The Week in the Rearview Mirror

The ink has dried on House Bill 5, which sharply reduces the number of high-stakes tests in Texas high schools. But the legislation ignored a battery of so-called benchmark tests that students take before they ever reach high school. Meanwhile, high school students won't have to retake standardized exams they failed in the six subjects that newly signed House Bill 5 eliminates from the state's testing requirements, the Texas Education Agency announced.

A complaint being filed with the U.S. Department of Justice seeks to declare that a Dallas County court’s process of prosecuting truancy as a crime is unconstitutional. But officials in the county say the initiative has been a model of success.

As the Texas Department of Criminal Justice adjusts to both a tighter budget and a smaller prison population, it has decided to end operations at two privately run Texas prison facilities — the Dawson State Jail in Dallas and the Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility — at the end of the summer.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency — FEMA — is refusing to send more money to West to help with damage from the fertilizer plant explosion there, saying the explosion fell short of the “severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration.” Millions in aid has already been sent, and now state officials are weighing in to say the federal government should do more. 

A second University of Texas System regent has lashed out at fellow Regent Wallace Hall, following Hall's latest request for information from the University of Texas at Austin. In an email to Gene Powell, the chairman of the UT System board, Regent Bobby Stilwell wrote that he endorsed the views expressed earlier in the day by Regent Steve Hicks, who called Hall's actions of late "an abuse of power."