News Roundup: Lawmakers, Educators And Even Kids Sound Off On House Education Plan

Our daily look at headlines from around the state.

By Becky FogelMarch 13, 2019 12:30 pm

A hearing on the school finance proposal from the Texas House stretched late into last night.

Members of the House Public Education Committee heard nearly 12 hours of testimony on HB 3, a $9 billion plan that would restructure public school funding in Texas. Teachers, administrators, and education advocates provided feedback on the nearly 200-page legislation.

One student who testified was 7-year-old Chloe Morrison of Round Rock, just outside of Austin, Texas. Chloe told lawmakers she wants them to keep funding for students in gifted and talented programs – something the bill currently wipes out.

“I would be very sad if you took away the money,” she said, “and I really hope that you all don’t.”

After reading her prepared remarks, House members needed Chloe to officially state whether she supported HB 3 – at which point, she asked “Um, what’s House Bill 3?”

It turned out that, despite her criticism, Chloe was indeed in favor of the bill.

A Texas Senator is proposing a dramatic fix to ongoing problems at the state-run youth lock-ups for juvenile offenders – problems that include gang activity, drug use, and sexual abuse at the hands of guards.

State Sen. John Whitmire, chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, came out swinging at a Tuesday hearing. The Houston Democrat wants to transfer all 834 young people held at five facilities to a vacant adult prison.

“You have a thousand-bed state jail in Bartley,” Sen. Whitmire said. “Dormitory with 40 individual cells which I understand you can double up. It’s ready to go, we didn’t turn the lights off.”

But Whitmire faced pushback from Camille Cain, who heads the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. She cited “concerns around safety, about putting that many kids in one facility with the inability to be able to move them when they present problems.”

In turn, Whitmire criticized Cain for not requesting more funds for employee compensation, citing high turnover rates and low salaries for those staffing youth lock-ups. 40 percent of new hires quit within the first six months.

Your brain has to work hard to try and let go of a bad experience. That’s according to a new report from the University of Texas at Austin.

Syeda Hasan with KERA News in Dallas says that you might think the best way to forget something negative is to push it out of your mind – but this report suggests just the opposite.

Instead, researchers found that people can actually control what they forget. Participants were shown a series of pictures and asked to forget certain ones. They were able to – but they had to pay a little more attention to those images before they could forget them. Researchers say there’s a “sweet spot” of mental effort that can help people forget.

The study also found it takes more effort to intentionally forget something than to remember it.