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The State of Texas: March 8, 2016

El Paso struggles to teach English, and the state wants absolutely nothing to do with a controversial health study on women’s health.

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Slam Tuesday

Getting dunked on sucks. Getting dunked on then forced to give a piggy back ride is even worse. Such was the fate, however, of one player on the Houston Baptist University Huskies thanks to University of the Incarnate World’s Shawn Johnson. Thankfully, everyone seems to have taken the blooper in stride.

Daily Roundup

Lost in Translation — Being educated in multiple languages is great, but El Paso’s track record is so terrible, that even a national publication like The Atlantic has taken notice. After years of scandals involving student grades, forcing poor performing kids to drop out, puffing up stats, and basically being terrible educators, the school system in El Paso has run into a major problem of being unable to teach English to its huge Spanish-speaking population. “Part of the problem is resources: Texas cut $5.4 billion from its public-schools budget during the recession, and a number of lawsuits allege that the state’s method of allocating revenue hurts lower-income districts in particular,” according to the detailed piece. “Another problem may be the political optics of beefing up programs for non-English speakers.Texas legislators don’t want to be seen as spending state money on Spanish speakers.” The story looks at some noble efforts being made to help students, as well as a few high-end programs being implemented, but it’s still an uphill battle ensuring everyone gets the best education possible. Remember, a candidate for the State Board of Education thinks baby dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark, and the NWO.

Disavowed — Texas really, really, doesn’t like science surrounding women’s health. State health officials “have asked a prominent academic journal to take the state’s name off a published finding that Texas women lost access to health care services after lawmakers kicked Planned Parenthood out of a family planning program,” reports the Texas Tribune. The “controversial” study, published in the highly respected New England Journal of Medicine, garnered attention because one of its authors was a top researcher for Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and worked on the study without the knowledge or approval of the state. Politicians with no experience whatsoever in medicine were a little hurt that the study “found that fewer women accessed the family planning program after Planned Parenthood was kicked out in 2013 — a conclusion vehemently contested by the state’s Republican leadership,” and contested by, like, no one else. Regardless, the commission wants it made clear that it doesn’t approve. The “study ‘purports’ to be from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission but ‘does not reflect the views of the Commission,’ wrote Karen Ray, the agency’s chief counsel, in a letter to the journal. She asked the journal to remove any ‘suggestion of an affiliation with’ the state agency.”

Investigation Laid Bare — Austin Police have finished their investigation into the officer involved shooting death of the teenager, who was very much unarmed because, well, he was naked. The Austin Police Chief “said he will not wait for the criminal investigation — which is separate from the department’s internal investigation — to conclude before deciding whether to discipline the officer who shot and killed 17-year-old David Joseph,” according to the Statesman. “Based on the evidence, officials could schedule a disciplinary hearing for [officer Geoffrey] Freeman as early as this week. They also could request additional investigation or exonerate him of any policy violations, allowing him to return to work. The investigative findings, which will be used by department officials to determine whether Freeman’s use of lethal force violated department policies, are confidential under state law and would be publicly released only if he is suspended for at least a day for his actions related to the shooting. Freeman has been on leave since the incident, which is standard practice after a police shooting.” So no idea what really happened, but, again, the shooting death of a naked teenager can’t possibly be spun too many ways. As the story notes, another investigation is under way to see if Freeman violated state laws, with that investigation possibly going to a grand jury in the next few weeks.

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