This Week in Texas: June 13, 2012

Posted June 13, 2012 in The Mignon Memo

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the electric grid operator for most of Texas, unveiled a new mobile phone app today. The initial version includes current system operating conditions, conservation tips and an overview of ERCOT.  The app will provide “push” notifications straight to Apple and Android devices so during times when ERCOT is experiencing high demand and conservation is critical, users who enable the feature will receive alerts notifying them of the situation. The free ERCOT Energy Saver app can be found by searching for ERCOT in the Apple and Google app stores.

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) results were released last Friday by the Texas Education Agency.  The results show that passing rates on five key end-of-course tests ranged from 87 percent on the biology test to 55 percent on the English I writing test.  Texas is phasing in the passing requirements for STAAR as it did with previous standardized tests.  The number of questions students must answer correctly will increase at intervals until 2016, when the final passing requirements will be in place.  While there is no required course sequence in Texas, most high school freshmen take biology, world geography, Algebra I, and English I.  English I content is assessed using two different tests, one focusing on reading skills and the other on writing skills.  More information on scoring can be found on the Texas Education Agency’s website.

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Robert “Barney” Barnwell III of Magnolia to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board for a term to expire Feb 1, 2013. Barnwell is president of Universal Natural Gas Inc., and president and board chair of Texas Gas Utility Services.  He will serve as the representative of the public on the Board.

Don’t forget to tune in tonight to TNT’s updated version of Dallas, complete with J.R., Bobby, Sue Ellen and, Southfork.  We know we’ll be watching.