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26-story mixed-use tower planned at Taylor & Fifth in downtown Fort Worth

Jetta Operating Co., a 24-year-old privately held oil and gas company in Fort Worth, and a related entity plan a 26-story mixed-use tower downtown at Taylor and Fifth streets on a site once owned by the Star-Telegram.

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UPDATE: Six candidates file for two Water Board seats

Six candidates have filed for the two open seats on the Tarrant Regional Water Board, setting up a battle that could potentially shift the balance of power on the board and the priorities of one of the largest water districts in Texas.

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Fort Worth breaks ground on $8.6 million South Main renovation

Fort Worth Near Southsiders and city officials broke ground Monday on the 18-month rebuild of South Main Street between Vickery Boulevard and West Magnolia Avenue.

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First restaurant tenant named for Waterside development

Zoes Kitchen will be the first restaurant tenant in Trademark Property's Whole Foods Market-anchored Waterside development in southwest Fort Worth,

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Fort Worth Chamber names Small Business of the Year winners

A trampoline recreation business; an oilfield services company; a longtime aviation maintenance firm; a maker of electrical wiring harnesses. Those were the wide variety of businesses that received the 2015 Small Business of the Year Award from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

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State education board tightens rules for textbook panels

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Board of Education imposed tighter rules Friday on the citizen review panels that scrutinize proposed textbooks, potentially softening the ideological battles over science and religion that have long plagued the debate about what students learn in school.

Tension over the issue has been building for years in the country's second most populous state, where the textbook market is so large that changes can affect the industry nationwide. Critics complain that a few activists with religious or ideological objections have too much power to shape what the state's more than 5 million public school students learn.

The 15-member education board has the final say on textbook content, but the citizen review groups influence its decisions. Among the changes approved Friday is a mandate that teachers or professors be given priority for serving on the textbook panels for subjects in their areas of expertise.

Election defeats have weakened the board's bloc of social conservatives, who made headlines in recent years when pushing for deemphasizing evolution in science books and requiring students to evaluate whether the United Nations undermined U.S. sovereignty. The citizen review panels also have been dominated in recent years by social and religious conservatives who object to evolution and climate change entries in science textbooks.

But the catalyst for revamping those panels came last summer, when two ardent evolution skeptics — a nutritionist and a chemical engineer — caused a tumultuous fight by challenging a proposed biology textbook that didn't include information on creationism.

"We don't need lay people making these highly specific and technical decisions on these books," Thomas Ratliff, a Republican board member pushing for the new mandate, said during the board's meeting in November.

Ratliff said Friday that another proposed rule would allow the board, with a majority vote, to have panels of outside experts scrutinize any objections raised by the citizen panels as a further check on their power.

Though modest, the changes approved Friday could have a major impact in Texas, where Republican Gov. Rick Perry bragged during his 2011 presidential campaign that students were taught both evolution and creationism. The previous year, the education board approved a social studies curriculum in which children learned that the words "separation of church and state" were not in the Constitution and were asked to evaluate whether the United Nations undermines U.S. sovereignty.

All the proposed changes deal only with textbook reviews and won't stop larger clashes by education board members about textbooks. They also won't affect panels that vet proposed curriculums.

One proposal requires all portions of proposed books to be reviewed by at least two panel members, so that a single volunteer couldn't raise objections. Other rules would let panelists submit majority and minority reports about proposed materials to the board, and restrict board members' contact with reviewers so as not to unfairly influence them.

A more ambitious plan that would have allowed the education board to remove panelists for inappropriate behavior failed Wednesday night on a 9-6 vote
 

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