News For May, 2011

Suddenly Serious

It's a misleading headline; they've been serious. But this was the week with redistricting on the floor of the House and no budget on the floor of the Senate. Redistricting is often a noisy and bloody affair, and this might be a case when the availability of information took the sting out of the fight. Not so long ago, redistricting maps and data were closely held until the big reveal on the House floor. Members got to see pieces of the maps — their own districts and some of their neighbors' — but it wasn't unusual to see politicians in near cardiac condition when the maps were put on the easels for the first time and they got a peek at the whole state.

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Inside Intelligence: The Security of State Data Is...

For the latest installment of our unscientific survey of political and policy insiders, we asked whether the state should pay the costs if identities are stolen using state data, whether the state is can be trusted with data, and whether the comptroller will suffer politically for the latest data breach.

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Caleb Bryant Miller

The Brief: May 2, 2011

The news Sunday night of Osama bin Laden's killing drew jubilation and solemn reflection nationwide, and at home here in Texas.

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Jacob Villanueva

TribLive: Powers and Loftin on Higher Ed Reform, Budget Cuts

At last Thursday's TribLive conversation, I interviewed Bill Powers and Bowen Loftin, the presidents of the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University, respectively, about the need for higher education reform, the impact of budget cuts, the predicament of middling graduation rates and more.

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Callie Richmond

Is Poverty, Not Teacher Quality or Charters, Key to Student Outcomes?

Michael Marder, the co-director of the University of Texas' UTeach program, which trains secondary school math and science teachers, looks at public education data and explains the significance of poverty, why he thinks charter schools are not necessarily the answer and how public education is like a Boeing airplane.

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Todd Wiseman

The Midday Brief: May 2, 2011

Your afternoon reading: politics seen in bin Laden reactions; Senate OK pushes abortion sonogram bill closer to governor's desk; senators eye another Rainy Day proposal

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Illustration by Todd Wiseman

In Hunt for Revenue, It's Big Tobacco vs. Little

It’s big tobacco vs. little in the effort to smoke out new revenue for the Texas budget. Large tobacco companies, which fork over half a billion dollars to the state every year as part of a 1998 lawsuit settlement, want small cigarette manufacturers to pay their share. 

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