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The Dallas Morning News writes that some parents in North Texas are questioning their local schools' policies of teaching only abstinence in sex ed.
In the article, titled "Texas sex educators take tentative steps beyond abstinence" the DMN's Jessica Meyers wrote that one parent at a recent McKinney school district's curriculum information night was frustrated that she couldn't even find the word 'condom' in the glossary of the district's health ed textbook.
New state laws require now that local school districts include parents and community members in the decision making process of setting up sex education curricula. The News article notes that, "A newly amended law requires that districts spell out their human sexuality curriculum to parents. It also stipulates that school health advisory councils meet four times a year and consist of at least five members, a majority of whom are parents."
As far as I know, all Collin County school districts teach a draconian brand of abstinence that research proves doesn't work.
The article notes that, "Texas is regularly singled out for its clashing statistics. More government money is spent on abstinence education here than any other state, but Texas leads the country in the percentage of teen mothers who've given birth more than once. It has the country's third-highest teen birth rate.", and then goes on to quote a Frisco High School junior as saying, "They just kind of say, 'Don't do it,'... "And then before prom, they say, 'Don't go to Motel 6.' "
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Don McLeroy has been on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) since he was first elected to the Board in 1998. He has been a staunch opponent of teaching evolution and has led many of the SBOE's more far right efforts to restate science, english language and social studies curricula to a more fundamentalist christian cant. He represents District 9 which includes a large part of Collin County.
McLeroy, a dentist from Bryan, does not have a campaign website that I can find. He does, however, maintain a site titled "A Little Clear Thinking About Texas Public Schools" where he explains his philosophy of education.
Last year, Gov. Perry nominated McLeroy to be the chair of the SBOE, but the nomination was defeated in the Texas Senate.
The Plano Star Courier article quotes Ratliff saying, “My opponent has shown time and again that he wants to work for public education by telling teachers and education professionals that he knows better than they do what public education needs,” he said. “I simply do not agree with this approach or belief.”
“I want to work with the folks that have been there and know what they need from the State Board of Education,” he said. “I believe in public schools and trust those involved in our public schools to know what is best for our children’s education.”
On his campaign website, Ratliff explains why he is running against McLeroy, "I am running for the SBOE because I want to work for public education by asking what I can do that will help. My opponent has shown time and again that he wants to work for public education by telling teachers and education professionals that he knows better than they do what public education needs. I simply do not agree with this approach or belief."
The race for SBOE, District 9 will mirror many of our local races in Collin County that highlight the schisms within the local GOP between moderate conservatives and the new far-right conservative movement.
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The Plano Downtown Development Fund is flush with cash, reports Theodore Kim, Matthew Haag, and Valerie Wigglesworth in today's Dallas Morning News.
The fund is fueled with property taxes from the downtown businesses and was expected to bring in about $25 million, according to the article. However, because of rising property values, the fund could find itself with $43 million at the end of its life in 2014.
What to do with all that money?
Some $16 million has already been spent on downtown development projects, like the "Courtyard Theater and a multiuse school facility known as the Cox Building".
Now the city want to spend the remainder in consolidating property for development, and the PISD wants some of it to fund an $11.5 million reconstruction of Mendenhall Elementary School, which is just north of downtown and is the city's oldest elementary school.
Aging older schools in east Plano that primarily serve low income, minority students is a major issue in PISD and is a main driver in the district's attempts at redrawing attendance zones in east Plano.
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This afternoon, Collin College and 5 area universities signed an agreement to open the Collin Higher Education Center.
The Center will be located in the new Collin College Administrative Campus being built at the intersection of SH121 and central Expressway. The Center is scheduled to open in January of 2010.
At the Center, students will be able to complete junior- and senior-level college classes and master and doctoral programs offered by Dallas Baptist University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas Woman’s University, The University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of North Texas. The CHEC fills a major gap in Collin County which has no 4 year university.
Dr. Cary Israel, the president of Collin College pointed out that the CHEC will offer convenience to area students and will "save thousands and thousands of gallons of gasoline" with students able to pursue their studies locally.
And speaking of Collin College, last Friday night, the College hosted its "Living Legends" award ceremony at the new library on the Central Park Campus. The Living Legends program honors citizens whose dedication to education have made an extraordinary difference in the county.
The College honored 4 new Legends. for the first time, the College honored a company and a group of citizens. The 2009 Living Legends are, The Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, the Citizens of McKinney, Texas, Plano attorney David McCall, and Frisco ISD superintendent Dr. Rick Reedy.
Collin College is celebrating its Silver Anniversary this year. It also is celebrating the naming of its 25th Living Legend. As part of ensuring a lasting legacy of the Living Legends, a naming opportunity has been established with a goal of raising $250,000 to name a room that recognizes the Legends on one of the campuses. More than $100,000 has been raised to date. Photographs and profiles will be displayed near the naming site so their legacy will be a lasting memory.
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