State Board of Education Considers Streamlining Science Standards

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelFebruary 1, 2017 11:18 am

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

The Texas State Board of Education takes an initial vote today on recommendations to streamline high school science standards. That includes whether to get rid of measures intended to undermine the teaching of evolution.

Emma Dietrich is a Ph.D. student in evolutionary biology at the University of Texas at Austin. She told the board yesterday many of the students she works with struggle with the topic of evolution.

“And they struggle because they graduated from high schools in Texas that base their curriculum on these confusing standards, standards that confound basic scientific concepts with personal agendas,” Dietrich said. 

Supporters of the current standards say they don’t want evolution to get a free pass from evidence that challenges it.

Hundreds of people turned out in Downtown Austin Tuesday for Texas Muslim Capitol Day. It was both an opportunity to celebrate Muslim contributions to the state and to lobby elected officials. This time around, the event happened just a few days after President Trump’s moratorium on immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations.

Aziza Faruqi attended the advocacy day for the first time this year. She told KUT News she wanted to combat misconceptions about Islam.

“To think that a faith, any religion, can condone terrorism, that is very offensive to that faith, and we are showing solidarity here to make them realize that we are all as conscientious citizens of the United States as anyone else,” Faruqi said. 

In addition to members of the Muslim community, about 1,000 others showed up at the capitol to show support for the day of advocacy. They formed a human chain around the gathering to protect participants from any anti-Muslim protestors.

There were a small number of people demonstrating against yesterday’s event, but it was a number of protestors much smaller than two years ago, at the last Muslim Capitol Day.

Ever had a Fletcher’s corny dog at the State Fair of Texas?  For decades, Skip Fletcher helped lead the family operation that served them up to hungry fairgoers. He died Tuesday. Fletcher had been sick with pneumonia. He was 82. KERA’s Eric Aasen takes a look back at his life.

 Skip Fletcher called himself the Corny Dog King. And the corny dog is the king of fried foods at the State Fair of Texas. In 1942, Skip Fletcher’s dad and uncle created the fried food sensation. When they died, Skip carried on the family tradition.

Each fall at the fair, hungry fairgoers devour hundreds of thousands of corny dogs. Famous people have sampled them, including Julia Child, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Oprah Winfrey.

Fletcher was outgoing and cracked lots of jokes at the fair. He wore corny dog bling – like a gold corny dog earring and a corny dog necklace. Fletcher was in charge of quality control – he ate nearly 50 corny dogs during each fair. His doctor once told him to reduce his salt intake. So he tried to only take bites.

Fletcher admitted that was a challenge – he just couldn’t stop eating his beloved corny dog.