Must Read Texas – October 1, 2013

Partial NCLB Waiver Issued for Texas;
Cruz to Give Shutdown Salary to Charity; Perry in NJ Today;
Cornyn Imagines Blue Texas in New Ad; New Staples Video;
Christian Announces 100 Conservative Endorsements for RRC
Good morning from Los Angeles.
Here’s the brief:


AP’s Will Weissert reports:

The U.S. Education Department on Monday excused Texas from the most strenuous requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law, granting the state a reprieve from some of the standardized testing-based accountability standards it helped pioneer.

The department said it issued a waiver in exchange for a state plan to prepare students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students and support effective teaching and leadership.

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have been issued similar waivers, but none may carry the symbolic importance of Texas’ waiver. The law was the signature education initiative of President George W. Bush, who modeled many of the changes it implemented nationwide on the practices of his home state while he was Texas’ governor.

No Child Left Behind took effect in 2002 with the goal of making all children proficient in math and reading by 2014. The program’s benchmarks have gotten harder to reach each year, and federal education officials suggested that waivers would give states more leeway to improve how they prepare and evaluate students.

Despite being up for renewal since 2007, Congress hasn’t addressed the law, prompting the Obama administration to issue waivers.

Texas has long said it would like the flexibility of a waiver but that it was reluctant to seek one because of fears that the federal government could attach strings to it. Still, Education Commissioner Michael Williams, then settling into his first week on the job, reversed course last September and asked for a waiver.

Williams, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry, said Monday that the waiver will no longer require Texas’ 1,200 public school districts and charters to be designated as having met federal “adequate yearly progress” standards. Federal designations will instead only go to the lowest performing 15 percent of schools statewide, which will become subject to a series of federally mandated interventions.

In 2012, just 44.2 percent of Texas public schools met No Child Left Behind adequate yearly progress standards. The state didn’t release 2013 results because it was seeking the waiver.

Meanwhile, last year the National Education Association ranked Texas 43rd in the nation in spending per student based on daily average attendance.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote to Williams and said the waiver was being granted conditionally, since Texas had yet to finalize its guidelines for teacher and principle evaluations. It will take effect for this school year, though.

Texas has long championed accountability benchmarks for students, teachers, school administrators and districts based on student performance on state-mandated tests. That system helped serve as the basis for the creation of No Child Left Behind.

Last year, Texas began a new testing regimen that required high school students to pass 15 standardized tests in order to graduate. Amid a backlash against perceived over-testing, however, the Legislature in May overhauled the state’s education standards. It slashed the number of passed tests needed to graduate to five and rewrote curriculum standards to leave students more flexibility for vocational and career training rather than strictly college-prep courses.

Williams said he emphasized to federal officials that “Texas was the first state to develop and implement college- and career-readiness curriculum standards, the first state to assess those standards, and is the first state to implement an accountability system to hold schools accountable for preparing students for postsecondary success.”

“The underlying message throughout our negotiations with the federal government,” he said, “has been Texans know what’s best for Texas schools.”

When asked during a subsequent meeting with reporters if Texas is distancing itself from a key Bush administration initiative, Williams responded that it wasn’t.

“Much of what the administration developed in terms of the beginning of (No Child Left Behind) — not necessarily what we’re seeing today — we do in the state. … And we’ll continue to do as a state.”


From a statement released yesterday by his office:

Today U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced his intention to donate his salary to charity for each day Majority Leader Harry Reid forces a government shutdown:

“Harry Reid should not force a government shutdown. I hope that Reid stops refusing to negotiate and works with the House to avoid a government shutdown, and, at the same time, prevent the enormous harms that Obamacare is inflicting on the American people.

“If, however, Harry Reid forces a government shutdown, I intend to donate my salary to charity for each day the government is shut down. Elected leaders should not be treated better than the American people, which is precisely why hardworking Americans deserve the same Obamacare exception that President Obama has already granted Members of Congress.”


Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is campaigning for U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan (R-NJ) today during three stops in the state.  The special election is this month.


Politico reports on a new campaign video from U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in which he imagines a ‘blue Texas.’
The video had over 15,000 views by last night.  Watch it here.


Quorum Report has the new campaign video from Lt. Gov. candidate and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples (R-TX).


Railroad Commission candidate and former State Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Center) released a list ofover 100 conservative endorsements.

2013 / 2014 / 2016:
– DMN’s Todd Gillman reports on the central role of Sen. Cruz and other Texans in the shutdown fight.
– Sen. Cruz now wants a number of individual spending bills to be passed amid a government shutdown.

Other stories of interest:
– A vote to fire Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles failed by a 5-3 vote.
– TT’s Elena Schneider reports that the federal government shutdown is impacting Texas-based federal government employees.
– Record oil shipments at the Port of Victoria in Texas in August.
– AAS reports (behind paywall) that AT&T will soon offer its own high speed internet service in Austin, in response to Google Fiber.

Lighter clicks:
– Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City home is for sale for $1.95 million.
– Solar panels for your house are now for sale at IKEA.  Since it’s IKEA, I’m sure assembly is required.
– The second worst team in MLB history turned a profit.
– One opinion on what Deloss Dodds’ expected retirement as UT Athletic Director means for Mack Brown.
– USC is hiring a new football coach.  Here’s the application.

Your Daily Source of Inspiration:
– RIP James Street.


AP: Feds grant Texas No Child Left Behind waiver (10/1/13 9:02am)

DMN: Texans at center of shutdown drama — especially Ted Cruz (10/1/13 8:59am)

DMN: Vote to fire Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles falls short (10/1/13 8:58am)

CHRON ($): Furloughs in store at Johnson Space Center (10/1/13 8:54am)

CHRON ($): Waiver reduces sanctions for Texas schools (10/1/13 8:53am)

CHRON: Amid shutdown showdown, Gallego introduces bill to suspend Congressional pay (10/1/13 8:53am)

SAEN ($): Shutdown’s impact on S.A. (10/1/13 8:50am)

SAEN ($): Immigrant protesters seek entry into U.S. (10/1/13 8:48am)

SAEN: No Child Left Behind rules waived for Texas (10/1/13 8:44am)

AAS ($): Feds grant education waiver to Texas (10/1/13 1:53am)

AAS ($): AT&T plans its own high-speed Internet service in Austin (10/1/13 1:52am)

BROWNSVILLE HERALD: WGU hopes to grow in Texas (10/1/13 1:47am)

VIDEO: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on Fox News’ “On the Record” (10/1/13 1:45am)

THE HILL: Cruz, Lee urge House GOP to pass mini-stopgap measures funding DoD, DHS (9/30/13 11:51pm)

POLITICO: Texans confused history lesson (9/30/13 11:49pm)

VIDEO: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) appears on CNN’s “The Situation Room” (9/30/13 11:41pm)

VIDEO: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) appears on CNBC’s “Kudlow and Company” (9/30/13 11:38pm)

TT: Federal Government Shutdown to Keep Texas Workers Home (9/30/13 11:31pm)

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Ted Cruz Derangement Syndrome (9/30/13 8:25pm)

UPI: Texas Sen. Davis expected to announce campaign intention this week (9/30/13 11:24pm)

NJ STAR-LEDGER: Lonegan brings Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another potential Christie rival, to New Jersey (9/30/13 8:21pm)

POLITICO: John Cornyn’s doomsday ad: A blue Texas (9/30/13 11:18pm)

POLITICO: Government shutdown update: Ted Cruz pushes ‘narrowly focused’ CRs (9/30/13 9:33pm)

KTBC FOX AUSTIN: Government shutdown showdown (9/30/13 7:04pm)

QUORUM REPORT: Staples unrolls video ad: New leadership for Texas (9/30/13 12:13pm)

TT: Cornyn Imagines a Blue Texas in New Ad (9/30/13 12:12pm)

TT: Report: Electric Deregulation Drives Complaints (9/30/13 12:12pm)

SAN ANGELO STANDARD-TIMES ($): State opens a suggestion box (9/30/13 12:11pm)


BURKA BLOG: Republican Civil War (10/1/13 9:01am)

DMN: Budget showdown points to lack of moderate leaders (10/1/13 9:01am)

DMN: Vintage air museum belongs in Dallas (10/1/13 9am)

FWST ($): Tax-built lanes in Arlington evolve with tolls (10/1/13 8:56am)

FWST ($): Dairy Queen demolition is major step toward redevelopment of Stop Six area (10/1/13 8:55am)

CHRON: Future hopes in oil shale (10/1/13 8:51am)

SAEN: Food fight video provides life lesson (10/1/13 8:47am)

SAEN: Plan levels field for all defendants (10/1/13 8:46am)

AAS ($): Open, thorough investigation needed in Willingham case (910/1/13 1:56am)


WALLACE: DISD’s shifts on school discipline are only a first step (10/1/13 9:02am)

MCKENZIE: Cruz on course to self-destruct (10/1/13 9am)

BROOKS ($): Needy Texans finally get insurance (10/1/13 8:56am)

KING: Pension plan questions raise residency issues (10/1/13 8:52am)

FALKENBERG ($): Victim wonders why kids attacked him (10/1/13 8:52am)

CHASNOFF ($): Bullets, graffiti don’t sop minister from helping children (10/1/13 8:49am)

COL. STUDNIEWSKI: Powerful spiritual allies in defending homeland (10/1/13 8:46am)

FMR. U.S. REP. MACK: Sen. Cruz should be imitated, not vilified (9/30/13 11:50pm)

COHEN: Ted Cruz, master of the media (9/30/13 11:50pm)

KNIGHT: Cruz’s green eggs and the media hambones (9/30/13 9:35pm)

ROGAN: 5 reasons Ted Cruz deserves our respect (9/30/13 9:34pm)

J. WILLIAMS: Cruz does Dems a favor (9/30/13 9:34pm)

CROUCH: Cheap tickets to the Cruz carnival (9/30/13 9:29pm)

RAMSEY: Dan Morales is an Unreliable Narrator With a Story (9/30/13 12:12pm)

BRADDOCK: Cruz is not just losing on tactics (9/30/13 10:57am)

STANFORD: Learning to love Ted Cruz (9/30/13 9:59am)

BLOGS (from the left)

HUFF POST: DREAMers Stage Game-Changing Protest On Texas Border (9/30/13 11:22pm)

BOR: Louisiana Abortion Law Upheld; Disaster for Texas Women? (9/30/13 11:19pm)

MOTHER JONES: Trent Lott on Ted Cruz: “Cut His Legs Out From Under Him” (9/30/13 9:30pm)

BLOGS (from the right)

OFFICE OF SEN. CORNYN: Cornyn: President Obama is Missing in Action (9/30/13 8:41pm)

OFFICE OF SEN. CRUZ: Cruz: I trust House conservatives to continue to listen to the people (9/30/13 11:39pm)

LIFE NEWS: Ted Cruz Provided Shot in the Arm for Pro-Lifers Challening Pro-Abortion Obamacare (9/30/13 11:20pm)

SUSAN COMBS: Texas receives highest across-the-board bond ratings (9/30/13 11:19pm)

CORNYN CAMPAIGN: Keep Texas red (9/30/13 11:17pm)

ROBERT MILLER: A clash of cardinals (9/30/13 12:14pm)

Author: Must Read Texas

Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) & Jason Stanford @MustReadTexas