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Jill Ament

Waco ISD’s STAAR scores showed us that some schools are still struggling. Looking forward, the district is trying to improve behavior and college readiness at some campuses. The district has secured some big grant money to try and do that.


Update: One candidate has filed to run for the AISD School Board in District One. David "D" Thompson filed with the district Wednesday. Scroll down for a full list of the filed candidates.

Original Story (10:01 a.m.): For students in Austin schools, deadlines for homework or class projects are usually accompanied with an appropriate level of last-minute scrambling.

But, for would-be candidates vying for open seats on the Austin Independent School District’s school board, Monday’s filing deadline isn’t inspiring the same level of frenzy typically associated with school-related deadlines.

Only seven potential candidates have thrown their hat into the ring since the elections opened up on July 18, but the late-filings aren’t anything new to the campaigns for Board of Trustee races.

Jill Ament

The TEA released accountability ratings for Texas schools today. KWBU’s Jill Ament tells us how Waco ISD schools fared. 


Jill Ament

Last year Waco Transit gave about 18,000 bus rides to Waco ISD students as part of the district’s Student Ride Services program. It was part of a larger effort to improve attendance across the district. But school officials say they're disbanding the effort.

In 2013, when Texas passed its first overhaul of charter school policy since 1995 — the year the publicly funded but privately operated schools were first established in the state — lawmakers included a provision intended to speed the shuttering of poor-performing schools.

But nearly 10 months after the Texas Education Agency marked six operators for closure under the new measure, three of those schools remain open. As those charters prepare to open their doors this month for a new school year, they say they are fighting a process that does not account for the full picture of a charter’s financial or academic health.  

Over half of Texas children between the ages of three and four don't go to preschool, according to the annual Kids Count report released this week from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Texas schools offer free pre-K programs to 4-year-olds, but primarily only offer programs for 3-year-olds on a tuition basis. Those low numbers and access have drawn scrutiny from education advocates, lawmakers and even the candidates running for governor.

Despite the recent focus on preschool access for Texas children, efforts to expand access may to wait until after the upcoming legislative session.

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams wants an additional year to study a new state teacher evaluation system. The additional period would delay the official roll out for two years.

Commissioner Williams wrote a letter to federal education officials Wednesday, where he also requested the federal government extend a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements.

In a statement, Williams said:

The planned demolition of the historic old West High School has been put on hold. The School Board’s demo decision faced heavy opposition from community members during a public forum last night. 


Jill Ament / KWBU News

During the summer, some students on free or reduced lunches and their families turn to summer feeding programs to get the meals they need. Waco ISD is initiating a new program to try and boost participation in the program.


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Preliminary STAAR results for Waco ISD were released earlier this month. While some schools showed great improvements, others continue to struggle with meeting state standards. KWBU's Jill Ament tells us about some of the challenges lower performing schools in high-need areas are facing and how the district is addressing them.


Waco ISD's preliminary STAAR results are out. The school board met last night to discuss the standardized test results for grades 3 through 12. Some schools showed improvements, but others, especially schools serving low-income areas, faced setbacks. 


The collaboration with Waco ISD and the Waco Transit to provide free bus rides to help boost attendance for students is in question as the school year comes to a close. Administrators at Waco Transit say the program costs too much and it's unclear if Waco ISD will get more grant funding to keep the project going. KWBU's Jill Ament reports.


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Police in Texas’ public school system issued 71 percent fewer tickets for bad behavior this past school year. It’s partly because of a state law that took effect last September that attempts decriminalizes on-campus infractions. 

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When College Isn't Worth It

May 28, 2014

The New York Times highlighted new data yesterday that once again beats the drum: Despite skyrocketing costs, a college degree is a good investment. In fact, MIT economist David Autor writes in the journal Science that the value of a degree is rising. College grads made almost twice as much per hour in 2013 as workers without a four-year degree. And the lifetime value of a diploma is now around a half-million dollars, even after you factor in tuition.

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