education

Meet Emma, the AI assistant answering the phones at Amarillo City Hall

Just in time for high summer, a surge in COVID cases? What officials are saying about a new subvariant.
It could be a very wet 72 hours of so for much of Southeast Texas and beyond as meteorologists focus on what could be the first big storm of hurricane season coming together in the Gulf of Mexico.
In Amarillo, phones at City Hall are answered by Emma – a first-of-its-kind virtual assistant powered by AI, built specifically for the city.
Why some analysts are pumping the brakes on predictions of a looming oil glut thanks to electric vehicles.
And: why some Texas Democrats say schools could be key to their success in November.

Students could soon be taught Bible stories in public schools

You check in with your ID, find an empty booth and cast your ballot in secret. But have Texas voter transparency laws challenged that privacy?
Depending on where you live in Texas you might pay taxes to a local hospital system. Understanding how that works.
Storm chasers have enormous followings on social media, many copycats and, increasingly, even people riding along. It’s a growing industry of sorts, but is it a good idea?
A new docuseries coming to HBO, “Ren Faire,” follows what happens when the man who has presided over the Texas Renaissance Festival for 50 years retires.
And: A push for classical studies in Texas classrooms could also include more conversations about the Bible.

Voters in Texas have elected their first slate of property appraisal board members

A former Texas oil exec is being punished for allegedly raising the price of oil. Is it the tip of the iceberg or water under the bridge?
In spring elections across larger Texas counties, voters got a more direct say in who runs the obscure agencies that oversee the property appraisal process – agencies that determine how much you pay in property taxes.
The promise of solar panels seems bright, but some companies are getting some heat for misrepresentation. What you need to know.
New Mexico has a booming recreational marijuana industry thanks in part to some Texans making the trip. Will laws change on this side of the border?
Plus the most beautiful spot in Texas? Some point to a place out west that’s a bit off the beaten path.

The growing union drive in tech

Extreme weather brings flooding and evacuations to an area near the Trinity River. We’ll find out how folks are coping with all that water.
Police remove protestors trying to set up camp on the UT Austin campus.
A new book takes a look at the Republic of Texas – an armed secession movement in the Davis Mountains of West Texas. It happened nearly 30 years ago. Could we see it again?
Also, as union membership grows across the Lone Star State, what does that mean for tech workers and why they face challenges unionizing?

Celebrating Willie Nelson’s birthday and his concert tradition

Some of Texas’ biggest counties say their lockups are getting more overcrowded and many sheriffs say the state is to blame.
Destructive weather across the Midwest over much of the weekend turned to Texas late Sunday.
A school district that’s increasingly been in the spotlight over culture war issues heads toward what could be a turning point with local elections.
Payday loans? Yes, there’s an app for that, and experts are concerned.
Plus, on the birthday of a certain Red Headed Stranger, a look at how his picnic became an iconic event for many Texans.

The Future of Work in Texas – A Texas Standard special

Texas is changing, and so is the world. If we squint to try to look at the future job landscape, what do we see? There are more than 15 million working Texans right now, but while the state boasts steady growth and “record high levels” for jobs and the labor force, there are always unknowns on the horizon.
Among them: tech advancements and the impacts of climate change. So how will the jobs of tomorrow look different? We’re exploring all that and more today in The Future of Work in Texas.

Hurricane season forecast to be ‘most aggressive’ ever

After an extraordinary embassy raid, Mexico breaks ties with Ecuador as the U.S. joins other nations in condemnation.
How Central Texas has become a big player in the push for U.S.-built semiconductors.
A Texas runner heads to Boston for what will be his last marathon after being diagnosed with ALS two years ago. We’ll hear from Austinite Bill Corrigan.
And a hurricane forecast said to be the most aggressive ever – what the data adds up to for the chance of another major storm hitting Texas in 2024.

From small startups to fossil fuel giants, Texans are rethinking the future of energy

What’s the connection between credit card fees and Texas? It’s a question at the heart of a case that could affect consumers nationwide.
In Texas’ energy mix, gas and oil are giving way to more and more alternate sources: think wind, solar and small-scale nuclear – and many of the projects are run by veterans of the fossil fuel industry.
Corpus Christi is making plans to deal with a lack of drinking water, but some locals are pushing back against one potential solution.
Also: North Texas is making plans to host World Cup games, but they’re racing against the clock.

Questions over how to remember an East Texas manhunt

SpaceX successfully conducted a test launch of its massive Starship rocket from its Starbase facility in Boca Chica this morning. We’ll hear from Gaige Davila of Texas Public Radio live from Brownsville.
The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to ban TikTok, citing security concerns related to the Chinese-owned platform’s control of Americans’ data. The Standard’s Shelly Brisbin has been following the story, including where Texans in Congress stand.
And: Why a courthouse renovation is East Texas is dividing a community.

The Rio Grande is getting saltier. What’s that mean for agriculture?

The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on SB4, the controversial Texas law that allows state and local police to arrest and prosecute migrants who enter the state, after delaying implementation of the law last week.
A lack of medical insurance and access to treatment is making life in rural Texas tougher than many might imagine.
Energy insider Matt Smith has the latest on rising gas prices as many Texans hit the road for Spring Break.
The Rio Grande, the body of water that outlines the border between Texas and Mexico, is becoming saltier – affecting people, farmland and livestock on both sides of the border.
And: Amid a statewide teacher shortage, one Central Texas school district is trying to turn things around by creating its own pipeline of new recruits.

KUT Morning Newscast for March 08, 2024

Central Texas top stories for March 08, 2024. Former Williamson County Sheriff’s deputies acquitted in manslaughter case. The Austin Independent School District is preparing to make significant spending cuts to remain financially stable. City of Uvalde independent investigation finds officers did not violate department policies in Robb Elementary shooting. SXSW road closures. Austin’s Living Streets Program. Hays CISD will close for the April 8th eclipse.

An Austin-area school district is struggling to find teachers, so it’s going to train its own

It’s a familiar story across the country, fewer people want to be public school teachers. Teacher shortages escalated from crisis to catastrophe in the wake of the pandemic. But the number of people interested in the profession has been trending down for more than a decade. KUT’s Becky Fogel reports on one Central Texas district that’s trying to turn around that trend by creating its own pipeline of future teachers.

Supreme Court puts Texas’ immigration enforcement bill on hold

Senate Bill 4, which would allow Texas police to arrest people suspected of crossing the Texas-Mexico border illegally, is currently on hold after a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Texas Newsroom’s Julián Aguilar has the latest.
Why researchers and teachers are raising red flags over the state’s fully online STAAR tests for public school students.
A one-of-its kind 10K – with half its course in the U.S. and the other half in Mexico – drew hundreds of runners to El Paso.
And: The best U.S. coin design of 2023 features Jovita Idar, a journalist and activist from Laredo.

New music exhibit features iconic items owned by Willie Nelson, Taylor Swift and more

A new law making it a state crime for migrants to enter Texas without authorization faces a major test in a federal courtroom. We’ll hear the latest.

In Houston ISD, the biggest school district in the state, officials appointed by the state are getting pushback over plans to expand school reforms.

A Texas presidential museum turns a spotlight on Taylor Swift’s guitar, Willie Nelson’s boots and hundreds of other artifacts to help tell the story of American music.

Plus: The week in politics with The Texas Tribune.

How Mexico supplanted China as the nation’s top trade partner

A shooting at one of the most famous megachurches in Texas, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, leaves one dead and a child in critical condition. We’ll have the latest.

For most of the past few decades, the title of “top trading partner to the U.S.” has belonged to China – but the U.S. Census Bureau reports that last year, the United States’ biggest trading partner was Mexico.

Civil rights groups have filed a federal complaint against Bonham ISD alleging disciplinary discrimination against Black and disabled students.
The latest on a mysterious listeria outbreak.

And Russian propagandists twisting the narrative over border standoff between the Biden administration and Gov. Greg Abbott.

Texas frackers are going electric – but can the grid handle it?

With a push from Texas Republicans, the U.S. House moves a step closer toward a vote to impeach the head of Homeland Security.

Amid a shortage of teachers statewide, a move in Dallas to get more men of color in the classroom.

In the Texas oilfields, how a push for greener drilling has some worried about the effects on the power grid.

A browser update for the ages? Why new features in Google Chrome have one tech writer warning of the end of the human internet.

And Temu takeover? Why U.S. giants like Amazon and Walmart are rethinking their strategies as a China-based retailer turns up the heat.

A national lab didn’t detect disease in Texas deer, but the state had already euthanized them

Missing mail and massive delays in postal delivery in the Houston area are sparking action from U.S. Rep. Al Green. We’ll hear what he plans to do about it.

A controversial law allowing Texas police to arrest people suspected of crossing the border illegally takes effect soon – but some rural sheriffs in the Big Bend region say they’re not eager to enforce it.

And: An entire herd of white-tailed deer at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area was euthanized amid concerns about the spread of a contagious disease. But the affected deer may not have had the disease after all, according to new test results.

Children at Risk’s annual ranking of Texas schools is out

Texas officials say they’re reassigning workers to deal with an ongoing problem of providing care for foster kids without placement.

The 2022-2023 school ratings report from Houston-based nonprofit Children at Risk sheds light on progress and problems that districts are facing statewide.

Former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, who also had a short stint in Houston, will soon take on a new position overseeing Austin’s police department.

And a giraffe in a park in Juárez, who made headlines last year, is getting a new home.

Justice Department report on Uvalde shooting finds ‘critical failures’ in police response

After a review of thousands of videos and other evidence, the Justice Department has released its report on the Uvalde school shooting, finding “critical failures” by law enforcement before, during and after the attack.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down much of a new Texas law that sought to restrict which books are available in school libraries.

Texas may soon be a hub for hydrogen fueling. The Standard’s Shelly Brisbin has more.

CinéWilde, which bills itself as the state’s only monthly LGBTQ film series, turns 10.

And: Remembering award-winning science fiction author Howard Waldrop.

Community colleges get a funding boost, but with some changes

Gov. Greg Abbott received a $6 million campaign contribution from an out-of-state mega donor and school voucher advocate. Investigative reporter Lauren McGaughy of the Texas Newsroom shares more.

The Texas Newsroom’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán has the latest on what appear to be endorsement wars among top Texas Republicans.

There’s a new funding formula for community colleges. What could the change add up to?

And commentator W.F. Strong reflects on influencers – both intentional and accidental.