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In this newsletter: HISD Board Meeting on Thursday and how to boycott STAAR

HISD Supe Miles has forced children as young as seven to take four tests every day all year long. It is the height of hubris to pretend otherwise. 

But that is exactly what Miles did when he admonished teachers to “avoid STAAR prep." After all, he is the grand patriarch of endless test prep. He continues to foist lies on the public to hide the harm he's causing kids.

Find out how to boycott the STAAR at houstonCVPE.org/opt_out.  If you are planning on boycotting STAAR, fill out this form to stay informed.

Can you speak at the board meeting on Thursdayeither in person or by Zoom? You can sign up anytime until Wednesday at noon.

Speakers to agenda items start at 5 pm on Thursday and you speak in order of your arrival to the meeting. The hearing of community is later at 7 pm. Instructions are here. For help signing up, join CVPE at 8 pm tonight. RSVP for Zoom link at houstoncvpe.org/events.  

The agenda packet is here. Even if you sign up for multiple agenda items, your maximum time to speak is 1 minute when there are 30 or more speakers.

Here are a couple of agenda items. 

  • Item 2: Sp Ed Initial ARD Meetings -Students with disabilities deserve more than basic compliance to a timeline and this administration is acting too self-congratulatory. The more important issue is ensuring that children with disabilities have the supports they need to be successful. If you have a child with a disability, share your story about what’s working and not working at your child’s school. 
  • Item 3: Acceptance Of Board Monitoring Update: Presentation Of Goal 3 - Lone Star Governance, which is the governance model HISD was forced to adopt by TEA, fails the logic test. This would be a good place to talk about how high-stakes testing is being used to narrow the curriculum, shame children, and take over school districts.
  • Item 4: Budget -Money is constantly being shifted around. It is like three-card Monte; you can’t make sense of it. This seems purposeful. There have been no community meetings about the budget and no preliminary budget presented to the public. This is as “under cover of darkness” as it gets. What is missing are the checks and balances that come from an elected board accountable to taxpayers.
  • Item 7: Confucius Institutes: Why is Miles establishing a Confucius Institute agreement? “In 2018, Congress restricted federal funding to colleges/schools with institutes. Here is the GAO report. Has this item been properly vetted?
  • Items 8 & 9: After forceful parent pushback last week, these agenda items will keep Wharton and Helms as full immersion schools after forceful parent pushback last week. Congratulations to all who spoke. Read more here. If only HISD would ensure other schools with 80-20 programs like Herrera across the freeway, were also supported.
  • Item 12: Termination of Employment (Resignations)- This is a place to discuss terminations and resignations. At 2 pm on Thursday, HISD will recommend teacher terminations for made-up reasons. Why are good teachers being fired for missing days to care for terminally ill family members or for dimming the lights, etc? This month HISD appears to be targeting veteran teachers. What mother wakes up in the morning and says, I hope my child returns to a school full of strangers next year? 
  • Item 15: Student Welfare: Freedom from Bullying-second reading. Speak here to stand up for children who are bullied by this school district’s policies. Ask the board to honor a true anti-bullying program. It starts at the top.
  • Item 19: Board Self-Evaluations - It is a little ironic that there is no real information, just templates for this agenda item. Would you like to play the game “how do you score a board that almost exclusively rubberstamps the decisions of a state takeover appointed superintendent?"
  • Item 21: Approval of vendor awards over $1M (p 99): This is a tracking system managed by a Good Reason Houston board member for a price tag of $2.5 million. It will track non instructional support at programs like the Sunrise Centers. Given the number of Good Reason Houston staffers now working in HISD, this contract smells like fish. With only 600 students using the Sunrise Centers so far this year with 150,000 families eligible, it seems the money would be better spent on re-instating full wraparound services on school campuses. People in need should have easier access. 
  • Item 25: Future Bond -We need to rebuild some of our schools and update the HVAC systems in so many. But can we trust Mike Miles and the appointed board to manage a huge $4 Billion bond? No trust. No bond.
  • Item 26: Consideration and approval of minutes from previous meetings.

Save our schools. Miles Go Away.

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