Despite His East Dallas Address, Hoops Star Admon Gilder Will Play at Madison This Season

Madison's star shooting guard and Texas A&M commit Admon Gilder.
Dallas ISD has, for the moment at least, put last spring's athletic-recruiting scandal behind it. The 15 coaches and administrators Superintendent Mike Miles fired over the summer have exhausted their appeals. Madison High School's 2012-13 and 2013-14 basketball titles have been vacated. There's a new athletic director and, the district says, a renewed commitment to enforcing state rules ensuring that high school athletes are playing where they're supposed to and not changing schools for athletic purposes.

On Tuesday, the UIL District 11-4A Executive Committee turned its attention to the future, namely figuring out if Madison High School's all-state shooting guard and Texas A&M commit Admon Gilder should be eligible to play at Madison during his senior season. Hang with us -- it's complicated.

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After First Round of Corrections, New Texas Textbooks Still Deny Climate Change

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Despite reports on climate change denialism in social studies textbooks, publishers still refuse to correct the errors.

For the first time since 2002, the Texas State Board of Education is considering the adoption of new social studies textbooks. The books must incorporate 2010 state social studies standards, which have been criticized as right-wing biased and blatantly conservative.

See also: Proposed Texas Social Studies Textbooks Get Climate Change Wrong Too

Yet after the first round of public testimony and state board meetings, some textbook publishers still have not amended implications that climate change does not exist. Several books allude to supposed disagreements within the scientific community about the causes of climate change, and include academic citations from conservative, denialist groups such as the Heartland Institute.

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Will Dallas ISD Ever Rename Its Confederate Schools?

Stonewall Jackson was a solid general, but is his the right name for a DISD school?
On Tuesday morning, right after an African-American principal and an African-American superintendent had finished predicting a great future for East Dallas' Lee Elementary and its new International Baccalaureate program, a woman buttonholed DISD trustee Mike Morath. After a few complimentary words about Morath's efforts on behalf of the campus, she gestured to the art deco "Robert E. Lee" nameplate etched into concrete above the front door. Same with Stonewall Jackson Elementary a mile to the north. Those name, she declared, are a black mark on the district and need to go.

She didn't have to elaborate, though she did say she sometimes imagines that Stonewall's name is a reference birth of the modern gay rights movement. The incongruity of a large urban school district with a stubborn history of racial segregation, a still-yawning achievement gap and a student body that is 95.3 percent non-white having schools honoring Confederate generals, was already clear to Morath. The Confederate names would also seem to be out of keeping with DISD's school-naming policy, which requires a school's eponym to have made a "significant contribution to society" and be a figure who can "lend prestige and status to an institution of learning." Lee and Jackson's fight to perpetuate slavery would seem to disqualify them under those criteria, regardless of their character or other accomplishments.

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How Dallas ISD Is Working to Attract Middle-Class Families to Another East Dallas School

Dallas ISD Trustee Mike Morath is thrilled that Lee Elementary is becoming an IB school. He's also thrilled it now has a rock climbing wall, which he summited minutes later.
The neighborhoods surrounding Dallas ISD's Robert E. Lee Elementary are much like the neighborhoods surrounding nearby Stonewall Jackson and Lakewood Elementary. That is, they are predominately white and upper middle class, with just a touch of East Dallas crunchiness. But while Stonewall and Lakewood bulge with kids from the neighborhood, Lee has largely failed to attract kids from the single-family homes along Lower Greenville that feed into it.

For proof, look at the numbers: Lakewood has 853 students. Seventy-six percent are white, 17 percent economically disadvantaged. Stonewall has 602 kids. Fifty-eight percent are white, 23 percent economically disadvantaged. Lee, by contrast, is basically the reverse. It has just 362 kids, 17 percent of whom are white, 71 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged.

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DISD Focuses on Parents and Young Kids for Two-Generation Strategy to Reduce Poverty

The two-generation system pushes at-home learning, parental education and early childhood education as a method to get families out of the cycle of poverty.
In Dallas ISD, early childhood education has been a major push in the last year. It's a move that administrators believe could one day in the future lower soaring poverty rates in a district where free and reduced lunch rates have steadily creeped toward 90 percent in recent years, and nearly 87 percent of students are classified as economically disadvantaged.

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A Duncanville Teacher Tweeted That "Dumb Duck Ass Crackers" Should Kill Themselves

Vinita Hegwood, a Duncanville High School English teacher, has some strong opinions about white people, especially as it relates to what's happened in Ferguson, Missouri. Friday night, she decided to share some of them.

"Who the fuck made you dumb duck ass crackers think I give a squat fuck about your opinions about my opinions Re: #Ferguson," she Tweeted, ignoring the grammar rules she's no doubt been dutifully teaching her students this fall. Then, her kicker: "Kill yourselves."

The firestorm was immediate. Conservative Twitter spread her tweet far and wide, calling for Hegwood's resignation. Sunday night, Duncanville ISD issued a statement.

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Dallas' Mata Elementary Has a Frighteningly Large Dungeon

It's far too early to render judgment on Superintendent Mike Miles' school-choice initiative. Eventually, he wants to open nearly three dozen specialized campuses that offer an alternative to neighborhood schools but aren't as selective as magnets. Thus far, he's opened just one: Mata Montessori, just south of White Rock Lake.

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To Keep Guns Off Campus, School Cops Count on Students and Social Media

Joe Mabel
Dallas ISD police have not seized any weapons so far this year. But how much of that is due to increasingly angelic students, and how much to kids failing to report when they see a peer with a weapon?

When it comes to reporting weapons in schools, kids are often each others' best watchdogs. In light of the recent Washington high school shooting, and the school shootings in recent years at Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and Columbine, police departments across the country are constantly brainstorming new ways to decrease the likelihood of violent events occurring on school grounds.

Researchers at UT-Dallas compiled specific data concerning how, when and why students report seeing weapons in school. According to the study, 34 percent of students anonymously report seeing a weapon of some sort on campus sometime in the last three months.

"That number was higher than we expected," concedes Dr. Nadine Connell, one of the authors of the study. "But the flip side was on average over 90 percent reported being willing to tell someone about that. They're not ignoring it; they're not taking it on as their own responsibility."

In Dallas ISD, Police Chief Craig Miller says campus security depends on students coming forward when they see a potentially dangerous situation. "What would happen, and it's not unusual, is if social media or a friend told us someone had a weapon, we would discreetly confront or try to ascertain whether that was correct," he says.

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Gender-Neutral Restrooms Open at UNT

Are you male? Female? Both? Neither? Somewhere in between? Use this restroom.

On Friday, UNT officially began making its students' daily bodily activities a little less uncomfortable, with the opening of several gender-neutral restrooms on campus. The move comes as part of the yearlong push by the university to combat campus discrimination. The school has committed $100,000 toward building gender-neutral restrooms. Restrooms already exist in dormitories, but will now expand to public buildings.

"UNT being a state school, this is all an initiative driven by the student body in the last five years," says Oliver Blumer, who is on the board of directors for the Transgender Education Network of Texas.

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Fired DISD Employee Tried to Clean Up the Corrupt Athletics Department and Was Ignored

Troy Causey
Well before Wilmer-Hutchins High School basketball standout Troy Causey was beaten to death by a friend and on-court rival after being improperly recruited from Richardson ISD, it was clear to anyone paying attention that Dallas ISD's athletic department was rotten. Superintendent Mike Miles' subsequent house-cleaning was greeted as a righteous, if belated, step toward reform.

Among the 15 people who were fired, former athletic compliance director Anita Connally is the outlier, as DISD itself has admitted.

"Certainly she wasn't part of the problem. No one is suggesting that. Her job is compliance," Carlos Lopez, an attorney representing DISD during Connally's recent appeals hearing, told The Dallas Morning News. "The question is did she do that properly. Did she do that with the fervor that the administration thinks you need for that [position]? No."

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