The Texas Education Agency was caught red-handed, and now it’s reversing course on a controversial enrollment policy. According to the Houston Chronicle, which in September revealed the TEA was auditing (i.e. penalizing) school districts statewide whose special education enrollments numbers eclipsed 8.5 percent. The Chronicle claimed in its report that the TEA made efforts to cut down on the number of students enrolled in special education to save money, resulting in thousands of students being denied much-needed special education programs. The U.S. Department of Education caught wind of the TEA’s methods and ordered them to put a stop to it. This week, the TEA responded to the fed’s demands, saying it would halt the auditing program, which means schools will likely be accepting more students into special education classes soon.
The trial for Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark and political consultant Marc Davenport will have to wait until next year. Visiting judge Randy Clapp rescheduled the trial date for March 27, 2017. Doyal, Riley, Clark and Davenport are alleged to have violated Texas’ Open Meetings Act after the Conroe Courier revealed email communications among the four, and other county officials, in 2015. At the time, the county was coming off a sound defeat of a road bond proposal, fueled by fierce debate over the extension of Woodlands Parkway. The Courier’s investigation revealed behind-the-scenes email communications between Doyal, Riley, Clark, Davenport and members of the Texas Patriots PAC, a group that opposed the Parkway extension. The Courier reports that the trial was rescheduled due to the large amount of evidence and grand jury testimony provided to the defense. If convicted, the accused could face fines from $100 to $500, and up to six months in jail. Montgomery County Attorney JD Lambright said that if Doyal, Riley and Davenport are convicted, they will have to resign from their positions.
A recent study of U.S. airports revealed that Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport isn’t so great, at least based on the metrics ThePointsGuy.com used to create their rankings of the country’s best and worst airports. The rankings named IAH the tenth-worst airport in the country, based on data collected about timeliness of flights, airport accessibility and amenities. Overall, IAH ranked 21st out of the 30 airports ThePointsGuy.com analyzed. The site claims their methodology came from analyzing data from the FAA and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, although the report didn’t go into detail as to what, exactly, IAH scored poorly or highly on. The good news is, at least when it comes to this study, is that we don’t live in New York. LaGuardia (No. 1) and John F. Kennedy International (No. 2) were named the two worst airports in the U.S. The best? Phoenix Sky Harbor International and Portland International. Hopefully ThePointsGuy.com revisits this survey in a few years when millions of dollars worth of improvements at IAH will (hopefully) be complete.
In case you have been living on another planet this week and just returned (because even if you were under a rock, you still would have heard), the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, breaking a 108-year streak of heartbreak and goat-inspired malaise. The Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in a Game 7 thriller that some are already calling the greatest baseball games ever played. Good for the Cubs. Needless to say, it was their time. So who now is baseball’s longest-suffering fan base? Well, it’s the Indians, who haven’t won a title in 68 years. But after that? Essentially the entire state of Texas. The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros have gone a combined 111 years without a World Series title, with neither having ever won one. The Rangers came the closest when in 2014 they came within one strike twice only to fall to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7. The Rangers also lost to the San Francisco Giants in 2013. The Astros have an even more pathetic postseason history. Their only appearance in the Fall Classic came in 2005 when they were quickly dispatched in a four-game sweep by the Chicago White Sox (ending their own historic title-less drought) in a Series that has mostly since been forgotten. In fact, the Rangers and Astros are two of only seven Major League teams to have never won a World Series. And while we would never wish such good fortune on a Dallas sports franchise, it’s Texas’ turn for a World Series title.
Finally, this little news item flew under the radar this week, but is certainly noteworthy. Apparently the Houston region (and we’re considering Todd Mission the Houston region in this case) is getting another major music festival. Free Press Summer Fest is growing into one the country’s most notable music festivals, and Day for Night in just two years has pulled some impressive names for a unique event. Now, Middlelands is set to make its debut May 5-7 at the Texas Renaissance Festival fairgrounds. And this is no middling local community fair. Middelands is being put on by the same companies—Insomniac and C3—responsible for Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. According to its website, Middlelands will feature five stages of live music, four nights of camping, interactive art installations, local vendors offering medieval-style food and drinks, Renaissance-era performers and rides. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but “early bird” tickets go on sale Nov. 10 at noon.