Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles spoke to thousands of DISD teachers at the first district-wide convocation in at least 4 years. He opened by dancing with students, then spoke for about an hour presenting his goals for teachers, principals and students.
He mixed in movie clips, commercial segments and humor to make serious points, like one he says he learned at West Point - accept no excuses.
Miles: Yes we know the kids have challenges, we know they have challenges they bring to us. But with regard to the quality of our instruction, there can be no excuse.
Miles said excellent instruction is expected. When he said he will not move non-proficient teachers from one classroom to another, the audience agreed with applause.
Attendance was mandatory, but teachers KERA spoke to said they were inspired by the presentation, and ready for the first day of school on Monday.
On another note, the DISD board last night okayed $500 and $750 bonuses for full time teachers, librarians and other district employees.
Bill Zeeble, KERA News
Denton County Reports New West Nile Death
Denton County is reporting its second death from West Nile virus. Officials say the patient lived in Carrollton, was in her 80’s and had underlying medical conditions.
A West Nile Virus Health Emergency has been declared by County Judge Mary Horn. That includes a request from the state for aerial spraying of mosquitoes – transmitters of the disease.
Many Denton County cities are already doing ground spraying, and will decide if they want an air attack by early next week.
BJ Austin, KERA News
State Lawmakers Discuss School Vouchers
The state Senate Education Committee is talking about tuition vouchers to allow families to choose charter schools.
Robert Enloe, with the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice in Indiana, told committee members that state vouchers and tax credit scholarships for charter schools improve academic achievement.
“Children, and particularly African-American children are learning more,” said Enloe. “They’re getting higher increases in test scores, roughly between 5 and 11 percentage points, which is a half-a-grade to a grade difference over time.”
But Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth questions the lack of accountability standards for charter schools – how do taxpayers know they are getting their money’s worth.
Charter school supporters want the state to increase the current cap of 215 charter schools statewide.
Opponents object to state money going to for-profit education companies.
BJ Austin, KERA News
Tarrant County Judge Frees Man After DNA Clears Him
A Tarrant County judge has freed a man after 24 years in prison for a rape he did not commit.
David Wiggins was convicted of the 1988 sexual assault of a 14 year old girl in Fort Worth. The girl identified Wiggins in a line-up that Project Innocence officials say was flawed and never challenged by Wiggins’ trial attorney.
Sophisticated DNA testing recently cleared Wiggins.
Family members joined Wiggins in court this morning. He says he will be living with a friend he met through the church ministry he participated in while in prison.
BJ Austin, KERA News
USADA strips 7 Tour titles from Lance Armstrong
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency stripped Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France titles Friday, erasing one of the most incredible achievements in sports after deciding he had used performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong, who retired a year ago, was also hit with a lifetime cycling ban. An athlete who became a hero to thousands for overcoming cancer and for his foundation's fight against the disease is now officially a drug cheat in the eyes of his nation's doping agency.
In a news release, USADA said Armstrong's decision not to take the charges against him to arbitration triggers the lifetime ineligibility and forfeiture of all results from Aug. 1, 1998, through the present. That includes the Tour de France titles he won from 1999 through 2005.
Armstrong has strongly denied doping and contends USADA was on a "witch hunt" without any physical evidence against him.
Tour organizers say they're waiting to see what happens before commenting on the case.
Nearly $60M high school stadium in Texas opens
A nearly $60 million high school football stadium in North Texas has opened with a pep rally and introduction of the 2012 team.
Thousands of fans turned out Thursday night to see Allen High School's new Eagle Stadium. Allen opens the season Aug. 31 by hosting Southlake Carroll.
Voters in 2009 approved a $119 million bond package that included the 18,000-seat high-tech stadium. The venue replaces a 14,000 seat complex in the community about 20 miles northeast of Dallas.
The new stadium has artificial turf, a two-tier press box and a towering video scoreboard.
Classes begin Monday at Allen High School, which last year had enrollment of nearly 4,000.