Cutting Classes

In 2011 the Legislature cut $5.4 billion from state aid to public schools for the 2012–2013 biennium. This quickly led to a reduction—mostly through attrition, though there have been layoffs as well—in the number of teaching positions in the state’s public education system. Paradoxically, we may soon have the exact opposite situation: a large number of open teaching positions without enough qualified candidates to fill them. Here’s how that could happen.

More Kolaches, More Fun

If you’ve recently driven south on Interstate 35 from Dallas to Waco, about an hour into your trip you probably noticed a few billboards emblazoned with the name “Slovacek’s.” Then, as you entered the town of West, you saw the towering Slovacek’s sign itself, signaling your arrival at the sausage maker’s new travel center, located on the southbound frontage road and featuring a meat market, a cafe selling kolaches and sausage, a frozen-yogurt bar, a nearly half-acre dog park, and restrooms with faci

The Year of the Statewide Latina

“I’m trailblazing,” says Miriam Martinez over the phone. “The past is over. This is a new chapter in the Republican party.” Martinez, a former Univision personality and unsuccessful state House candidate from the Rio Grande Valley, is a long-shot candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary who hopes to overcome Attorney General Greg Abbott’s commanding head start in fund-raising and name recognition. That makes her a rare creature in Texas politics: a Latina running in a statewide race.  

The Checklist

Art

“Robert Smithson in Texas” (Dallas Museum of Art, through April 27): You may be familiar with the famed earth sculptor’s Spiral Jetty, in Utah’s Great Salt Lake, but as this retrospective demonstrates, Smithson also planned a number of ambitious projects in Texas, one of which was completed, though not by him: Amarillo Ramp, which Smithson was researching when he died in a 1973 plane crash near the site of the work. 

Stuck in the Middle

John Cornyn has come a long way since 2002, when he was first elected to Phil Gramm’s old seat in the U.S. Senate. In just two terms the 61-year-old has become the senior senator from Texas and the minority whip, making him the second-highest-ranking Republican in the chamber. But it was his split with freshman senator Ted Cruz over Obamacare this fall that turned heads in conservative circles back home.

Bipolar Order

Whether you thought Ted Cruz was the goat or the Pyrrhic hero of this fall’s campaign to stop Obamacare, the national media unambiguously declared that his was the face of the failed GOP strategy. It’s a role that Cruz artfully played and has perhaps just as artfully refused to repent—it’s already put him at the top of the pack of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates.

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