Community Voices for a New Superintendent
CVPE is watching HISD's search for a new superintendent closely. Below is an editorial we composed for The Houston Chronicle which expresses the qualities that we believe HISD's next superintendent should possess.
Rebuild Trust, Restore Excellence
In selecting the next HISD superintendent, Houston should seek an experienced educator with a track record of (1) developing excellence and stability at all levels of a school district's leadership and (2) building trust and buy-in among all district constituents, including administrators, teachers, staff, students, parents and the community at large.
After years of expensive contracts with outside "experts" and failed test-and-punish experiments - the statistically invalid EVAAS teacher evaluation measure that's tied to student test scores; excessive and poorly constructed "benchmark" tests that steal precious instructional time; and neglect and closure of neighborhood schools - HISD is a district reeling from sky-high staff turnover rates, from the chief academic officer to principals and teachers. What HISD needs now is a superintendent who knows how to invest in human capital and promote quality teaching and learning.
The proven community schools model has turned around struggling schools in Austin and other cities by engaging teachers, families, businesses and nonprofit partners to provide students with the social services they need to succeed academically. Our next superintendent should have a demonstrated commitment to this kind of approach that values communities and promotes stability in neighborhood schools.
In a regulatory-heavy environment that still rewards drill-and-kill test prep, Houston needs a superintendent who will be loyal to our students' futures and protect real 21st-century learning, cultivating problem-solving, collaboration, innovation and communication in our classrooms.
By renewing HISD's commitment to true excellence, our next superintendent can restore HISD as the district of choice for the region's most committed educators - and, ultimately and urgently, for Houston's families as well.
Anne Sung, member, Community Voices for Public Education