Austin
8:58 am
Tue January 31, 2012

Top Morning Stories 1/31/12: Redistricting Closing Arguments, AISD, Texas Science Gets a C

Closing Arguments in Texas Redistricting Trial

A federal court in Washington will hear closing arguments today in the Texas redistricting trial, the Associated Press reports. 

A three-judge panel will determine whether the Texas Legislature violated the federal Voting Rights Act, which requires pre-approval from the U.S. Justice Department for states with a history of racial discrimination. The Justice Department argues that Texas lawmakers have re-drawn several districts in a way designed to dilute the voting power of protected minorities. 

The state of Texas and the Justice Department will each have one hour to make their closing arguments.  The minority groups will also have 15 minutes each to argue to the judges, said the AP.

AISD Board Ends Financial Exigency

The Austin school board voted last night to take the district out of financial exigency. The district made that declaration almost a year ago – clearing the way for layoffs of more than 1,100 employees.

In an 8-1 vote, the board also approved designs for a performing arts center near the Mueller neighborhood in East Austin.

Texas’ science curriculum earns a C

As reported by the Austin American- Statesman, Texas has earned a grade of C from a new analysis done by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute based in Washington D.C.

In 2009, the State Board of Education created controversy over how the evolutionary theory is handled in the classrooms. The new analysis found that “the biggest problem with middle school standards is their coverage of evolution. ”

In contrast, the study found high school biology to be “exemplary in its choice and presentation of topics, including a thorough consideration of biological evolution. ”

“In 2005, Texas received a failing grade for its science standards. This year, it earned a grace of C, which was about average compared with other states and the District of Columbia; only 13 got a better grade,” the Statesman reported.