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LBJ School and Journalism Dual Degree Student Publishes Short Documentary on The KIPP Austin College Prep School

Interviews LBJ School Adjunct Professor Debra Haas on state funding for KIPP program

AUSTIN, Texas-- July 7, 2010-- Axel Gerdau, a dual degree student in the Master of Public Affairs program at the LBJ School and The School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin, recently published a short documentary on the Reporting Texas website focusing on the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), a nation-wide national network of free, open-enrollment college prepatory public schools for underserved communities, which began in Houston, Texas, in 1994.

There are currently 82 KIPP schools in 19 states and the District of Columbia serving more than 21,000 students, but Gerdau focused his film titled "Every Second is Learning: How the KIPP  schools are changing the face of Austin" on the KIPP Austin College Prep School, founded in 2002.

"Education policy is of particular interest to me because of current reform efforts underway in my native Germany-- and because I worked as a teacher at two universities in Beijing, China, before I began writing for the Abendblatt."

Gerdau worked as a reporter for Germany's biggest regional newspaper, the Hamburger Adenblatt, before enrolling at The University of Texas in 2008.

"I became curious about KIPP after reading about it in Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller 'Outliers' last year and spent a semester putting together the movie for a class called 'Long-form Storytelling for TV' at the journalism school," said Gerdau. "It was a fantastic opportunity to combine my professional interests in policy and multimedia journalism. Experiences like making this movie are exactly the reason I applied to study at LBJ and earn a dual degree."

As part of his documentary, Gerdau interviewed Debra Haas, LBJ School adjunct professor and president of Haas Policy Consulting. According to Haas, the amount of money from the state government given to fun the KIPP schools is very slim.

"We are rationing paper to teachers," said Haas. "We are short the tools teachers need in the classroom to conduct educational activities."

Prior to coming to the LBJ School, Gerdau has studied and written about a variety of U.S. public policy issues for German publications including Texas wind power success, California's cannabis economy, and reform efforts in New Orleans' public education system. A number of recent publications are available on his website at

The LBJ School offers a variety of dual degree programs, 15 dual degree program under the Master of Public Affairs program and 8 dual degree program under the Master of Global Policy Studies program,  designed for students who wish to broaden their academic experience and enhance their career preparation by pursuing two complementary master’s degree programs. For information on dual degrees, visit

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