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Obama To Honor Texas Teacher Who's National Teacher Of The Year

Africa Studio

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A teacher from Amarillo has been honored as Teacher of the Year; Dallas-Fort Worth has some of the country's worst ozone pollution; Gov. Abbott orders the Texas Guard to monitor a U.S. military exercise; and more.

A high school English teacher from Amarillo is being honored as America's Teacher of the Year at the White House. Shanna Peeples is known for helping guide refugees who have been moving to Amarillo from war-torn countries. Peeples of Palo Duro High School is the first Texas teacher in nearly 60 years to be named National Teacher of the Year. She says growing up around domestic violence helps her connect with students who are refugees from war-torn countries and are traumatized by what they've seen. She came to teaching after working as a disc jockey, medical assistant, pet sitter and journalist. Peeples teaches AP English and serves as the English department chair and is an instructional coach for other teachers. President Barack Obama says all kids deserve a good teacher and a local library full of books to help them dream big. [Associated Press]

  • Dallas-Fort Worth has some of the country’s worst ozone pollution. KERA’s Lauren Silverman reports: “Texas cities again ranked among the most polluted in the nation in the American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2015” report released today. The report focused on ozone, also known as smog, and particle pollution. High ozone levels exacerbate conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease.” Read more here.

  • Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas Guard to monitor a U.S. military exercise. KUT, the NPR station in Austin, reports: “The move comes amid suspicions from some residents (and the Internet) about the motivations behind the training. The exercises, designated Operation Jade Helm 15, will involve more than 1,200 soldiers, Marines and others between July 15 and September 15. The military says the exercise is intended to train personnel on acclimating to unfamiliar terrain and climates. … Abbott says monitoring the exercises will let the state stay informed about training schedules and help facilitate communications with local law enforcement and citizens.” Read more here.

  • The controversial Texas voter ID law took center stage Tuesday in federal appeals court. The law requires voters to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. The state says it’s trying to prevent voter fraud. But the U.S. Justice Department says the law is unconstitutional -- and a burden on minority voters. Last fall, a federal judge struck down the law – and the state of Texas appealed that ruling. The Texas Tribune reports: “A federal appellate judge on Tuesday questioned why the Texas Legislature had not addressed concerns that its four-year-old voter ID law discriminated against minority voters.” Read more here. [Texas Tribune]

  • The Dallas school board will have to meet Friday to discuss the future of the superintendent. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports: “A Dallas County judge has ordered Dallas school board president Miguel Solis and the Dallas ISD to schedule a meeting on Friday on the future of Superintendent Mike Miles.” Three trustees sued Solis and the district on Monday. A court hearing was held Tuesday. The trustees wanted the board to meet about Miles before the May 9 board election; Solis had scheduled a meeting following the election. Read more here.

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Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.