Five stories that have North Texas talking: Music and civil rights history boost the ‘Unspoken Speech’ project; Motorola tones down a sexy ad campaign for the Fort Worth-made Moto X; how different high school graduation requirements will affect students and more.
Cliff Sims and Peter Wood unearthed 350 words from the speech President John F. Kennedy never got to deliver in Dallas. Words about the peaceful nature of true freedom; words about how America’s value isn’t tied to money or military strength, but to provision of equality and justice for its own people. The Englishmen gave those words to ordinary residents who reflect the diversity and spirit of the well-wishing crowd that came to see the president’s motorcade wind through Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963.
These people hold the words up on signs, some dancing or hand-signing in pieces, for the first completed video. Plans for the next installments are set – a music video by Dallas band the Bright and another short featuring Clarence Broadnax, a famous civil rights protester who held up his own handmade sign in 1964: “Did JFK die in vain?” Trace the project from its inception in Jerome Week’s piece for KERA.
- Moto X Makes Hot-Button Debut: When we found out Motorola would make its first U.S.-made smartphone Moto X in Fort Worth, we didn’t know much about the phone itself. Now we do. KERA’s Lauren Silverman reports the battery’s supposed to last 24 hours and there’s a voice recognition chip meant to pick up your voice even amid Siri-stumping car noise. If that’s not enough to push the thing, the ad campaign for the phone was sexy as launched, even using a “that’s what she said” line: Touch each other, not phones: Moto X responds to your voice, no touching necessary. (That's what she said.) The Atlantic didn’t like it. Business Insider saw the company change its tone over the course of the day. In any case (ha), factory workers in Fort Worth will make as little as $9 an hour, which made the same publication wonder if Cowtown’s meager average wage attracted the company.
- Texas High School Grad Requirements Shift: The State Board of Education met yesterday to organize how they’ll implement the new rules of clearing senior year as school starts in three weeks. House Bill 5 shrinks the number of STARR tests required to graduate from 15 to 5, and students will have more chances to choose electives that fit their interests, KUT explains.
- CSCOPE Curriculum Controversy Back In Play: Another item on SBOE’s plate: Whether CSCOPE lesson plans accused of promoting “anti-American” ideals will actually be dropped by the 80 percent of Texas districts that use them. The system was abolished during the legislative session – the publisher even stopped making the curriculum for Texas altogether. (Glenn Beck was a public opponent of the material, which he said labeled the Boston Tea Party revolutionaries as terrorists.) But now, there’s a question as to whether copyright protection exists, and the lesson plans could be part of public domain. Lawyers with the Texas Education Agency say teachers can use CSCOPE plans they’ve already downloaded.
- Get To Know Our ‘Class Of 17’ A Lot Better Monday: You might have noticed a curious increase in the number of incoming ninth-graders on our air lately. You’ll hear their voices again – over the next four years. Bill Zeeble and Stella Chávez are getting to know the young teens, showing up at high-stakes basketball practices, tough summer math classes and the dinner table with their families as part of KERA’s long-term Class of 17 project. We’ll just say this: Catch up on the stories before Monday, when you’ll meet Stella’s latest subject – aptly named Chance. Follow @stellamchavez, @bzeeble, and @keranews on Twitter, and track discussion with
#keraclassof17 and the overarching #amgrad.