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State Education Board to Seek GED Alternatives

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/07/15/state-education-board-seek-ged-alternatives/ State Education Board to Seek GED Alternatives by Sophia Bollag July 15, 2015 Texas residents seeking to earn high school equivalency certificates may soon have less expensive, more flexible testing options. The State Board of Education voted Wednesday to seek alternatives to the computer-based General Educational Development exam — possibly including paper-based tests. The 14-0 vote came a day after the board heard more than three hours of testimony from test-takers, teachers and education advocates who said the only high school equivalency test the state recognizes is too expensive and too difficult. That test was revamped in 2014 after the nonprofit that previously administered the test partnered with the London-based for-profit testing company Pearson. The new exam is available only in a more expensive, computer-based format critics say discriminates against low-income residents. The new test is also too difficult for a high school equivalency exam and more resembles a college entrance exam, critics told the board Tuesday. The tests should be “equivalent to a high school diploma at the most basic level,” SBOE vice chairman Thomas Ratliff said Wednesday when outlining what the board should look for when considering alternative exams. Potential alternative exams could be less expensive than the $135 GED test, a cost many told the board was too high. Alternative exams might also be available in a paper-based format, another option requested during Tuesday’s meeting. The state plans to start soliciting proposals from alternative testing vendors starting in October. The board could consider alternatives to the GED as early as January...

Therapy Dog Volunteer at The Samaritan Inn

http://ireader.olivesoftware.com/Olive/iReader/DMN/SharedArticle.ashx?document=DMN%5C2015%5C09%5C12&article=Ar02803 Therapy dog that befriended seniors, kids dies Golden retriever comforted homeless at Samaritan Inn By EVA-MARIE AYALA Staff Writer eayala@dallasnews.com true   McKINNEY — When Faith was rescued nearly five years ago, the golden retriever was 30 pounds overweight, and a simple walk down the street would make her paws bleed. But Faith’s life was about second chances. Her new family put her on a health program to get her trim and bought her special shoes to ease the pain when she exercised. Finally fit, she began volunteering to help others in need as a therapy dog. Faith offered comfort to seniors going through illnesses and patience to homeless children learning to read. But her own health suddenly took a turn last month, and she died Aug. 17. She was 11 years old. “The children especially connected with Faith,” said her owner, Pam Hatch. “They kind of saw themselves in her. She was a rescue dog without a home for a while, but look at what she was able to do with her second life.” Faith was originally from a family who loved her but had trouble caring for her as they were expecting a baby. The Dallas Fort Worth Metro Golden Retriever Rescue found her a new home with Hatch in January 2011. While working with the group, Hatch learned about therapy dogs and had Faith certified by the end of their first year together. The dog had learned how to remain calm amid chaotic environments, how to interact with patients in hospitals and how to simply listen to those needing a friendly ear. Faith’s volunteer career...