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Should Churches Be Sanctuaries For Charter Schools?

Michael Stravato
Texas Tribune

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Some believe church-housed charter schools blur the line between church and state, boomers store their aging parents' memories, proposed speed limit hikes in DFW and more.

More private Christian schools in Texas are becoming publicly funded charter schools. In fact, 16 of the 23 charter contracts in our state already belong to religious entities. While church school officials describe the financial and community needs they believe warrant a conversion, some groups believe a church can't be a landlord or provide a space without influencing the experience of students. 

“It’s difficult to turn off the faucet of religion once it’s there, whether it’s in the shape of the building or the people who are running it,” Barry Lynn told the Texas Tribune. He's the executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Others like Bracy Wilson, an education consultant who works out of McKinney, see the practicalities of schools leasing space from churches and helps connect the two. (His dad, who once led a church in Oak Cliff, founded Life Schools, which has charter campuses in Dallas, Cedar Hill, Red Oak, and Lancaster.)

  • He Photographed Legendary Musicians. Then He Started A Band: Amarillo native Mark Seliger took a photo of Kurt Cobain staring straight into the camera in 1993. It would appear in black and white on the cover of Rolling Stone a year later after the Nirvana singer/guitarist's suicide. That iconic portrait and more of artists like Bob Dylan gave Seliger a name for sensitive, intense captures. Now, he himself fronts a country-rock band called Rusty Truck. Seliger tells NPR's Rachel Martin how shooting a small-town rodeo in Paducah, Texas, for example, influenced his the group's sound as much as anything.

  • Boomers Echo The Past For Parents Whose Memories Fade: Beth Thompson's mother calls from Dallas, frantic. She's trying to remember the last name of a friend called Barbara, who went to her church - the one she's attended for 65 years. Many Barbaras came and went, course, but Beth still scans her own memory and lists all the ones she knows. Beth thinks: This is the same woman who once dazzled her community by memorizing whole books and performing them on stages; the woman who's husband once rehearsed tack-sharp recounts of the family's personal history with her. Now, he's gone, and it's up to Beth to summon all the information and stories she heard since childhood that don't exist in photos or on the internet. In "The Memory Lady's Daughter Tries To Fill The Gaps," Beth realizes hers is the last generation charged with storing both their parents' pasts and their own. [NY Times]

  • Some DFW Roads Could Get Higher Speed Limits: Officials are proposing speed-limit increases of 5 or 10 miles per hour on a fistful of highway stretches. Among the contenders: Interstate 35E and U.S. 67 south of I-20 ​and Interstate 45 south of Interstate 20. Dallas News maps the possible changes.

  • The 'Beef' On Who's Buried Next To Oswald: Turns out the stone labeled "Nick Beef" that sits next to Lee Harvey Oswald's grave  belongs to artist/writer and Fort Worth native Patric Abedin, who's very much alive and well in New York.Unfair Park has the story via the NY Times.

Lyndsay Knecht is assistant producer for Think.