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Texans are carrying about $70 billion in student loans, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. The good news is that Texans have less student debt than than the national average. The bad news is that people in Texas are more likely to be delinquent in repaying those loans.

Lawmakers Look At Revising Truancy System

Oct 23, 2014
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Since 2001, Texas students who fail to attend school have been tried in criminal courts. Some advocates are trying to keep truant students and their parents out of court.

Jill Ament

Four years ago Waco ISD piloted a program to try and reduce the number of referrals and suspensions of students. It’s called suspending kids to school. The district says this effort has helped keep kids in class and out of the court system—and it’s helped some schools change the entire way they look at discipline. KWBU’s Jill Ament has this report on University High’s student court, where students have a say in the disciplinary process.


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Starting last year, students ages 10 to 17 to couldn’t be issued Class C misdemeanors in Texas public schools. It’s kept kids out of the court system, but critics say it’s also taken disciplinary tools out of the hands of school administrators.


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Since 1996 kids at McLennan County’s Juvenile Detention Center have been able to prepare for the GED through Waco ISD’s Challenge Academy. But last year the campus lost its certification and students who prepared for the GED there were no longer allowed to take the test. As KWBU’s Jill Ament reports, the school is now applying to get its certification back. 


Ryland Barton

Students who enroll in the Texas State Technical College system range from recent high school grads to older folks who’ve been out of school for years. But all of the students are trying to learn skill sets to improve their career opportunities, and usually, make more money. Last year the Texas Legislature changed the way TSTC is funded—no longer would the school be funded based on how many students were at the school or how long they stayed—but rather, the school would be rewarded for how much alumni wages are above the minimum wage.


Jill Ament

Bell's Hill Elementary school in Waco is getting high-needs students to eat healthier and learn about where their food comes from. Today a U.S. Department of Agriculture administrator stopped by to tour the school and check out the school’s lunch program. 


Jill Ament

A new district wide program at Waco ISD is utilizing behavioral specialists on campuses struggling with student behavior and discipline referrals. Overall -- district leaders are hoping this more ‘individualized’ approach will help boost STAAR scores at lower performing schools.  

The Texas Education Agency has asked the federal government for grants to­ fund an expansion of pre-k programs statewide for moderate and low-income families.

Texas will compete with 35 other states, and Washington, D.C., and is eligible to receive up to $30 million annually over a four-year grant window. The grant expansion is offering a total of $160 million nationwide. The new federal grant would help states that currently serve more than 10 percent of four years olds to build and expand on those programs, which have faced drastic cuts over the years.

More people are attending public colleges and universities in Texas, but members of the Texas House Committee on Higher Education heard this week that the increases are not across all groups.

Susan Brown, the assistant commissioner of Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for planning and accountability, told lawmakers on Tuesday that enrollment at Texas colleges is up by about 21,000 students right now, but enrollment among white students had declined for the third straight year.

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