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The Brief: June 17, 2014

The value of a four-year college degree is becoming less apparent to Texans, according to the latest installment of the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

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The Big Conversation

The value of a four-year college degree is becoming less apparent to Texans, according to the latest installment of the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

"Only 28 percent said a college education is necessary for a person to succeed in today’s work world, while 68 percent said 'there are many ways to succeed ... without a college degree,'" wrote the Tribune's Ross Ramsey. "That’s a big change from the UT/TT Poll of May 2010, when 42 percent called college necessary and 56 percent said there are other paths to success."

•     For the most part, Texans were open to several different approaches to education reform. The most popular was teacher incentives, named by 69 percent as effective to some degree. Boosting teacher pay was close behind (67 percent), as was reducing standardized testing (66 percent). Vouchers were thought effective by 51 percent of Texans.

•    The state's partisan divide could be felt when it came to prescribing change in the education system as well. "Voters who identify themselves as Republicans chose increased funding, more local control and vouchers as their top three choices," Ramsey wrote. "For Democrats, the top three were increased funding, reduced testing and statewide pre-K. And those who identify themselves as Tea Party voters chose vouchers, local control and more charter schools."

The Day Ahead

•    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is in Fort Worth, where she is expected to give, according to her campaign, "a major economic address, laying out her vision for an economy that works for all Texans." The speech is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.

•    The House Appropriations subcommittee on health and human services meets at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to take up interim charges on ongoing cost-containment efforts as well as on the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. (agenda)

•    House Speaker Joe Straus is in Edinburg for a 9 a.m. Coffee Conversation hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Today in the Trib

New Rules Could Shed Light on Future Water Projects: "The future of Texas' water supply will start to take shape on Tuesday afternoon when the Texas Water Development Board releases draft rules for funding major water projects over the next several decades."

Some Pushing for Special Session on Border Security: "State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, said Monday that he and other conservative lawmakers are seeking a special legislative session to address the influx of undocumented immigrants in South Texas."


HUD nominee Castro set for Senate confirmation hearing, San Antonio Express-News

Perry, Jindal take swipe at EPA carbon rules, Houston Chronicle

Rick Perry questions gay therapy, The Hill

Abbott has signed off on contracts for big campaign donor, The Dallas Morning News

King admits failing to report donations, Weatherford Democrat

Lawmakers plunge into water desal evaluation, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

2014 elections: Koch brothers launch new super PAC for midterm fight, Politico

Court Rulings on Voter Restrictions Create Limbo as Midterms Near, The New York Times

Quote to Note

"A politician determines by partisan and strategic reasons what the answer is and then finds someone to do research to support it. It drives me crazy."

Michael Webber, deputy director of the Energy Institute at UT, on Gov. Rick Perry consulting with a conservative think tank before issuing a letter critical of President Barack Obama's new energy policy to reduce carbon emissions from burning coal

Today in TribTalk

Get ready for gay marriage, Texas, by Kevin Nix: "The swift demise of same-sex marriage bans across the U.S. over the past year means that gays and lesbians may get to marry in Texas much sooner than anyone expected."

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Texas Tribune Festival runs from Sept. 19-21 at the University of Texas at Austin. Tickets are on sale now.

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Explore related story topics

Health care Politics Public education Greg Abbott Joe Straus Julián Castro Phil King Rick Perry Wendy Davis