Monthly Archives: December 2013

Ricky Rijos

Class of 17: Halfway Through Ninth Grade

Earlier this year, we introduced you to a diverse group of students making the transition from middle school to ninth grade. The series, called Class of 17, is part of a nationwide public broadcasting initiative called American Graduate.

So far, we’ve met a student battling a life-threatening disease, one struggling with math and others who’ve had to move around. You’ll hear more from these students and meet new kids in the coming months through graduation — or whatever comes next.

Read More

In Many Schools, Larger Classes Are The Norm, Not The Exception

Class size is an ongoing challenge for school districts around the country. The New York Times reports that though the recession has ended, the impact of budget and staff cuts is still being felt in the classroom. Many districts have had to increase their student-t0-teacher ratio.

In North Texas, hundreds of elementary schools were granted waivers from the state, The Dallas Morning News reported earlier this year. Dallas ISD applied for more than 200 waivers from the 22 students-per-classroom state cap. Suburban districts like Plano and Richardson ISDs also sought waivers.

How are teachers and students adapting? Do more kids equal more distractions? Does it affect teaching and learning? Chime in below.

Subtract Teachers, Add Pupils: Math of Today’s Jammed SchoolsCOATESVILLE, Pa. – The recession may have ended, but many of the nation’s school districts that laid off teachers and other employees to cut payrolls in leaner times have not yet replenished their ranks.

Embedly Powered

Ninth-grader Alex Gutierrez is enjoying her Chinese class, but says it's getting more and more challenging.

Class Of ’17: A Trilingual Approach To Learning


All year long, KERA has followed the Class of ’17 from eighth grade to high school as part of the American Graduate initiative. Today, we catch up with Alex Gutierrez whose struggles in math sent her to summer school. Alex is now in a brand new charter school with a multicultural twist.

Read More

Feds Investigate Disciplinary Practices of Houston-Area School District

In Texas, many students have ended up in court for getting into fights or even cursing. Some have also ended up with criminal records. In 2010, the advocacy group Texas Appleseed spoke out against the high number of students being issued citations, in particular African American students.

Some school districts have responded by finding other ways to handle disciplinary problems. Dallas public schools, for example, are actually issuing fewer citations year to year. But as KUHF in Houston reports, the Bryan school district, two and half hours south of here, is under tough scrutiny.


Feds Investigate School District For Alleged Discrimination Of Ticketing African American StudentsWhen De’angelo Rollins started sixth grade here at Stephen F. Austin, he was excited. It’s a middle school in Bryan about an hour and half hour northwest of Houston. But soon there were problems. “He was coming home telling us constantly that this young man keeps bothering him, you know he wants to pick a fight, keeps bothering, ‘Do you wanna fight?

Embedly Powered

via Kuhf

Texas Public Schools Hiring Fewer First-Year Teachers

The number of first-year teachers hired in Texas public schools has dropped significantly, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

The paper looked at data from the Texas Education Agency, which shows that fewer than 15,000 first-year teachers were hired during the 2011-12 school year, far less than the 25,000 teachers hired in 2008. Last year was also the first year in recent history in which public schools lost more teachers than they hired.

A number of reasons contributed to the loss, including the recession and cuts to education funding, the paper reports.


School Start Times Too Early For Sleep-Deprived Teens, Say Some Parents

NPR aired an interesting story this morning about how some parents think their kids begin their school day too early. They and some experts say students aren’t getting enough sleep and wake up feeling groggy. Sleep deprivation can ultimately lead to irritability and health issues like depression. Now, there’s a national petition promoting legislation to prevent public schools from starting before 8 a.m.

Locally, at least one school district – Garland ISD – is considering changing its start time for high school students. The school board there took up the issue last week. Parents, students, teachers — how do you feel about this issue? Is this a topic of discussion at your school? Chime in below.


Parents Of Sleep-Deprived Teens Push For Later School Start TimesCristina Sevin knows the drill. Her 15-year-old son Isaac’s first alarm goes off at 6:05 a.m. When he sleeps right through it, Mom starts the nudging. But she also has to wake up 16-year-old Lily. She flips on the bedroom lights. “Lily, you gotta get up!”

Embedly Powered

via Npr
Joel Luera and Michael Gasaway are two of the students in Samuell's Early College High School book club.

Boys Can Be Bookish, Too

When you think of book clubs, you don’t necessarily think of boys. And when you look at the most recent Nation’s Report Card, the scores reveal that boys don’t fare as well as girls on reading tests. Here’s one book club that’s bucking that trend.

Read More