Posts written by Stella M. Chávez

Mexican-American Studies Won’t Be Statewide Elective, But State Board Oks A Compromise

The State Board of Education on Wednesday didn’t approve a statewide Mexican-American studies elective. Instead, it adopted a measure that asks publishers to submit textbooks on Mexican-American and other ethnic studies to a list of instructional materials for social studies classes by the 2016-17 school year.

School districts will now have the option to develop their own classes on Mexican-American, African-American, Native American and Asian-American studies. State education officials say that option has always existed. The Fort Worth district, for example, already offers a Mexican-American studies class. Nevertheless, several districts around the state, including Houston, recently passed resolutions in support of a statewide Mexican-American studies class.

SBOE Opts for Compromise on Mexican-American StudiesInstead of making Mexican-American studies an official high school course, the Texas State Board of Education has settled on a tentative compromise that would allow school districts to decide whether to offer the course. “It wasn’t necessarily what we were hoping, with a stand-alone course for Mexican-American studies,” member Marisa Perez, a San Antonio Democrat, said in an interview after the meeting.

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Source: The Texas Tribune and Associated Press

Class of ’17: Battling Teenage Depression In High School

Phantasia Chavers, a ninth grader in Cedar Hill and one of KERA's Class of '17 students, recently took up the guitar. In school, she sometimes teased for being interested in things other kids aren't.

Stella M. Chávez/KERA News

Phantasia Chavers, a ninth grader in Cedar Hill and one of KERA’s Class of ’17 students, wants to learn how to play the guitar. In school, she’s sometimes teased for being interested in things other kids aren’t. She says she doesn’t want to do what everyone else thinks is popular.


One in ten adolescents suffers from depression by age 18. It’s something that one of the members of KERA’s Class of ’17 is wrestling with. We check back in with Cedar Hill ninth grader Phantasia Chavers.

The KERA radio story

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Garland Teachers Face Deportation When Visas Expire, Plead To Stay In The U.S.

Nearly two dozen teachers from other countries in the Garland Independent School District are on the verge of losing their jobs and getting deported. They say they didn’t do anything wrong. Their visas are about to expire and federal officials are investigating.

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New Allen Superintendent Talks About The $60 Million High School Stadium

Stadium-North End-300dpiThe $60 million football stadium that opened two years ago to nationwide attention was closed indefinitely in February. Major cracks in the concrete have caused graduation ceremonies to be moved and have left the football team unsure of where it will play in the fall. Superintendent Lance Hindt, who’s been on the job less than two weeks, sat down with KERA on Wednesday, to discuss the issue.

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In his world geography class, Joel Luera is learning how to analyze and research material. His teacher, Jonathan Martin, says Joel is inquisitive and likes talking about global politics and the world economy.

Class Of ’17: Going To School Is Not Debatable For Samuell High Student

Ninth-grader Joel Luera is a smart kid in a tough neighborhood. Sometimes other kids don’t get why he’s so studious. He loves to read – so much that he’s in a book club at W.W. Samuell High School in Dallas. Joel is the latest kid to join KERA’s series Class of ’17 – a five-year project following a group of North Texas students from 8th grade to graduation. It’s part of the national public media initiative American Graduate. Read More

Yolanda Bautista has lived in Grapevine for 13 years. She says she welcomes a language assessment center because she would like to talk to school officials about how her two sons -- Abraham, 10 and Daniel, 7 -- are doing in learning English.

New Language Center Will Assist Immigrant Families In Grapevine-Colleyville District

When families arrive from another country, school districts have to determine a student’s home language and explain to parents how the school system here works. We look at how one suburban school district is opening a center similar to those found in larger, urban districts.

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Public-Private Partnership Helps Turn Dallas Students Into Future Leaders

Keeping kids focused on school is a challenge for any educator. Getting them to reach higher is even more challenging. As part of our Class of 17 series, we take a look at how a local law firm created an unusual alliance between private and public schools.

The KERA Radio story

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Will Vandeventer's parents enrolled him in iUniversity Prep, one of six virtual schools in the state. Vandeventer, 12, says he likes working online but also enjoys the ocassional face-to-face meeting with his teachers and classmates.

Some North Texas Students Opt For A Virtual Classroom

A group of North Texas students did something unusual recently – they met face-to-face. They’re enrolled in the iUniversity Prep school, one of the few in the state where learning is done entirely online.

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Pablo Valverde, 85, drives to his ESL class every morning. He's always on time and usually wears one of several hats his daughter gave him. He says he'll keep going to school for as long as he's able to.

‘It’s Never Too Late To Learn,’ Says 85-Year-Old Student Studying English

Learning a new language isn’t easy. It’s even harder if you haven’t been to school in decades. That hasn’t stopped 85-year-old Pablo Valverde, who’s setting an example for his younger classmates.

The KERA Radio story

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How Important Are The SAT And ACT?

A new report raises questions about whether tests like the SAT and ACT are a good indicator of how well students will do in college. The study, which was published by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, looked at student data from 33 colleges and universities around the country that have optional admissions policies. You can see an interview with the study’s author below and read more about it here.

Study finds high SAT and ACT scores might not spell success at collegeTRANSCRIPT PBS NewsHour education coverage is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting . JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s one of those times of the year when high school juniors aiming for college are getting ready to take the SAT or the ACT, but a large new study is challenging the value of these well-known standardized tests.

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