Kate McGee, KUT News

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. 

So far the reaction has been swift and strong to our investigation into Ballou High School in Washington D.C., where we shed light on chronic absenteeism and a pressure teachers say they felt to pass failing students and get them to graduation.

Brian Butcher, a history teacher at Ballou High School, sat in the bleachers of the school's brand-new football field last June watching 164 seniors receive diplomas. It was a clear, warm night and he was surrounded by screaming family and friends snapping photos and cheering.

Texas lawmakers are about to spend a lot of time talking about how the state funds its public schools. The question is: Will they make any changes during the legislative session that starts in January? If they don’t, there’s a part of the system that’s set to expire next year. That could be a problem for some school districts across the state.

The Texas Cultural Trust has a new website that tracks arts education programs at school districts across the state. The map is one way the trust is encouraging parents and students to push for more art education in their local schools. There you can see programs broken down by elementary, middle and high schools in each school district. It looks at how many arts credits were earned by students, the number of art courses offered and the number of students per arts teacher. 

The Texas State Board of Education formally rejected a controversial Mexican-American studies textbook Friday.  The vote came after months of protests from historians, teachers, and lawmakers.

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