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The QueQue

The QueQue: Children’s climate crusade, Intelligent design on the march, Principals are the real school bullies?, A lot of frackin’ water

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Texas Water Development Board estimates for the oilfield ‘fracking’ of South Texas’ Eagle Ford shale.

And the effort to further dilute the teaching of evolution in Texas schools is still on the march. The Seattle-based Discovery Institute, itself at the forefront of the anti-evolution movement, has emailed SBOE members its own 71-page “evaluation” of the proposed standards before this week’s meetings, hoping to influence the new materials, saying they still aren’t critical enough of evolution.


Principals are the real school bullies?

This may explain why so many of us in San Antonio release ourselves of our own recognizance … A study by the Council of State Governments blames heavy-handed discipline in Texas schools for lower graduation rates and an increased chance for students to wind up in the criminal justice system. The sweeping six-year study released Tuesday found that nearly 60 percent of Texas students face either suspension or expulsion at least once during their middle- and high-school years.

Two of the study’s supporters, Democratic state Sen. John Whitmire, who chairs the state’s Criminal Justice Committee, and Texas Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson say the study, possibly the most comprehensive of its kind, exposes an educational system that criminalizes students for simply misbehaving. “We should ask whether teachers and principals, rather than police officers and judges, are best suited to discipline kids who commit minor infractions,” Jefferson said in a prepared release.

The study points out various inequities in how students are punished across Texas schools, showing that minority students are far more likely to face those severe consequences than their white counterparts. Special-education students are also more likely to face serious discipline.

Only 3 percent of those suspended or expelled were punished for conduct in which the state mandates the serious penalty, the study found. The rest of those facing severe discipline did so at the discretion of local school officials.

Only 40 percent of students disciplined 11 times or more graduated from high school during the study, and 31 percent disciplined one or more times had to repeat a grade at least once.

The study also found that once suspended or expelled, a student becomes three times as likely to wind up in the juvenile justice system in the following years.


A lot of frackin’ water

Today’s 37,000 acre-feet of water (12 billion gallons) used to frack deep shale formations across the state for oil and gas should climb to a staggering 120,000 acre-feet (39.1 billion gallons) somewhere between 2020 and 2030, according to a recent report by the Texas Water Development Board. And, despite promises from industry and the state’s regulators that broad recycling programs could ease much of the water pinch, the report states that — at best — only about 20 percent of that water could ever be recycled for reuse.

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