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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

The best of our best content from July 7 to July 11, 2014.

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Over the last decade, Texas students have made steady progress on a number of academic measures. But in recent years, that improvement has begun to stall.

Stacked up against other states, Texas public schools could win the best-bang-for-your-buck competition. The state spends less than most others, and its students perform better than many. But the commitment to fiscal restraint has come with its own burdens for teachers.

Following the drowning of two foster children on Sunday, the Department of Family and Protective Services has halted placements by a state contractor that was responsible for overseeing the children’s care.

Nearly four years after BP awarded Gov. Rick Perry's office $5 million for recovery projects in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, most of the money remains unspent. Now, the company is asking Texas for its money back.

During a meeting Wednesday, President Obama urged Gov. Rick Perry to support his call for more funds for border resources. Perry urged the president to address policies he says have made Texas a magnet for illegal activity.

President Obama’s visit to Texas became fodder in the governor’s race, with Democrat Wendy Davis suggesting he should visit the U.S-Mexico border in person and Republican Greg Abbott challenging him to adopt the “Texas model” in Washington.

Operators of a 45-acre San Antonio solar farm have turned to sheep — not lawnmowers — as a low-cost, low-effort way to control overgrown shrubbery that might otherwise impede the company’s technicians.

In Texas and across the country, the birth rate among teenagers has declined significantly. But Texas has not fared as well as other states. The Lone Star State has the nation's fifth-highest birth rate among teenagers.

The the State Bar of Texas will move forward with a formal hearing of allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against the former Burleson district attorney who sent Anthony Graves, who was later exonerated, to death row in 1994.

Despite outgoing UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s demand that UT-Austin President Bill Powers agree to an October resignation or be fired this week, on Wednesday the two ended up settling on Powers’ own proposed exit date — one 11 months away.

The population of Texas could nearly double by 2050, prompting some to worry that not enough is being done to avoid a future traffic nightmare and the drag on the economy that could come with it.

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