Local News

Leading Off (10/27/21)

Some schools districts are using virtual teachers amidst shortage, Dallas County will receive an opioid settlement, and a rainy morning will be followed by a chilly afternoon

Faced With Shortage, Some Districts Rely on Virtual Teachers. A nationwide teacher shortage has forced districts to get creative, sometimes hiring teachers who remain out-of-state and teach remotely. For example, some students in Lancaster ISD attend class with a streamed-in teacher the district hired through a private virtual learning provider. This should be a wakeup call that we need to pay our teachers more, but it will likely result in more districts outsourcing teaching to new private companies that employ sweatshops of virtual teachers who teach multiple classes across the country at the same time via Zoom.

Dallas County to Receive $2.3 Million Opioid Settlement. The payout is part of a whooping $26 billion settlement with Johnson & Johnson. Three of the nation’s largest drug distributors for our country’s legal drug cartels’ role in fueling the opioid epidemic. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the money will be used to pay for mental health and addiction recovery services. The county may receive an additional $70 million from a larger portion of the settlement that will be paid to the state of Texas.

Gearing Up for Campaigns, Texas Lawmakers Get Goofy. It’s dog whistle season. Rep. Matt Krause, who is running for attorney general, wants to know what kinds of sexy books are in Texas schools. Rep. James White, who is running for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, wants to know if ordinary Texans can pretend like their married gay neighbors are not really married.

Dallas Zoo Offers Halloween Candy Recommendations. In short, cut out the candy made with palm oil. In fact, try to avoid palm oil altogether. It’s not easy. We live in a world that claims to operate within a free market and yet our consumer decisions are often constricted by an industrialized global economy that bakes environmental devastation into the bottom line, and the only real way to help the orangutans, as the Dallas Zoo is asking us to do, is to regulate the multi-national corporations that monopolize the production chain. But laying off palm oil candy this Halloween is a nice way to be mindful of the unintended impacts of our holiday traditions that have come to be defined by gratuitous consumption.

It’s Wet Out There. Later It Will Be Chilly. Showers are expected to continue through the morning. Skies will clear up later this afternoon as cold wind moves in from the north.

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