Posted on 03 October 2010.
Background: In the state of Texas, students enrolled in high school need at least one fine arts credit to graduate. The recent passage of HB 3, which changed Texas graduation requirements, has reopened questions as to what courses should be required of students. Students often lament a lack of flexibility in their schedules. Eliminating fine arts requirements for graduation allows students to focus on their interests rather than simply fulfilling a mandate. Furthermore, it stresses independent student decision-making. However, many students will likely remain ignorant of the fine arts if there is no mandate in place.
- Less graduation requirements provide students more flexibility to focus on specific electives.
- Less graduation requirements encourage independent decision-making.
- Fine arts courses have already expanded with the passage of HB 3.
- A mandate for fine arts education ensures students gain exposure to subjects that might otherwise be neglected.
- Fine arts education teaches students skills not found in standard academic courses.
- Without the mandate, funding for many fine arts programs in high schools will likely be cut.
Janet Elliott. “Senate Rejects Fine Art Requirement.” Houston Chronicle: April 29, 2009. <http://blogs.chron.com/texaspolitics/archives/2009/04/senate_rejects.html>
Patricia Tydings. “Unexpected Changes to Graduation Requirements Affect Texas Students and Teachers.” Examiner.com: August 28, 2009.
Posted in Domestic Affairs, Education
Posted on 03 October 2010.
Background: In January 2002, Governor Rick Perry of Texas laid out plans for a Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) in a letter to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The original version of this project would have created over 4,000 miles of new highways and rails to link the entire state of Texas. The goal of this effort is to decrease congestion while increasing trade through the state, providing an economic boon. However, critics assail the possible use of eminent domain to acquire land for the project. In addition, some worry about the negative impact the TTC could have on the environment. Today, the name “Trans-Texas Corridor” has been dropped, but the project remains intact.
- Improved transportation systems could increase trade between Mexico, Canada, and the United States and provide economic growth.
- Current transportation routes are often congested, particularly in metropolitan areas.
- Thanks to ongoing research, the TTC could likely be built with minmal environmental impact.
- Property rights could be threatened by use of eminent domain to acquire land for the transportation system
- Some routes of the TTC could undermine environmental integrity in wetlands and prairies of Texas.
- The TTC would require the use of toll roads under control of private companies to finance much of its construction.
Cathy Booth and Thomas Hutto. “The Next Wave in Superhighways, or A Big, Fat Texas Boondoggle?” TIME: November 28, 2004. <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101041206-832224,00.html>
Texas Department of Transporation. “Texas Corridors.” TxDOT: 2009.
Michael A. Lindenberg. “Trans Texas Corridor is Dead, Tx DOT says.” The Dallas Morning News: January 6, 2009.
Posted in Domestic Affairs