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City Council Approves Divisive Charter School In South Dallas

Bill Zeeble
File photo: Spring Branch ISD's Landrum Middle School and KIPP charter kids taking gym class together. Traditional versus charter schools has become a major debate in finalizing the approval of Uplift.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: longtime Dallas conductor will head to New York; a Dallas dad was found not guilty for taking away his 12-year-old's phone; DeLoreans are back; and more. 


By a 7-6 vote on Wednesday, council members allowed Uplift, a local charter network, to build a school for 1,800 students near Interstate 35E and Camp Wisdom Road, KERA News reported. The new K-12 education school will allow students from an existing elementary school to continue at Uplift past fifth grade.


The initial proposal for the school “went from routine to controversial" after Dallas ISD Trustee Joyce Foreman rallied neighborhood and school district opposition to the growing number of charter schools in southern Dallas. Opponents argued the schools are taking too many students and resources from DISD,” The Dallas Morning News reported.


Opponents of Uplift believe, along with usurping resources from DISD, charter schools are taking over their neighborhoods, creating a general nuisance. Those in favor say their kids are excited to learn and are better supported on the journey to college, KERA News reported.

Read the DMN’s analysis on the North Texas charter school boom and hear the KERA News radio story. [Dallas Morning News]

  • Jaap van Zweden is leaving the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for New York. He will end his 10-year run at the DSO with the 2017-2018 season. Art&Seek reported: “He’ll be returning to where he first set foot in America — as a 16-year-old music student from Amsterdam, Jaap van Zweden studied violin at Juilliard.” Van Zweden will begin his tenure as music conductor for the New York Philharmonic with the 2018-2019 season. At the same time, van Zweden will gain the title of Conductor Laureate of the DSO through the 2020-21 season, “ensuring a robust conducting presence with us,” the symphony said in a press release. Read Art&Seek's 2008 profile on van Zweden. [Art&Seek]


“I’m not the type of guy who, when I kiss my wife, I look if there is something better around. So it’s not that I started something in Dallas and I was hoping for this. But I can tell you – that it is a fantastic opportunity for me.”

  • A Dallas dad was found not guilty for taking away his 12-year-old daughter’s phone. WFFA reported: “[Ronald] Jackson said he took his 12-year-old daughter’s cell phone as punishment after finding inappropriate texts in September 2013. A few hours later, officers from the Grand Prairie Police Department showed up at his front door, asking for the iPhone 4 back.” Michelle Steppe, the girl’s mother, was the one who called the police. Steppe said you can’t take someone’s property even if you’re a parent. Read more. [WFAA]
  • A national study determined Texas has the lowest education standards in the country.Education Next gave the state a D+ rating, based on the percentage of students passing standardized tests as well as the state results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. But the rating is questionable. The Dallas Morning News reported: “But only two years ago, the U.S. Department of Education put out its comparison of state standards and NAEP. In that report, Texas had the highest or nearly highest standards in the country on each of the same exams.” Which passing standards are best to compare Texas among other states? Read more. [Dallas Morning News]
  • New DeLoreans will hit the streets for the first time in 30 years. DeLorean Motors in Humble, Texas has been renovating old DeLoreans for years, NBCDFW reported, but “a recent change in federal law” allows the facility to start producing new models again, “with authentic parts that have been warehoused all these years.” According to NBCDFW, production ceased three decades ago because founder John DeLorean was arrested on drug charges and the company went bankrupt. Although, you could go bankrupt, too, just buying a new model — costing a bit shy of $100,000. [NBCDFW]

Here’s the DeLorean in all its mid-1980s glory: