The State of Texas: Review Committee Slams Controversial Mexican-American History Textbook
Plus: A pair of polls has Texans riled up, troubled Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk resigns, and Texas ranks near the back of the pack when it comes to health care.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“She’s been in the family for many, many years. These three days [with the parrot missing] has been really hard on us.”
—Kathy Gardner, of Seagoville, to NBC DFW. Gardner is the owner of a parrot named Bonnie, who Gardner says is 92-years-old. Bonnie was apparently stolen from the front porch of Gardner’s home on Friday before she was turned in to the Seagoville Police Department three days later. Here’s to many more years, Bonnie.
Open and Shut
A committee of Texas historians and teachers released a report on Tuesday condemning a controversial Mexican-American history textbook that is being proposed for use in Texas high schools, finding more than 141 errors within its pages and calling the textbook “blatantly racist,” according to the Dallas Morning News. In the 54-page report, the committee wrote that the proposed learning tool is just a “polemic attempting to masquerade as a textbook,” and that “its primary thesis, that Mexican American history reveals major menacing or un-American trends in American history, society and culture, is an unsubstantiated and highly misleading claim.” Ever since the Texas Education Agency released the book, titled “Mexican American Heritage,” for review in May, the 500-page textbook has been a lightning rod for controversy, thanks to passages like this: “Mexican laborers were not reared to put in a full day’s work so vigorously. There was a cultural attitude of ‘mañana,’ or ‘tomorrow,’ when it came to high-gear production,” and “Chicanos…adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.” Opponents of the book claim it portrays Mexican-Americans as lazy and is written by authors who don’t actually have any expertise in Mexican-American history. The committee will present its report at a public hearing regarding the textbook set to take place in Austin next Tuesday. According to the Texas Tribune, the publisher of the book will have a chance to respond to the allegations of factual inaccuracies and can edit the textbook if necessary. Looks like they’re going to need a lot of whiteout.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Remember when the Washington Post released a new poll on Tuesday that had everyone freaking out because it showed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had a one-point lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump in Texas? Yeah, about that. Texas pollsters and political scientists are saying we all need to chill out. “Everybody needs to take a deep breath,” Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project, told the Austin American-Statesman. According to the Statesman, experts say Texas isn’t a true toss-up state as the Post‘s poll suggests, pointing to other polls that have Trump leading by a narrow-but-not-quite-that-narrow single-digit margin. Still, the Post poll seems to at least have Governor Greg Abbott sweating a bit—or, perhaps, he’s simply recognizing the moment as a chance to turn conservative panic into quick cash. The Abbott campaign sent out emails saying that “many Texas conservatives have let their guard down,” and asking supporters to donate money to the Republican cause. Regardless of your political leanings, Texas fared objectively well in another poll released on Tuesday, the Associated Press‘s top 25 college football rankings. The University of Houston jumped to number six, the University of Texas landed at number eleven after being unranked for all of coach Charlie Strong’s tenure, Texas A&M snuck in to the number twenty slot, and TCU and Baylor were ranked number fifteen and twenty-three, respectively. Not a bad showing for the Lone Star State.
Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk has had a rough tenure, punctuated by hospitalizations for depression and mental illness that pretty much derailed her less than two years in office. Hawk resigned on Tuesday, according to the Dallas Morning News, ending what’s been a strange saga for the 46-year-old. All in all, her time in office included three hospitalizations, a stint in rehab to deal with a prescription drug problem, irregular attendance, allegations that she was paranoid and she thought her work phone was being bugged and that her employees were plotting against her, and an unexplained disappearance which was later found to have been related to her seeking clinical treatment for depression. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve this office and the citizens of Dallas County, but my health needs my undivided attention,” Hawk wrote in her letter of resignation. Some critics have said Hawk was unfit for office and have long called for her resignation. As the Texas Tribune notes, the timing of Hawk’s resignation comes just a few days after the August 26 deadline to add another candidate on the November ballot, so Governor Greg Abbott gets to pick the replacement to serve until at least 2018 in the largely Democratic county.
Hurting for Health Care
A new analysis by WalletHub shows Texas ranks thirty-third among U.S. states when it comes to health care, which isn’t awful, but it’s not great, either. And Texas fared considerably worse in a few key categories. Texas came in dead last when it comes to the percentage of adults aged 18 to 64 who have health insurance, ranked second to last for the percentage of children under 17 who have health insurance, and had the fourth-highest percentage of adults who have not visited a dentist in the past year. Texas ranked forty-ninth in overall access to health care. Not good, but not particularly surprising when you consider the recent mass exodus of health insurance providers from Texas, our disturbingly high maternal mortality rate, and also the state’s questionable allocation of grants aimed at promoting better health. The one bright spot? Texas has the fifth-highest retention of medical residents.
WHAT WE’RE READING
The Dallas Morning News has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Dallas Morning News
A two-year-old girl shot her twenty-two-month-old sister in the neck with her father’s gun near Dallas KDFW
An in-depth look from the Washington Post at the Dallas police shooting Washington Post
A girl in Waco was sexually abused, later became a cop, then caught the guy who assaulted her Daily Beast
Matthew McConaughey is teaching a film class at UT for free Texas Tribune