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The research institute was named in honor of a $36 million gift donated by the O’Donnell Foundation. The Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute UT Southwestern Medical Center will launch research projects to better understand the “basic molecular workings” of the brain then apply the findings to prevention methods to battle injuries and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Full StoryFull Story
All apologies to the many fun polls on FrontBurner, but online polls are notoriously poor gauges of public opinion. They are, however, a good vehicle to determine the thoughts/feelings of a site’s audience.
If this is true, then I submit that the readers of the Dallas Morning News education blog are out of step with the rest of the city.
Example No. 90illion of that theory: The online poll the paper put up asking readers to pick the winners of each of the three DISD trustee races. Here are the final online poll results: […]Full Story
Home Rule Commissioner Kevin Malonson and I have struck up a weird friendship. We both see the need for better educational opportunities for Dallas ISD kids — especially poor kids — and we often have 180-degree views on how to achieve this. But Malonson is open-minded and sincere, an engaged DISD volunteer and parent. I think his opinions are very worthy of discussion. Here is his second guest column for Learning Curve. Treat him well in the comments folks; he’s a civilian. […]Full Story
To: Eric Cowan and Dan Micciche
From: Eric Celeste
Re: Your vote later today
Eric and Dan:
I know you both think you need to fire Mike Miles today. I know you each think you should do this because a) you hear from a lot of angry people in your district who want him fired, and b) you believe he has made severe management mistakes. I understand. But let’s talk for a minute about why this is a terrible idea for each of you, for your districts, for the city, and for the kids in DISD.
Let’s start with […]Full Story
Army Corps of Engineers Approves Trinity Project. Now, don’t be confused. This doesn’t mean the Corps approved the toll road. It approved the bench upon which any road would be built. And it approved the plan to re-meander the river and construct the wetlands and all the rest of it. This is a good thing.
DISD Trustees Sue Board President. The lawsuit is all about trying to oust Superintendent Mike Miles before the May elections. Joyce Foreman, Elizabeth Jones, and Bernadette Nutall filed the suit against Miguel Solis. Look for some words about this from Eric on Learning Curve.
Woman From Allen Safe in U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu. The body count in Nepal has climbed past 5,000. When the quake happened, Allen High grad Danielle Banks was on Mount Everest, where she saw an avalanche. Imagine being Danielle’s mom, Sharon, and getting this series of texts.
Josh Hamilton Speaks. Hamilton had a press conference yesterday to talk about being a Ranger once again. Remember when he left to be an Angel and said Dallas “wasn’t a baseball town”? Here’s what he had to say about that: “I’ve said some dumb things. And I’ll continue to say dumb things from time to time.” Fair assessment. Probably for all of us.Full Story
The Academy of Arts and Sciences announced its annual inductees this week, including one from North Texas: UT Southwestern Chair Dr. Sandra L. Schmid. She is the chair of the Department of Cell Biology and is internationally recognized from her research on how cells internalize nutrients, a process known as endocytosis. She joins a class of 16 other UTSW faculty members who have been inducted into the academy since 1974. “I’m honored. The AAAS lists as its mission to ‘champion scholarship, civil dialogue, and useful knowledge,’ values to which I try to adhere. This recognition, of course, reflects the extensive… Full StoryFull Story
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.Full Story
It’s SAGA Pod After Dark! We stop by Schutze Manor to discuss the Trinity Toll Road, the Mayor, the people who really run this city, the group trying to get the Toll Road done at any cost, the Dream Team plan and more traffic noise. Then we go over the latest non-scandal scandals in DISD and wonder if the Bad Guys have finally won. Also, you can find it on iTunes here. As always, please listen with your ears.Full Story
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 […]Full Story
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.Full Story
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.Full Story
I’m irritated and I’m stumped. Irritated because I had a lot of stuff on the ol’ to-do list yesterday, and instead I was pulled into a debate between a bunch of idiots and a very confused Dallas ISD administration and board. Stumped because the allegations that necessitated this debate are so wrong-headed, so silly, so baseless, I am at a loss how to address them. It’s like trying to explain to a sane person why the crazy person claims the moon is made of barbecue spare ribs. I mean, where do you start?
Everywhere, I guess. So here is a scattershot rebuttal of the claims made by [cue the never-ending sigh] Bill Betzen and friends in their complaint about DISD’s supposedly inequitable funding system. […]Full Story
Storms Bring Floods and Tornadoes. There were dozens of reported tornadoes across North Texas and Oklahoma last night. At least one building in Mineral Wells collapsed. And there was “significant damage” reported in Runaway Bay.
Five Dead Bikers Were From North Texas. The dead men range in age from 19 to 47. It will likely be weeks before we know who may have been killed in the original fight and who may have been killed by police. You can see all 171 mug shots of the men arrested here. Zac will be along later with a list of his favorite biker nicknames. (My choice: “Gimmi Jimmy.”)
Former Birdville ISD Student Sues District Over Christian Prayers. Isaiah Smith, 20, claims he suffered years of bullying in the North Richland Hills school district, including anti-gay slurs and having baseballs thrown at him. He says it’s related to the Christian invocations used to start every school board meeting.
That Controversial Black Rhino Hunt Is Over. You’ll recall a few years ago the Dallas Safari Club auctioned off the chance to kill an endangered black rhino. The winner, Corey Knowlton, bid $350,000. (Stephen Colbert mocked the whole thing pretty viciously.) Well, Knowlton eventually got his rhino. And CNN’s Ed Lavandera was along for the trip.Full Story
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.Full Story
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?Full Story
Note: I noticed on Dr. David Chard’s Facebook page that he said an essay he’d co-authored with TFA Dallas prez Alex Hales had been turned down for publication at the Dallas Morning News. So I asked if I could run it on Learning Curve. Here ’tis: […]Full Story
Today at 4 o’clock the DISD board of trustees will meet to talk about Superintendent Mike Miles. There will be a vote to fire him. Eric has a great post on LearningCurve explaining why it all comes down to trustees Dan Micciche and Eric Cowan. If you want to understand what’s going on here, you should read it.Full Story
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?Full Story
Early Dallas ISD STAAR Results Disappoint. District eighth-graders taking the state’s reading test performed worse than last year’s students, while the fifth-grade passing rate increased slightly.
3 DISD Trustees Really, Really Want to Fire Mike Miles. On Thursday, Joyce Foreman, Elizabeth Jones, and Bernadette Nutall tried, and failed, to replace board president Miguel Solis because they’re unhappy that Solis has put off scheduling a board meeting to discuss the performance of the district superintendent until after the May election.
What the Cluck, Arlington Council? The city, you’ll remember, helped foot the bill for JerryWorld and got its own suite in return. Over the past five years, at nearly every event, two-thirds of the tickets have been used by the mayor, council members, and their spouses — to the surprise of no one.
Molina High Teacher Arrested For Student Relationship. Mary Todd Lowrance, 49, had confided her indiscretion to a co-worker.
Million-Dollar Lake Palestine Home Collapsing. In the ongoing battle between man and nature, nature scores another win.
Ralph Strangis Quits Dallas Stars. The popular broadcaster has decided to move on to “new challenges” after a 25-year career with the team.Full Story
Jim Schutze has a good post on Unfair Park about how everything is Mike Miles’ fault, according to his critics. Even things like firing investigators who don’t work for him. But I want to highlight the first comment on that post from “MindingtheStore,” because it gives us a good place to start discussing how parents, teachers, some trustees, and other interested parties take data and frame it to suit their desired narrative.
MTS says several interesting things that are pretty easily refutable, but let’s just concentrate on the first graph (I fixed a few typos): […]Full Story
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:Full Story
Trying to clear out the backlog from a couple of weeks off. I’ll make this as short and sweet as I am capable of making something, which means only like half a million words. […]Full Story
If you missed my last post and the reply that came from Robberson, you can read Jim Schutze’s take here.
Yesterday evening, DISD responded to Robberson’s response with the e-mail below. I think between’s Jim’s piece and the response below, you’re up-to-date.
To note: Robberson has this thing where he doesn’t mention D or D blogs in his pieces because of course he doesn’t. But he does so in his initial e-mail to DISD (which is the last item in the thread below). To be fair, I included my response (which is the first thing you’ll read), just to show you that I can’t leave well enough alone and that I have the emotional maturity of an 8-year-old. Enjoy: […]Full Story
I mean, seriously — how many times do I have to do this? Forever? Is it forever? Just let me know if it’s forever, so I can change a few plans.
Let’s get right to it: a blog post by Tod Robberson about Mike Miles that sets up a straw man to knock over.
Okay, here’s the column, if you’re looking for a reason to headdesk yourself today. But if not, all you really need are the first three graphs: […]Full Story
Yesterday, a guy named Bill Betzen filed a complaint with the Department of Education against DISD. If you read the DMN’s story about it, you probably went, “Whoa. That doesn’t look good. Seems like the district is screwing poor kids.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s okay. Don’t go too hard on yourself. It’s a complicated issue. Eric explains the whole matter on LearningCurve. You should read his post. After you do, you’ll understand the truth, that Betzen is just trying to undermine Superintendent Mike Miles and foul up a very important vote tonight by the board of trustees. Take a minute and educate yourself. Do it for the kids.Full Story
Levi Pettit Apologizes For Taking Part In Racist Chant. The Highland Park High graduate and — until recently — member of the SAE fraternity at the University of Oklahoma read from a prepared statement at Oklahoma City’s Fairview Baptist Church, while surrounded by some of the city’s black leaders. Apologizing for his appearance in the video where he and his fraternity brothers gleefully used racial epithets and chanted about lynching, Pettit, 20, said, “Some have wondered why I hadn’t spoken out publicly. The truth is I have had a mix of pain, shame, sorrow, and fear over the consequences of my actions.” I still don’t have much in the way of pity for him or anyone else involved, but it’s a start.
Suspect In Illegal Buttocks Injection Death Surrenders. Denise “Wewe” Ross was arrested for practicing medicine without a license following the death of Wykesha Reid. Ross’ alleged accomplice, Alicia “Jimmy Joe” Clarke, is still at large, I believe.
Your Weekly Steve Blow Facepalm Moment. “Can you stand one more word about Greg Hardy? More important, can you stand a positive word? Yeah, I know I’m late to the party. But I never dreamed the bash would go on this long. Or the bashing.” [Sighs so long that when it stops it is a century later and I now live in a place called New Texahoma where professional sports are played by sentient robots known as jerichos.] OK, look, Steve. I know you dig wordplay. That is your lane, and I get it. But maybe avoid using “bash” and “bashing” when you’re writing about giving a second chance to someone who has the stench of domestic violence coming off him so strong his jersey has Pigpen-like stink lines. And don’t compare Hardy to Josh Hamilton. Because that’s not even close to the same thing. It is like comparing apples to allegedly throwing a woman onto a futon full of automatic weapons. I mean, come on, my dude. I could go on and on about the smarmy glibness of the tone you strike in that column, but I’ve already given it way more thought than you did. Just stop trying to have a take on anything that remotely matters and write about some hokey thing that happened in Sunnyvale the other day that speaks to a larger point about no one cares.
Teacher At J.L. Long Middle School Somehow Showed Her Class a Nude Photo of Herself. Other than the fact it happened Monday, there isn’t a ton of other details here. I assume most of the kids are now preoccupied with Zayn Malik leaving One Direction, but that’s still pretty messed up.
Ted Cruz Already Missing Senate Votes Because Of His Presidential Run. Hello, bright side. I didn’t expect to see you so soon. Please, don’t hesitate to tell me what I can do to make your stay as long and as comfortable as possible.
Is H-E-B Preparing For Full-Blown Expansion Into North Texas? Maybe! For more on that story, I direct you to the fine staff at Shrug Monthly, who, frankly, own the guess-tigation beat.Full Story