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Texas' Low Special-Ed Rate Raises Questions

Seth Sawyers
Flickr Creative Commons

Teachers and parents say they don't know why Texas' public schools have the lowest percentage of special education students of any state in the country.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas listed 8.8 percent of students as having special needs last year. That's down from 12 percent in 2000. Houston reported 7.9 percent, and Dallas reported 7.7 percent..

The national figure has remained around 13 percent.

Jack Fletcher, a University of Houston professor on the executive committee of the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities, calls the trend encouraging and says state and federal reading programs are working..

But Houston special needs advocate Louis Geigerman accuses schools of doing "an atrocious job" teaching children to read. Some question whether students who might need help aren't getting it.


Texas trucker's arrest re-enacted in Mexico

An attorney for a Dallas trucker whose rig was filled with ammunition when he crossed the Mexican border says a re-enactment confirms his client simply made a wrong turn.

A Mexican court authorized Thursday's re-enactment of when Jabin Bogan tried to make a U-turn at a border-crossing bridge in Ciudad Juarez. Bogan has been jailed since the April 17 incident, when authorities found 268,000 bullets in his 18-wheeler.

During the re-enactment, a forensic expert showed how Bogan blocked traffic while trying to make what he called an "impossible" U-turn back into the U.S.

Mexican customs officials testified Bogan was trying to turn around and, when asked, showed paperwork indicating the ammunition was for a wholesaler in Arizona.

Prosecutors allege Bogan concealed the cargo and charged him with smuggling military ammunition.


Texas mom accused of placing camera in locker room

A North Texas middle school principal is accused of placing a hidden video camera in a locker room during her daughter's high school basketball game to see if the coach yelled too much.

Wendee Long was indicted by a Denton County grand jury last week on two felony charges: improper photography and wiretapping. Long turned herself in this week, and jail records show she was released after posting $25,000 bail.

Her attorney, Daniel Peugh, says his client has not violated any law and will be cleared of wrongdoing.

Authorities received the tape after Argyle High School's game in Sanger in February. They say information also implicated Long's 17-year-old daughter, who was not indicted.

Long is principal of a Fort Worth-area middle school and has been placed on leave.

Battleship Texas to likely reopen this weekend

An official says the 100-year-old Battleship Texas, which had been closed after several leaks flooded the vessel, will likely reopen this weekend.

The Houston Chronicle reports that ship manager Andy Smith says the vessel, which fought in World Wars I and II, will probably open again on Saturday.

The ship has been plagued by a succession of leaks since early June.

The newspaper reported Thursday that officials had planned to reopen the museum on the Fourth of July but two new leaks scrapped that plan. Those new leaks were patched but on Wednesday water was detected coming into one of the so-called "blister" tanks on the ship's outer edge.

Smith says workers' top priority will be locating the source of the incoming water.