TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Nov 2, 2009

In our first week in the world, we led with our chin, offering a poll (parts one, two, and three) of Texans' views on top races and issues. (In The Polling Center, our University of Texas pollsters poke at the numbers and remain on hand for conversation about the survey.)

Emily Ramshaw's searing report on the use of restraints in public schools starts with a look at the practice, follows with a comparison of the state's school districts and closes with the story of a young victim whose life was permanently changed.

Abby Rapoport took at look at the GOP's internal tensions through the lens of the State Board of Education, and followed later in the week with a profile of Don McLeroy, who's become a lightning rod for controversy on that panel.

Democrats have fights of their own. Look no further than El Paso, where a resignation at the top of the local food chain has all the links in uproar. Brandi Grissom has the details.

Dropouts and how they're counted (and whether that ought to be the main departing point for debate) got detailed attention from Rapoport and Brian Thevenot this week — part of our plan for ongoing coverage of a problem that pours more than 100,000 people without high school diplomas into the state's workforce every year.

Should schoolbooks be books? Thevenot investigates efforts to put more learning material on the screen — and less in the backpack — with this story on changes in the state's textbook program.

Chuck Hopson will be back, he hopes, but in a different jersey. The East Texas Democrat switched parties — a flip detailed in Ross Ramsey's piece here.

Kay Bailey Hutchison isn't the first (and won't be the last) to challenge an incumbent in her own party. It's got a long and colorful history, recounted here by Morgan Smith.

Who the heck is Matt Mackowiak and why is he twittering so much? And does the chief beneficiary want anything to do with him? Reeve Hamilton explains in this story on the self-styled Instapundit. And just because they're cool, take a peek at the related word clouds pulled together by Matt Stiles.

Finally, to learn about what we're doing at The Texas Tribune and why we're so excited about it, check out Elise Hu's great video.

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