The State of Texas: Texas Remembers 9/11
Plus: Texas keeps thousands of disabled kids out of special education, the NFL season officially kicks off for Texas’s teams, and a North Texas high school holds a bizarre Trump-themed pep rally.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m pretty sure that’s our arena in Dallas Eric. #WrongBasket.”
—Mark Cuban on Twitter. Cuban fact-checked a tweet from Eric Trump, son of Donald, which included an image that Trump the Younger claimed was a recent rally in Florida. “Look at the
#BasketOfDeplorables in Pensacola Florida last night!” Eric Trump wrote in his original tweet, referencing Hillary Clinton’s statement that half of Trump’s supporters could be put in a “basket of deplorables.” Of course, the image Eric Trump tweeted out wasn’t actually from his father’s rally in Pensacola. It was instead from Dallas’s American Airlines Center. He later admitted the error with another tweet: “Hard to keep track these days! #WhatDifferenceDoesItMake.”
Sunday marked fifteen years since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and Texas joined the rest of the country in remembering the victims and first responders. Former President George W. Bush spent the anniversary of the biggest national event of his presidency in Texas, where he and wife Laura participated in the coin toss before the Dallas Cowboys’s season-opener against the New York Giants, amid chants of “U-S-A,” according to the Dallas Morning News. It was a special coin: the tails side featured the Twin Towers. Bush also put on an “FDNY” cap at midfield for the flip. According to NBC DFW, Bush went to church that morning and then attended a private prayer and remembrance ceremony before the game. The rest of Texas remembered in different ways. Texan survivors recalled narrow escapes from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Other Texans decided to spend the day donating blood. There was a memorial motorcycle ride in Fort Worth and a firefighter stair-climb in Austin, while San Antonians planted seedlings taken from the Callery pear tree at Ground Zero, also known as the “Survivor Tree.” Students and faculty at Tyler’s Dr. Bryan C. Jack Elementary school, renamed after a graduate who perished at the Pentagon, released balloons to mark the fifteenth anniversary. Texas A&M students planted 2,977 miniature flags—one for each victim of 9/11—in the university’s main plaza, while the football team wore special American flag-themed helmets during Saturday’s home game. Oh, and that San Antonio mattress store that sparked national outrage after it mocked 9/11 in a commercial? It is now closed indefinitely.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
The Houston Chronicle has a pretty shocking investigative report on an archaic policy in Texas that keeps “tens of thousands” of kids with disabilities from receiving special education programs that they need. According to the Chronicle, in 2004 the Texas Education Agency began encouraging districts to enroll 8.5 percent or less of students in special ed programs in order to cut costs. Since then, the statewide enrollment rate has fallen from about 13 percent (near the nationwide average) to exactly 8.5 percent, which is the lowest percentage in the country by a long shot. Disturbingly, it seems like the 8.5 percent figure was arbitrarily chosen—the TEA wasn’t able to produce any records regarding how it decided on the 8.5 percent benchmark, and the agency admitted to the Chronicle in a statement that there’s no research that indicates that percentage is an ideal number for special education enrollment. Districts have tried a number of tactics in order to comply, including telling parents they have to pay to have their children evaluated (which isn’t true), and directing them toward outside assistance or private schools.
Pro Football’s Back
The start of the NFL season was a bit of a mixed bag for Texas’s teams, with the Houston Texans winning their season-opener on Sunday, but the Dallas Cowboys falling short in theirs. The Texans’s new-look offense rolled to a 23-14 win over Chicago. New quarterback Brock Osweiler threw two touchdowns, fellow free-agency addition Lamar Miller ran for 106 yards, and rookie wide receiver Will Fuller broke out with 107 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, rookie quarterback Dak Prescott had an unspectacular debut for Dallas in the Cowboys’s 20-19 loss to the New York Giants, passing for 227 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and tacking on 12 yards rushing. Coach Jason Garrett praised his poised performance, saying Prescott was “a good decision-maker throughout the ballgame,” according to ESPN. Prescott had a chance to start his career off with a bang when the Cowboys took possession down one with 1:05 left to play, and he got the ‘Boys close to field goal range, but the clock ran out due to an error in judgment by wide receiver Terrence Williams, who didn’t go out of bounds to stop the clock when he probably should have.
A high school football rivalry took a turn for the racist on Friday, when the affluent, mostly-white Colleyville Heritage High School held a Donald Trump-themed pep rally ahead of it’s game against Trinity High in Euless, a more diverse school. According to the Dallas Morning News, the official theme of the school’s pep rally was “Make Colleyville Great Again,” and students fashioned a sign that looked like a wall, with “paid for by Trinity” written on it. Students from both Trinity and Colleyville told the Morning News that they were deeply offended by the rally’s racial overtones, while Colleyville students who posted photos from the rally online got skewered on social media. One student wrote on Twitter that the rally was approved by school administrators and wasn’t intentionally racist (the student’s response began with “okay idc stay in my mentions if you want”, because, remember, this is Twitter and these are just kids). A school district spokesman wouldn’t tell the Morning News whether the rally was approved by the school or not, but he offered the following explanation for the rally’s theme: “The thinking was that if we could beat Trinity, Colleyville Heritage football would be great again.” Looks like Colleyville Heritage football won’t be “great again” anytime soon: Trinity beat Heritage for the ninth straight time on Friday, 35-21.
WHAT WE’RE READING
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