Texas Standard For December 29, 2020

As Texans anticipate the start of the New Year, many public school officials fear what the stroke of midnight might mean for them. A “hold harmless” guarantee for Texas public schools is expected to expire on December 31. For districts facing a drop off in attendance, will there be enough money to maintain operations? And: Racial disparities in the pandemic spark a rethink of who’s most at risk to COVID-19. Also: We’ll look at concerns about social isolation and seasonal affective disorder. Plus: With the launch of a U.S. space force, plans to find a home for the U.S. Space Command. Could it be landing in Texas? Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardDecember 29, 2020 9:30 am

Here’s what’s coming up on Texas Standard for Tuesday, December 29, 2020. Listen on your Texas public radio station, or ask your smart speaker to play Texas Standard. We’ll have full posts for each story, including audio, a little later today.

Texas Public School Fiscal Cliff

Without state intervention, Texas school districts that lost enrollment during the COVID-19 pandemic are facing a drop in state funds starting in January. Houston Chronicle education reporter Shelby Webb talks to the Standard.

People of Color Dying in the Prime of Their Lives

Many more Black and Latino Texans are dying from COVID-19 in the prime of their lives when compared to working age whites. New statistics from The Dallas Morning News show COVID-19 is killing more than four times as many working-age Latinos and more than twice as many Blacks in Texas compared to Whites. Dallas Morning News reporter Anna Kuchment talks to the Standard. 

Laredo Trade

U.S. trade with Mexico hit a snag this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. But Laredo, a top port for trade with Mexico, bounced back and has even seen growth in recent months. Texas Public Radio’s Maria Mendez has more.

Apple Car Talks

Is Apple planning to get into the electric car business – again? Rumors have swirled for years around what’s known inside the iPhone company as “Project Titan.” But recent rumors have surfaced anew, jolted into high gear by a tweet from Tesla founder Elon Musk, who said he had once tried – and failed – to sell Tesla to Apple. Tech expert Omar Gallaga has been checking out the Apple Car rumor mill and he talks to the Standard.

Space Force and San Antonio

U.S. defense officials are looking for the right place for the Space Force to touch down. Last month, six finalists were named as potential homes for US Space Command headquarters, including bases in Colorado, Alabama, Nebraska, New Mexico, Florida and Texas — specifically San Antonio. Military City, USA seems like a fitting spot for the nation’s newest military command. But does it have what officials are looking for? Joining us now to tell us more is Sandra Erwin, she’s a staff writer for Space News – Military.

The Sounds of Texas:  Elisa O’Callaghan on CALM Dolls for Immigrant Kids

Seasonal Depression

Seasonal affective disorder could be a larger problem this winter after months of social isolation. KERA’s Syeda Hasan has more.

Prison Transfers

As jurisdictions around the country enacted stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of COVID-19, many prisons across the U.S. were still actively transferring prisoners between facilities. As the Marshal Project reports, families are pointing to these transfers as reasons entire prison blocks have been infected, endangering everyone inside, prisoners and civilians alike. Cary Aspinwall has been writing about this for the nonproft Marshall Project, which reports on criminal justice issues.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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