TWU's On-Campus Housing Is So Overcrowded Students Have to Live at Holiday Inn

Emily Mathis
Ever wish you had maid service for your freshman dorm? Yeah, these kids might actually get that.
This year marks the third year in a row that Texas Woman's University in Denton will contract with a local Holiday Inn to provide housing for students. More than 100 students will be assigned to the off campus hotel that has been haphazardly labeled as campus housing.

"Students who have not completed 60 credit hours are required to live on campus," says TWU spokesperson Amanda Simpson. "So that's considered most freshman and sophomores. So basically there are more students than beds. Some students are in triple rooms. There are approximately 164 students that have been assigned to overflow housing, 114 of which are assigned to the Holiday Inn."

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How Dallas' Schools Are Preparing for the Surge of Kids from Central America

Ken Hammond
School districts across the state are scrambling to accommodate an expected 25,000 additional students this school year, many of whom arrived unaccompanied from Central America.
Exactly one year ago, Dallas ISD's Student Intake Center began taking responsibility for every immigrant student coming into the district. The Center focuses on processing the kids who have never attended American schools before, by checking immunization records and other documents, and evaluating their level of education. The Center is accommodating a quickly growing number of kids entering the school district.

"In the 2013 to 2014 school year, by around April we were serving about 639 kids at the Center," says DISD spokesman André Riley, who was careful to point out that the Center did not distinguish which kids were unaccompanied minors, only noting which students were new to the United States. "In 2012 to 2013, there were 433 kids. 2011 to 2012, 253 kids. So it's been going up."

It's a common theme in school districts across the state.

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Parents Claim HEB School Officials Railroaded Special-Needs Kid So They Could Expel Him

Smartphones in schools have hidden dangers, like getting in trouble for photographing your buddy on the toilet.
From the sound of it, at least as his parents tell it, Charles and Kristie Cripps' son was a pretty normal kid. He had some behavioral issues, largely stemming from ADHD, like insulting his classmates' penis sizes and careening around his school in the manner typical of adolescent boys.

Because of these issues, the Cripps' son was provided special education services, including a service called "social skills training," intended to teach him the differences between acceptable and unacceptable social behaviors. But the training didn't take, the boy's parents say, and their son's behavior continued to deteriorate. Tensions grew between the boy's school, his special education advocate and his mother to the point that, according a federal lawsuit filed by the Cripps against the Hurst Euless Bedford Independent School District, school officials conspired to catch him in behavior that would lead to a felony charge -- and allow his expulsion from the district.

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Libros Libres Combats Inadvertent Economic Segregation of National Little Free Libraries

John Phelan
A very pretty, very expensive Little Free Library. Great idea, limited audience.

The Little Free Library project has established a national reputation for encouraging local literacy among kids. The Wisconsin-based group was founded in 2009 and encourages neighborhoods to set up small boxes of books for kids to read and return. The idea of the Little Free Library project is that people could set a cardboard box full of books in their front yards at no cost to themselves. It's an entirely community run effort and it relies on the honor system, telling borrowers to "take a book, leave a book."

Yet in poorer neighborhoods where kids often struggle to find books in the home, residents are less likely to slap a box of books in their front yard (and they're even less likelier to actually purchase one of the Little Free Library custom made book containers, which can run upward of $1,000).

In classic, albeit inadvertent, economic segregation, most of the Little Free Libraries in Dallas consequently ended up in more affluent suburb areas -- where they were much less needed. It's something Dallas hoped to combat this summer by launching its own Little Free Library chapter, Libros Libres.

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University of Dallas Has the "Least Beautiful" Campus in the Country, Princeton Review Says

No. 1 at something!

The Princeton Review on Monday released its annual package of mostly arbitrary lists about colleges that are fun to talk about but don't really mean anything. The rankings feature categories such as "Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians," "Stone-Cold-Sober Schools" and "Is It Food."

So, when local schools show up on the lists, it's probably best not to take things too seriously. That being said, they did pop up quite a few times, in some pretty interesting spots.

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Prime Prep Is Going Down Fighting

Deion Sanders Drops By.JPG
Anna Merlan
Earlier this month, as reported by Unfair Park and practically every other outlet in town, the Texas Education Agency began the process of revoking Prime Prep's charter. The reasons for the potential revocation are convoluted, the upshot isn't. Should its charter be revoked, the school would have to stop enrolling students.

See also: Texas Has Revoked the Charter of Prime Prep, the Public School Founded by Deion Sanders

Sanders and company had until July 30 to appeal the decision. Yesterday, their Austin law firm did so:

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In Dallas and Across Texas, Teachers Keep Leaving Jobs as Fast as They Take Them

U.S. Census Bureau
This young teacher has a 50/50 chance of switching careers after a few years in a Texas classroom.
Last month, Dallas Independent School District held its annual job fair to fill roughly 2,000 open positions for the 2014-2015 school year. The fair at Conrad High School was stuffed to the brim with eager college graduates, jaded career changers and Dallas newcomers. By mid-morning nearly half the positions had been filled.

But DISD human resources exec Carmen Darville said at the time that although the district expected to fill the 2,000 spots, there would likely be another wave of openings later in the summer as teachers continued leaving their posts.

Dallas' teacher turnover rate is high, but not unusually so -- not for Texas, anyway. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board reports that Texas will likely fall short of its new teacher certification goal next year, and that as many as half of new teachers will leave the profession within five years.

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Twelve Reasons Deion's Prime Prep Deserves the State's Scrutiny Besides its Lunch Program

Patric Michels
Deion Sanders meets with parents at an open house before Prime Prep opened in 2012.
The Texas Education Agency is still investigating the Deion Sanders-founded and publicly funded Prime Prep charter school, after officials announced plans to revoke the school's charter for mishandling funds intended for the school lunch program. Prime Prep is appealing and hopes to stay open. But school lunch funds are just one small flame in the uncontainable tire fire that is Prime Prep.

Here are some more compelling reasons to shut down the school, or at least ask some tough questions:

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It Really Sucks to Be a Kid In Texas

Dallas County kids are some of the poorest in the country, but recent grassroots programs are helping to improve those numbers.
And we're not just talking about the unaccompanied Central American variety. A new report by the Center for Public Policy Priorities zeroes in on a national study ranking child well-being. Several factors come into play, including health care, education, parental employment, and standard of living.

See also:
- It Really Sucks to Be Old In Texas
- It Really Sucks to Be Mentally Ill In Texas

Texas ranks 43rd in overall child well-being, with roughly a quarter of Texas children live below the poverty line. Specifically, Texas ranks 47th in the Family and Community category, with 19 percent of kids living in high-poverty neighborhoods.

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Why Prime Prep Closing Would Be Good News for its Remaining Star Athletes

Amy Silverstein
Who wouldn't trust this face?
Whether Prime Prep manages to stay open or not doesn't matter to Emmanuel Mudiay. The kid who would have been king, the explosive, rangy point guard, is not going to SMU, whether he would have been eligible to play for the Mustangs or not. Athletic apparel company Under Armour -- which sponsors both Prime Prep and Mo Williams Elite, Mudiay's AAU summer team -- is working behind the scenes to secure his first pro contract, a move that removes any doubt as to his amateur status.

Whether Mudiay is bypassing Moody Madness because he had fears about his potential academic eligibility, because, as he and his family have said, he wants to help his mother financially or, in the most likely scenario, because of some combination of the two, his high school alma mater's closing isn't going to have any further effect on his basketball future.

The same can't be said for Mudiay's star teammate, Terrance Ferguson.

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