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A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES SINCE 1954 IPwr* -41, OBSERVER 1111.0011E VOLUME 102, NO. 16 FOUNDING EDITOR Ronnie Dugger EDITOR Bob Moser MANAGING EDITOR Chris Tomlinson SENIOR EDITORS Dave Mann, Michael May WEB EDITOR Jen Reel INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER Melissa del Bosque STAFF WRITERS Abby Rapoport, Forrest Wilder ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Julia Austin CIRCULATION MANAGER Candace Carpenter OFFICE MANAGER Lorraine Blancarte ART DIRECTION EmDash LLC COPY EDITOR Rusty Todd Confederate Texas 1860 for most Texans, and thousands of them would die in brutal conflict before it started to become one. If,150 years later, Texans still can’t talk about what slavery made of us, then part of our history remains trapped inside that peculiar institu tion.” To me, unless people in the lower south stop using the term “states’ rights” as the reason for the war, they have not owned up to the gravity of what they did 150 years ago. “States’ rights” is a rationalization, not a reason for the waran attempt to make something dishonorable look honorable. Bill Wilson DALLAS BENEATH ALL THE CHIVALRIC REFERENCES TO THE South, we must acknowledge the brutal bloodstained reality of slavery. That was why the war came about. As for the alleged “slave rebels” who were murdered for setting the fires that came to be known as the “Texas Troubles”? Seems to me the very least thing we could do in Dallas would be to name schools or parks after them, as we have Civil War generals throughout the state. Once, years ago, I tried to tell friends that Texas was not a Southern state, but someone quickly interjected: “Texas was a Confederate state.” If you start in East Texas, each town has a monument near the courthouse for the Confederate dead. But eventually, small towns stop having such monuments. It is in those towns where the West begins. Brad O’Brien DALLAS Test-Test JUST TO MAKE SURE MY POSITION IS CLEAR, I HAVE ALWAYS advocated for a testing measure that would allow schools to receive credit for registering progress with underperforming children, and I continue to that the Texas Projection Measure never measures progress, or growth, nor was it designed to. It’s a pre diction method, useful in deciding how much growth is “enough” to make sure a student has a reasonable chance to pass in the future. The Texas Education Agency skipped the part about measuring growth and went straight to the prediction. So the student who makes no progress and fails gets the same TPM score as the student you describe who starts far behind and makes great progress but still fails. Using TPM, the great teacher and the poor teacher are treated equally, based only on where the student lands, without regard to where the student started. We absolutely should measure and report growth. TEA gave us a growth model that doesn’t ever measure growth, while telling us it did. By no measure should that exercise be scored as “passing.” Scott Hochberg STATE REPRESENTATIVE, HOUSTON Perry’s Fuzzy Math WHEN Gov. RICK PERRY RAN FOR GOVERNOR THE FIRST time, he made a campaign promise to serve no more than two terms \(“Knock, Knock, Who’s There?” promise; but what really upset me was during the Republican Primary against U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, when Perry had a TV ad saying the state of Texas has a budget surplus under his leadership. Shorty after Perry won the Republican Primary, it came out that there is no surplus, but a deficit now at $18 billion. Did Perry tell the truth or is that just “fuzzy” math? It’s time for a new governor. I don’t care if you are a Republican, a Democrat, a Tea Partier or a Libertarian; a politician should be truthful and should not mislead the people in any way, form or fashion. Sam Merrell CHAIR, TEXAS RETIRED PUBLIC EMPLOYEE COUNCIL OF AFSCME A Sound Off [email protected] POETRY EDITOR Naomi Shihab Nye INTERNS Laura Burke, John Eller CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Emily DePrang, Lou Dubose, James K. Galbraith, Steven G. Kellman, Joe R. Lansdale, Robert Leleux, James E. McWilliams, Char Miller, Bill Minutaglio, Ruth Pennebaker, Josh Rosenblatt, Kevin Sieff, Brad Tyer, Andrew Wheat CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jana Birchum, Alan Pogue, Matt Wright-Steel CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS Michael Krone, Alex Eben Meyer, Ben Sargent TEXAS DEMOCRACY FOUNDATION BOARD Lisa Blue Baron, Carlton Carl, Melissa Jones, Susan Longley, Jim Marston, Mary Nell Mathis, Gilberto Ocarias, Jesse Oliver, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips, Geronimo Rodriguez, Sharron Rush, Kelly White, Ronnie OUR MISSION We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy. We will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. SEPTEMBER 3, 2010 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 1