Last Sunday evening, parents and teachers went door to door in Denver Harbor and Fifth Ward to talk about the harmful Texas Education Agency's takeover of Houston ISD and collect signatures for a petition against the district's new leadership.
Mike Miles is creating chaos at every turn while the Texas Education Agency and the governor are silent. He is harming our children and their future.
Will you help send Miles packing? Will you fight for our schoolchildren? Here are some ways you can fight the takeover.
This map of the locations of the NES and NES Aligned schools highlights how F Mike Miles is targeting families in the most under-resourced neighborhoods for his experiment.
It is truly a tale of two cities and Miles is making inequity worse. At NES and NES-A schools, libraries have been turned into Zoom Discipline Centers where advanced learners and children who can’t sit still are crammed together, sitting silent in a sea of desks that once was their library.
Teachers were told they cannot decorate their rooms with friendly, colorful posters, have cozy reading nooks or even class read alouds. Last month, Miles abruptly cut ties with Literacy Advance a nonprofit, which helps kids read on grade level. Magnet programs were eliminated and kickstart, band & fine arts have been gutted. At NES and NES-A schools, teachers using the scripted curriculum must perform a check for understanding every four minutes or be reprimanded. Sterile, cold and cookie cutter is an understatement. What mother wants this for their child?
At the teacher pre-service training starring Mike Miles, all teachers, including non-NES teachers, were told that they can no longer do sustained silent reading and must never shut their doors, even if kids are taking a test or writing and need to focus. Teachers can no longer allow students to do stream of consciousness free writing for any purpose. And, in an attack on First Amendment protects, teachers were told to be careful what they shared and liked on social media
One size does not fit all. This is especially true for students with disabilities. While HISD spent $166M more on special education than it received from the state between 2020 an 2022, Miles is taking the opposite position by gutting programs left and right. Special education and school psychologists contractors were terminated a week ago and now we find out that Miles also slashed autism services team, cutting the “lifeline” for special ed teachers days before start of class. He also dismantled the homeless department at Central Office.
Throughout the summer, F Mike Miles has repeatedly boasted he cut 700 Central Office staff to to help pay for the “$170M NES & NES-A price tag. The truth is that “HISD job cuts don't match sweeping rhetoric at all. “Most of the cuts were in lower-paying departments and nearly 100 more employees are raking in salaries exceeding $150,000, raising questions about the long-term viability of his expensive plans.”
Can we believe anything Miles says? While Miles has repeatedly stated that principals volunteered to join the NES program, it is becoming increasingly clear that he pressured most principals to join the NES-A program. Now principals who declined to participate are being pushed out. HISD parents, teachers were 'blindsided' after principals removed from 2 campuses days before school starts.
Recently, Superintendent Miles issued a gag order prohibiting employees from criticizing a school or Houston ISD on social media. After the American Federation of Teachers and HFT publicly threatened a first and fourteenth amendment lawsuit, Superintendent Miles backed off.
When we are united, we can be a powerful force to fight for our children and our schools. After Miles cut recess for elementary students and eliminated it completely for fifth graders, parents “Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles announced Tuesday that he would provide 30 minutes of recess for NES schools” Thirty minutes of elementary school recess is the bare minimum required by the state. Is this how low we have gone?
We want more people involved," Kravetz told the volunteers at last Sunday’s blockwalk. "Schools are supposed to be places where teachers feel respected, supported and valued, and students go home to their parents and say they learned something beautiful and new."
Join the fight for our children and the future of public education in Houston. Here is what you can do.
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