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Fearon to Business Community: Early Childhood Education Will Impact Labor Force

Educator and philanthropist Regen Horchow Fearon had a warning for the Dallas business community Tuesday: If children aren’t nourished and stimulated during the first five years of their lives—when 90 percent of human brain growth occurs—there could be dire consequences for business and society down the road.

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Poll: Is It Too Easy to Graduate High School in Texas?

Yesterday Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a measure that reduces the burden on Texas public high school students to pass exams before graduating. Instead of having to pass five end-of-course exams from the ninth grade on, they only have to pass three of the five. (They’ll still have to obtain a special waiver to do so.)

What do you think of this change?

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Leading Off (5/1/15)

Mike Miles’ Job on the Line. Under a judge’s orders, the Dallas ISD board will convene at 4 p.m.today at district headquarters to discuss the superintendent’s job performance. Most of the City Council has expressed their support for Miles even as trustees Bernadette Nutall, Elizabeth Jones and Joyce Foreman seem determined to push for his ouster. While Miles appeared on Fox 4 and CBS 11 newscasts on Thursday to say he’s remaining focused on what’s best for the children, Brett Shipp at WFAA couldn’t get more than a written statement from Miles for his latest report about possible interference by the super and trustee Mike Morath into a district HR investigation. Friday’s meeting is a closed session, so you may not want to bother getting the popcorn ready.

Rival Protests Today Downtown. A rally and march, organized by Mothers Against Police Brutality, is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Frank Crowley Courts Building to show support for the ongoing protests in response to the death of Freddie Gray in the Maryland city. Meanwhile a second demonstration called “Backing the Blue” has been announced ostensibly to “say ‘thank you'” to the Dallas Police Department, but really just seems designed to troll the other group’s event. And, according to Breitbart, a counter-protest by an open-carry group called Texans Against Gun Grabbers, is also happening at the same time and place. The TAGG organizer issued a statement about the event, with scary overtones: “My whole point is that this event has the potential to be extremely volatile very quickly. For your safety I would stay out of Dallas tomorrow night.”

Dallas Cowboys Pick Byron Jones in NFL Draft. With their first-round pick last night, the team selected a cornerback from Connecticut. Why do I find it funny to think of people playing football in Connecticut?

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Leading Off-ish (4/23/15): The Zac-is-on-Vacation Edition

Dallas-Fort Worth Earthquake Risk Has Tripled.  That’s just since 2008, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Granted, the risk is still pretty low, and we have yet to experience any catastrophic seismic activity. Yes, the energy production business — pumping chemicals and wastewater into the faults — is to blame.

Central Expressway in McKinney Temporarily Closed Due to Flooding. St. Delkus promised us a deluge, but thing were pretty light around my place in Oak Lawn. Meanwhile, the Collin County suburbs are being punished by our creator for their insolence?

Dallas Cop Fired For Sex With Teen, Prostitutes. Jorge Guzman had an inappropriate relationship with a teenager in the Dallas Police Explorer Program.

Plano ISD Will Stop Locking Unruly Children Away. Sounds like a sensible policy change.

We Should All Just Go Work For Southwest Airlines. The carrier has posted a record $453-million first-quarter profit.

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Grapevine High Students Apologize For Racist Rap

It’s a pretty awful string a words out of the mouth of a dumb Grapevine High School student, recorded two years ago, as the Daily Kos reports:

Two white female students at Grapevine High School in Grapevine, Texas recorded and released a song with dangerous and offensive lyrics about black, Latino, and Asian-American students. As the anger boils out of control in the school, the staff was forced to send the email below to parents.

Here’s the NSFW audio:

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Brett Shipp E-Mail Suggests He Reports DISD Stories With a ‘Miles Is Evil’ Mindset

On Learning Curve, I have a post that mentions Schutze once again criticizing Brett Shipp for his willingness to believe anything bad about the DISD administration and Mike Miles. I’ve written about this many times. But I just thought it would be helpful to let Shipp respond, in his own words, about why he does these things: Because in his mind, Mike Miles is evil.

Okay, I’m exaggerating. But look at the potboiler language he uses and tell me he doesn’t at least see Miles as a cartoon villain.

Below is an email response Shipp sent to a 20-plus-year WFAA viewer. This person […]

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Denton Teacher Motivates Students With the ‘STAAR Test Funk’

Kelli Hauser, a sixth-grade reading teacher at McMath Middle School in Denton, produced this shot-for-shot video parody of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” ostensibly to motivate students to get excited about the STAAR standardized testing this week. Hauser has previously produced parodies of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” called “STAAR Force” and Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” called “TAKS Face,” so I suspect she may be doing it to live out a bit of her own American Idol-esque dreams too. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — she’s far from the only teacher to do so.

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Leading Off (3/27/15)

Dallas ISD Approves “Interim Bridge Plan.” At about 1 a.m., trustees voted for a measure that provides $129.5 million in funding for fast-tracked improvements at a number of schools, while expanding pre-kindergarten offerings and reopening several campuses. The final amount was less than the $134.7 million initially proposed after a number of amendments were made. Lakewood Elementary was among the big winners, as the school will get $12.6 million for an addition and renovations. All of this discussion is, of course, a prelude to voters later being asked to approve a comprehensive bond package totaling as much as $1.4 billion.

Bridge Collapse Kills Arlington Man. Yesterday’s accident in Central Texas along Interstate 35 in Salado, in which a tractor-trailer hit an overpass and caused a beam to fall onto the highway below, claimed the life of 32-year-old Clark Davis. I-35 was closed in both directions around the site until well into the night.

Rain May Ease Water Restrictions. The abundance of wet weather the last few months has resulted in some area lake levels rising dramatically and most of Dallas-Fort Worth shifting from darkest red to light red or orange on the U.S Drought Monitor map. Lake Lavon, one of the North Texas Municipal Water District’s reservoirs, has gone from 46.2 percent to 77.5 percent of capacity. If the trend continues this spring, the district may ease tough restrictions on watering that have been in place almost two years.

World War II Vet Recovers Empty Duffel Bag. Waymon Blundell, 94, certainly seemed tickled to be reunited with the bag, which he’d carelessly lost when he’d jumped onto the beach at Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion in 1944.

Keller Student Denied “Promposal.” Sixteen-year-old Casey Akers says her school wouldn’t let her stage a public invitation to the prom because she and her chosen date are gay. The school district issued a statement saying that it doesn’t allow any students to plan such elaborate invites, as they are disruptive. Anyway, when did it become an expectation for kids to treat a prom invite like a marriage proposal? Sounds like an excruciating burden for both straight and gay kids.

Derelict 1955 BelAir Wagon For Sale. It’s up for auction on eBay. You have until 10 a.m. today to make a bid. JFK assassination historian Farris Rookstool III (!) says the car is unique because a fellow named Lee Harvey Oswald once rode in it with his rifle.

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Leading Off (3/13/15)

Legislators Argue Over Letter Grades For Schools. Some in Austin believe a switch to annual evaluations of all campuses in the state on a familiar A to F scale would “drive innovation.” But others, like Dallas’ own Sen. Royce West, are concerned the system would “stigmatize” lower-performing schools. West says additional funding should be provided to those that receive a D or F.

Garland Wants to Supersize Its Side of LBJ. The city’s leaders are pushing for the stretch of the freeway between U.S. Highway 75 and Interstate 30 to get many additional lanes, just as the road west of 75 has with the LBJ Express project. Bills have been filed to authorize the expansion, though it’s not known how the $1.3-billion cost will be funded.

Volcanic Eruption Sends Plane Back to D/FW. Thirty minutes into its flight to Costa Rica, American Airlines Flight 2442 had to return to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport because a noxious cloud was making landings in San Jose impossible.

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Anchia Files DISD Reform Bill That Home Rule Foes are Certain to Love

A lot going on in Austin right now relating to education. Several bills have already been filed that could affect how school boards govern. I’ll write a post on those soon. Also, be sure to voice your support on social media for Rep. Eric Johnson’s pre-K bill, HB 1100, which will be discussed in the Public Education Committee tomorrow. But today a very DISD-specific bill was filed by Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Funkytown). I’ll have a breakdown of it on Learning Curve when I write about all the ed bills out there, but here’s what you need to know: It’s awesome, and it would dramatically help DISD’s governance problem.

The deets: This bill (HB 2579) affects school districts larger than […]

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How the DMN Misleads People About DISD

You really should pop over to Unfair Park and read what Jim Schutze has written this morning about DISD and how the Morning News covers the district. He touched on this Friday. What the paper reported and what actually happened during last week’s board meeting are two very different things. Our own Eric Celeste has covered the same territory, breaking down in great detail how one trustee in particular, Joyce Foreman, is doing her best (with help from the paper) to gum up board meetings and get the superintendent fired. On his Facebook page, Wylie H. Dallas took note of Eric’s reporting, which led to a lengthy discussion that included Foreman herself. She probably commented on Wylie’s post a dozen times. Maybe it was two dozen times. I can’t give you precise count, because Foreman went back and deleted all her comments. But Wylie screen captured one thing that Foreman wrote:

Wylie, I did not know that you had cut and paste this information from Eric Celeste. I thought these were you thoughts. I must tell you I am not intimidate, threatened or moved by Mr. Celeste thoughts about me and other females on the DISD board. The record will show that his vinom is spewed only on the women. I will leave you with this…my loving mother use to say “When the enemy is talking about you, you must be doing something right.”

The typos and grammatical slip-ups can be forgiven. Perhaps Foreman was typing on her phone while running on a treadmill. But the sentiment — that Eric is a misogynist who has attacked female trustees — is hard to overlook.

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