Kate McGee

Kate is the education reporter at KUT, covering the Austin Independent School District, public, and higher education in Texas. She got her public radio start at Fordham University's WFUV. Her voice has been heard on the East and West coasts as a reporter and producer for WNYC and KUNR in Reno, Nevada. She has also appeared on NPR's Morning Edition,  All Things Considered, The Takeaway  and more. In her spare time, Kate enjoys discovering new music, traveling and trying local beers. 

The divide over how Texas should educate its 5.3 million public school students will become clear during the 2017 legislative session. 

Gov. Greg Abbott and members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus dedicated a monument at the Capitol Saturday morning honoring the contributions of African-Americans.

The monument on the Capitol's south lawn highlights the African-American experience in Texas from the 1500s to slavery and emancipation to more modern achievements in the arts and sciences.

Update (Nov. 16 11:06 a.m.)  ​ The State Board of Education unanimously rejected a controversial Mexican American studies textbook in a preliminary vote Wednesday morning. The vote was 14-0 with Board Member David Bradley absent.

Before the vote, Board Member Thomas Ratliff said he wanted the vote to be clear:

What we are not doing is censoring a textbook. Nothing prohibits either of these publishers to print the books exactly as it is. Nothing prohibits them from resubmitting the book in Proclamation 2018 and nothing we do will prohibit them from selling them to public school districts in Texas. What we are doing is we are following Texas Education Code and our rules. We are not engaging in politics or personalities.

The board is expected to take a final vote on the book Friday. 

Original Post: The Texas State Board of Education is expected to decide whether to approve a controversial Mexican-American Studies textbook this week. On Tuesday, the board took final public testimony on the book.

Public school districts in Texas are required to follow a lot of state rules, but a new state law allows those districts to receive exemptions from various regulations. It’s called a district of innovation plan and at least four Central Texas school districts are developing plans. 


Austin School Board Vice President Paul Saldaña says people describe Austin ISD as really two districts, split into east and west by I-35 – a wealthy western district and a poorer one east of it.


Central Market’s annual Hatch chile festival, Hatch-A-Palooza, is over for the year. But you can still get Hatch chiles pretty much in every Austin grocery store. Did you ever wonder why grocery stores get so excited about Hatch chiles? 

School districts in Texas will have more money next year to implement pre-kindergarten programs. The state awarded $116 million last week to school districts as part of legislation passed in 2015. For many Central Texas school districts, that money will go toward additional training for teachers.


This story is part of the NPR reporting project School Money, a nationwide collaboration between NPR’s Ed Team and 20 member station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students.

Ever since Alberto Perez was a kid growing up in Dove Springs, he knew he wanted to go to UT Austin.

“I remember telling my mom, pointing at the tower, saying, 'that’s where I’m going to go to school,'" Perez remembers.


The Texas Lottery Commission says, since 1992, it has put $24 billion toward state programs – primarily education.

With tonight’s Powerball jackpot up to a record $1.5 billion, let’s take a look at whether that means more money for public schools.


Wake up, get dressed, pack your homework, maybe a lunch. That’s the typical morning routine for most students. But some students on the U.S.-Mexico border grab something else on their way out the door — their passports.

 

Nineteen-year-old Arlet Burciaga is one of those students.


This year, Texas public schools won’t measure instructional time by days, but they’ll do it by minutes. In the past, Texas public schools years were required to be provide 180 days of instruction. Now, a school year must provide a minimum of 75,600 minutes.


flickr.com/photos/thedavisblog (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Fewer Texans are taking the new General Education Development test since it became computerized and more expensive last year. Today, the State Board of Education will start discussing whether to offer another high school equivalency test—or multiple tests.   KUT’s Kate McGee has more.


www.flickr.com/photos/bookgrl (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Deep fryers and soda machines will be allowed back in Texas public schools this fall. KUT’s Kate McGee reports the Texas Agriculture Commissioner—who monitors school nutrition policy—announced today he’s lifting a decade-old ban to give schools more local control.

 


A little more than 10 years ago, Texas banned soda machines and deep fryers in public school cafeterias.

Now the state's current agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller, wants to do away with that ban. He believes these kinds of restrictions should be in the hands of local school boards — not state regulators. But some students are among those who aren't happy about this idea.

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