Jefferson County’s Historic New Sheriff
Swept to victory amidst a dramatic election year, newly elected Sheriff Zena Stephens has taken the reins of a department of more than 400 people and a budget of $40 million in Southeast Texas, undeterred by a hate incident attacking her campaign office nearly a year ago. Texas Monthly sat down with the first black woman to hold the title of sheriff in the state (and one of only two currently elected in the country) to discuss her career, challenges in police-community relations, and her strategic vision for her new role.
“She’s the Sheriff” (Texas Monthly | January 2017)
(Image Credit: Todd Spoth/Texas Monthly)
New digital TV channel focused on black-centered programming set to launch in Houston
- HTX Digital Channel 43.3 will build a schedule focused on black culture and entertainment.
- Slated programming includes a show called “Soul of the South” and one featuring former Texas Tech basketball coach Chris Walker.
- The new station is set to launch on February 20 and will broadcast to more than 500,000 Houston-area households.
“New Houston TV channel to feature African-American entertainment” (The Houston Chronicle | January 2017)
(Image Credit: Charlie Riedel/Associated Press, via The Houston Chronicle)
Investigation finds Houston ISD intentionally underserved students with disabilities
- Only 7.26% of HISD students are enrolled in special education programs—significantly lower than the national average of 13%—and students of color in particular suffer from under-identification for special education services.
- While HISD officials praise the statistic as an example of the effect of early intervention, an investigation by the Houston Chronicle finds that the low rate was achieved through deliberate discouragement, delay of student evaluation, position elimination, and budget cuts, effectively denying fair education to students in need.
- The decrease in service to students with disabilities came as a result of an arbitrary benchmark (8.5%) for special education enrollment that the Texas Education Agency set unscientifically, but HISD went further to set even lower standards after that goal was met.
“Denied: Houston schools systematically block disabled kids from special ed” (The Houston Chronicle)
“Angry parents in Houston and Dallas turn out at forums, demanding end to special education target” (The Houston Chronicle)
Source: KXAN YouTube
U.S. Feature | Students with Disabilities (Outlas)