Public education

 Spencer Selvidge

The Big Hungry

Texas' participation in the federally funded summer food service program is dismally low compared to the national average — meaning only a small percentage of the state's 2.5 million low-income kids are getting free meals.

Full Story 
 Jacob Villanueva

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramshaw on geriatric care in state prisons, with Miller's photo essay inside those walls; M. Smith interviews the state's newest Supreme Court justice, Debra Lehrmann; Aguilar finds fewer Mexicans seeking asylum in the U.S; Galbraith sorts out the politics of pollution and whether our air is dangerous to breathe; Thevenot discovers authorities writing tickets for misbehavior to elementary school kids; Philpott reports on early hearing about political redistricting; Kreighbaum examines fines levied against polluters and finds they're often smaller than the economic benefits of the infractions; and Stiles and Babalola spotlight some of our data projects from our first seven months online: The best of our best from May 31 to June 4, 2010.

Full Story 

The Brief: June 4, 2010

Physician-owned hospitals, which provide some of the best health care in the nation but have been in danger since health insurance reform passed, are taking their case to court.

Full Story 
 Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

Tickets for 10-Year-Olds

With the rise of get-tough juvenile crime policies across Texas, the municipal courthouse has become the new principal’s office for students who fight, curse their teachers or are generally “disorderly” — even in elementary schools. Campus police in the Austin, Houston and Dallas ISDs, among others, write thousands of citations per year, with young students tickted egularly and minority students targeted disproportionately. Fines of $250 or $500 are not uncommon, court officials say.

Full Story 
 Graphic by Jacqueline Mermea

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramsey on what the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll says about the governor's race, education, immigration, and other issues; Grissom on a far West Texas county divided over Arizona's immigration law; Ramshaw talks health care reform and obesity in Texas with a legendary Dallas doctor; M. Smith on the Collin County community that's about to break ground on a $60 million high school football stadium; Aguilar on the backlog of cases in the federal immigration detention system; Philpott of the Green Party's plans to get back on the ballot; Hu on the latest in the Division of Workers' Comp contretemps; Mulvaney on the punishing process of getting compensated for time spent in jail when you didn't commit a crime; Hamilton on the fight over higher ed formula funding; and my sit-down with state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin: The best of our best from May 24-28, 2010.

Full Story 
 Emily Ramshaw

Kenneth Cooper: The TT Interview

The world-renowned Dallas doctor who essentially invented jogging as exercise talks with the Tribune about health care reform, the crisis of obesity in Texas, and what lawmakers must do to shore up the physical-education legislation they passed last session.

Full Story 
 Graphic by Jacqueline Mermea

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Allen High School is a study in bigness: A 5,000-student campus with a 650-member marching band supporting a football team that draws 8,000 fans to away games. And now — the pinnacle of suburban spoils — the Collin County community will break ground on an 18,000-seat stadium, the largest occupied by a single team. Pricetag: $60 million.

Full Story 
 Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

A Lousy Grade

More than two-thirds of Texans say their confidence in the state's public schools ranges from shaky to nonexistent, according to the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. A majority of Texans believe that crime, low academic standards, lack of parental involvement and not enough funding are "major" problems that public schools face — but two-thirds say "too much religion in the schools" is not a problem.

Full Story 
 Jacqueline Mermea

TribBlog: SBOE's Last Laugh

You know that prayer that before today's State Board of Education meeting, which some found so inappropriate? It was read by arch-conservative Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond — but not written by her. In a gag on her detractors, she lifted the text from U.S. Supreme Court Justice and liberal icon Earl Warren.

Full Story 
 Justin Dehn

TribBlog: Praying for Church and State [Updated]

In a morning prayer to open the State Board of Education meeting, social conservative member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, mixed worship with a constitutional argument against the separation of church and state — previewing the politically charged debate to come later today, as conservatives tackle their last big agenda item before approving the state social studies standards.

Full Story 
 Bob Daemmrich

Hussein in the Membrane

A member of the State Board of Education's internationally notorious conservative wing trotted out Barack Obama's middle name late in a marathon meeting Thursday, a fitting end to a debate over social studies curriculum standards that was marked by irritable outbursts and inane dialogue. Members fought over slavery, Jefferson Davis, Joseph McCarthy — even over when they could finally adjourn.

Full Story 
 Marjorie Cotera

Separation Anxiety

At a public hearing today, the State Board of Education's social conservative bloc is expected to launch attacks on the church-state “wall” as part of hundreds of changes to the social studies curriculum standards, which could provide the outline for tests and textbooks years into the future. The board expects to take a final vote on the entire curriculum on Friday.

Full Story 
 Wikimedia

TribBlog: History Paige

Former U.S. Secretary of Education and Houston Superintendent Rod Paige this morning asked the State Board of Education to delay adopting its standards, saying they had “swung too far” to the ideological right and diminished the importance of civil rights and slavery. Asked if the board should delay a final vote expected Friday, he said, "Absolutely."

Full Story