was a failure; the earth had no water to give.



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