Results are in for the state’s newest academic exams – The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness – or STAAR tests. The Texas Education Agency’s Suzanne Marchman says barely half the 9th graders – 55 percent - passed.
Marchman: The English reading and writing both need the most work and we realize while reading is tested every year, this is the first year writing is included in the first-year test.
9th graders were the first students to take the new, tougher STAAR tests. They will have to deliver cumulative, passing results in order to graduate from high school by their senior year. Still, this year’s freshman STAAR results won’t be factored into a school’s rating. Officials expected a poor, showing and will allow scores to be phased in over time.
In Dallas, even fewer than the state’s 55 percent of 9th graders passed writing. The DISD says more than 5,100 students must retake the writing test. Retests are set for July, and again this fall.
Bill Zeeble, KERA News
Fort Worth Police Pin-On Centennial Badge
Fort Worth Police officers will wear a special, centennial Panther Badge Saturday morning.
At a ceremony on the Tarrant County Courthouse steps, Police Chief Jeff Halstead will give the order to pin on the new badges just as Chief J.W. Renfro did 100 years ago.
“June 9th of 1912 at nine o’clock in the morning, he declared that the official badge of the Fort Worth Police Department,” Halstead said. “And to the best of our knowledge there are fewer than three to five cities that still celebrate more than 100 years of wearing the same badge that has been in existence for that city.”
The centennial badges are designed without individual rank or badge number. The center has a blue background for police solidarity. And of course the unique Fort Worth badge has it’s “panther” on the top – as it has for 100 years. Fort Worth got the nickname Panther City around 1870 when a downturn in the cattle market reportedly resulted in a town so quiet panther tracks were found on a downtown street.
The centennial badges will be worn for a year. Chief Halstead says to be part of this tradition, and to be able to order the “pinning” is an honor few Police Chiefs get to experience.
BJ Austin, KERA News
Texas Democrats Meet In Houston
Texas Democrats are meeting in Houston, but without the divisiveness seen at the state GOP convention in Fort Worth.
Ross Ramsey, with the Texas Tribune, is in Houston. He says this is a rebuilding year for the Democrats.
“They’re trying to figure out how to reorganize themselves so that the party can help candidates get elected, Ramsey said. “And they’re looking to the candidates to see if they’ve got some up and coming stars who might be the next round of statewide Democratic officeholders.”
Ramsey says State Representatives Rafael Anchia of Dallas and Tarrant County’s Marc Veasey have been mentioned.
Saturday, Democrats elect a new state chairman. Boyd Ritchie is not seeking re-election after serving six years.
BJ Austin, KERA News
Dewhurst Addresses GOP Convention Without Boos
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has addressed the Texas Republican convention largely without boos - a sign of unity in a party still struggling with deep internal divisions.
The U.S. Senate candidate took the podium with only isolated outcries a day after some delegates booed Gov. Rick Perry when he endorsed Dewhurst during his convention speech.
Dewhurst is competing for the Republican nomination to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison with former state Solicitor General and tea party favorite Ted Cruz.
They face a runoff July 31 after no one in a crowded GOP field won a majority of the senatorial votes cast in last month's primary.
Dewhurst has held the lieutenant governorship since 2003 and is the mainstream Republican choice. But many tea party groups have branded him too moderate.
Arlington Teacher's Leader Optimistic About Interim Superintendent
With Arlington ISD Superintendent Jerry McCullough ousted by a unanimous board vote last night, Deputy Superintendent Marceleo Cavazos takes over as interim.
Larry Shaw heads the United Educators Association, and says his 3,000 or so members had been frustrated under McCullough’s leadership.
Shaw: I think it was too much my way or the highway attitude. We’ve had a lot of turnover in administration and lot of turnover in the teacher corps. It seemed to us not the sense of “let’s work together to meet the problems and needs of kids in the community.”
Shaw is optimistic the board, administration, and Cavazos will now work more closely together to map a future that remains difficult given ongoing budget problems.
Bill Zeeble, KERA News
Wealthy Texas woman faces child porn charges
A wealthy Texas woman who shares a $1.4 million home with her attorney husband faces charges that she collected and traded child pornography in what experts say is a rare case of a woman engaging in such activity.
Erika Susan Perdue has been undergoing addiction treatment since her April arrest on federal charges she accessed child pornography from the computer in her 4,000-square-foot home in the well-heeled Dallas enclave of University Park.
A four-count indictment accuses the 41-year-old of transporting, shipping, receiving and possessing child pornography. She could receive maximum prison sentences of 20 years for three of the counts and 10 years for the other.
Federal agents arrested Perdue after searching her home. An FBI affidavit says she admitted to trading files while her husband was at work.
Annie Oakley's hat, guns going on auction block
Relatives of Annie Oakley are selling items from the legendary sharpshooter, including her Stetson hat, guns, letters and photographs.
Heritage Auctions will offer up about 100 items related to Oakley on Sunday in Dallas.
Oakley gained fame in the 1880s and 1890s for her marksmanship while traveling with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show.
The auction includes a 12-gauge Parker Brothers shotgun that is expected to fetch about $100,000. Two Marlin .22 caliber rifles are expected to sell for more than $20,000 each.
Paul Fees, a former senior curator at Wyoming's Buffalo Bill Historical Center who consulted on the auction, says the offerings are significant because of the number of items in the collection and the fact that they've stayed in the family.