News Roundup: Per-Child Spending On Texas’ Early Childhood Intervention Program Is Down 15 Percent

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelNovember 28, 2018 1:28 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas is spending a lot less money these days on its Early Childhood Intervention Program. The state-funded program serves children under three years of age who have disabilities and developmental delays.

A new study from the advocacy group Texans Care for Children shows that in 2012, the state legislature provided $484-per child enrolled in the program. By this year, that figure was $412, a 15 percent drop in funding.

Stephanie Rubin, the group’s CEO, says these funding cuts have left providers in the program in a bind.

“Programs are trying to serve kids – many of whom have severe disabilities – with less money,” Rubin says. “And it’s really a troubling picture for families with little kids with disabilities who need the services to communicate, to walk, to get ready for school – all the things we really want them to do.”

Rubin says lawmakers should increase spending on the program in the coming legislative session starting January 8.

Rice University has launched an investigation into one of its professors who allegedly helped create genetically-modified babies in China.

As Houston Public Media’s Laurie Johnson reports, Rice officials say they had no knowledge of the work performed by Professor Michael Deem.

On Sunday, the Associated Press quoted Rice bioengineering professor Michael Deem as saying he helped with the research in China that led to genetically modified twin girls being born.

Deem also served as an academic advisor to the Chinese scientist, He Jiankui, when He was a graduate student at Rice. Deem also holds a “small stake” in He’s two companies.

In a statement, Rice University said the work described in the AP report violates scientific conduct guidelines and is inconsistent with the ethical norms of Rice and of the scientific community. The school is investigating Deem’s involvement.

Our world is marked by a number of storied rivalries that have stood the test of time… and driven the discourse.

Coke vs. Pepsi.

The Boston Celtics vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.

…And an original American beef that inspired a hit Broadway musical, Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton.

Now, a Texas House member wants to make sure the rivalry between the state’s two flagship universities is enshrined in law.

State Rep. Lyle Larson has filed a bill ahead of the 2019 legislative session that would require the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University to play a nonconference, regular season football game each year. The San Antonio Republican happens to be an Aggie himself.

The annual grudge match ground to a halt when A&M left the Big 12 and moved to the Southeastern Conference. The last time the teams faced-off was 2011.

Larson said in a statement, “We owe it to Texans to do all we are able to bring back this storied rivalry.”