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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramsey on Flintstone truthers, Thevenot on the explosion of "dual-credit" enrollees and the potential sacking of teachers when student test scores don't measure up, Ramshaw on government-subsidized child care providers with troubled track records, Stiles's enhanced state employee salary app and new dangerous day care app, Aguilar on our commie trading partner and the cost of being undercounted in the next census, Philpott on the legal wrangling over gay divorce and how social media fanned the flames of Debra Medina's 9/11 flap, and our roundup of powderkeg party primaries: Hu in HD-20, M. Smith in CD-23, Ramsey in HD-98, Hamilton in HD-127, Grissom HD-76 and HD-78, and Rapoport in SBOE 5. The best of our best from February 15 to 19, 2010.

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Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

After years of fiddling with merit-pay schemes, the Houston ISD is tying student test scores to the decision to ax teachers. Not surprisingly, the move — on the cutting edge of reforms nationally — has teachers howling in protest.

Since 1999, the number of "dual-credit" students — those who take college courses while still in high school — across Texas has ballooned from fewer than 12,000 to more than 91,000. It's a trend that's likely to continue as state and local policymakers search for ways to better align curricula and to push more kids to continue their education.

The Texas Workforce Commission spent nearly $50 million during the last two years on day care centers and in-home childcare providers with troubled track records — including sexual and physical abuse, kidnapping, and leaving infants to suffocate and die in their cribs.

Find the salaries of more than 340,000 public employees with our enhanced data application, including those working at the largest state agencies as well as individual public schools, cities and mass-transit operators.

More than 120 federally subsidized day care centers had their licenses denied or revoked by the state for violations of regulations and minimum standards in the last two years. Map their locations and drill down into the records by the provider name or action taken by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Texas, that famous bastion of conservatism, has become a leading exporter of agricultural products to communist Cuba — second only to Louisiana among the 50 states.

More than 373,000 Texans went uncounted by the 2000 census, resulting in a loss of $1 billion in federal funds. With eight of the nation's 50 hardest-to-count counties right here in our state, the coming 2010 census is a cause for concern — and an apparent lack of attention by elected officials is making matters worse.

A same-sex couple, married in Massachusetts but now living in Travis County, has been granted a divorce by a state district judge. It's the second time in five months that a same-sex divorce has been granted in Texas — and also the second time that Attorney General Greg Abbott has moved to block such an action.

Debra Medina, the upstart GOP candidate for governor, is in damage-control mode since last Thursday's flap over her statements on the 9/11 attacks. Campaigns have always had to deal with putting out fires, but this one is different — one of the first in Texas in which social media sites like Twitter fanned the flames.

In one of the fastest-growing and most conservative areas of the state, four Republicans are vying for the Texas House seat of outgoing state Rep. Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown.

Two lawyers, two doctors and an ex-CIA officer are hoping that discontent with the federal government and anxiety about the economy will propel them to victory against incumbent U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio. But first, they have to win a crowded Republican primary.

State Rep. Vicki Truitt, R-Southlake, has won and won easily since wresting the district from a GOP incumbent in a 1998 runoff. But this year is different. She'll face three opponents and voters who might be in an anti-incumbent mood.

Four plausible candidates are vying for the GOP nomination to succeed retiring state Rep. Joe Crabb, R-Atascocita, and each has a decent shot. The tough part for voters in this reliably Republican north Houston suburb is differentiating between them.

State Rep. Norma Chavez, D-El Paso, is in the fight of her career, trying to hang onto her Texas House seat after a bruising year in which her public fights with her fellow lawmakers made headlines statewide. Her young opponent says it’s way past time for a change.

About the only thing Jay Kleberg and Dee Margo have in common is the R next their names on the primary ballot — that and their desire to take on freshman state Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, in November.

Forget about Don McLeroy vs. Thomas Ratliff The most interesting fight for a State Board of Education seat may be in San Antonio, where well-funded lawyer-lobbyist Tim Tuggey is challenging incumbent Ken Mercer — and the big question being asked is, 'How conservative is conservative enough?'

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Congress State government Debra Lehrmann Joseph "Joe" Moody Ken Mercer State agencies State Board of Education Texas congressional delegation Texas House of Representatives Texas Legislature