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The district just executed a classic negotiating tactic with its revised district of innovation plan. Ask for everything then pull back some so it feels like a win. We must not trust this administration. Miles makes promises he does not keep; lies about what he is doing, and the board of managers rubberstamp everything he proposes.


The district just executed a classic negotiating tactic with its revised district of innovation plan. Ask for everything then pull back some so it feels like a win. We should not trust this administration. Miles makes promises he does not keep and the board of managers rubberstamp everything he proposes. 

Here's the final version of the DOI proposal released on Friday. These include-

  • an exemption to use Miles’ bizarre teacher evaluation system. It will send teachers fleeing to other districts.
  • an exemption to hire uncertified teachers at the high school level. Note that the actual exemption to the state will allow uncertified teachers at every level. 
  • an extended school year with the "promise" of listening to teacher and parental feedback.
  • an exemption from the 75%/90% attendance rule; an exemption for college visits,
  • an exemption so that 70% of HISD professional development will be provided by Miles Admin team- mostly test prep, limiting campus-based training to less than what is required by state law. 

Sign up here by 5 pm TODAY (11/13) to speak in person or on zoom at the public session before the vote on Tuesday, November 14th, at 5 pm at HISD, 4400 W 18th.

Uncertified Personnel  

Districts have had the ability since 1995 to hire individuals  under “school district teaching permits’, they do not require teaching certifications but do require the commissioner’s  approval. This teaching permit is valid unless the district issuing the permit revokes it. These school district teacher permits allow for them to teach core subjects. (TEC 21.055)  

As for CTE (career, technical, education) positions, a law passed in 2015 allows districts to issue a school district  teaching permit to an uncertified person to teach a non-core  academic CTE course without having to seek approval from the commissioner. They just need a criminal background check and 20 hrs of classroom management training.  

The mechanism to allow for uncertified persons into the classroom already exists without becoming a District of  Innovation. So then why would a district pursue this  exemption? The benefits to the district eliminating certification requirements under a DOI is that they can also remove the requirement of parental notification. The district does not want to be transparent or accountable to parents.  

Many parents in the district do not know what a District of Innovation is nor that the District is pursuing it. They won’t know when it passes and they also won’t know when their kids have uncertified persons teaching them or that they’re in overcrowded classrooms. AND that is exactly how HISD & the Texas Education Agency want it.  Additionally, with a certification exemption, they can potentially hire personnel at a lower cost. 

Uncertified persons are not legally permitted to teach bilingual or SpEd students. People either do not know or forget that any student who has been promoted by a grade placement committee MUST by law be taught by a CERTIFIED teacher. Districts cannot seek an exemption to that law through DOI. Is the district really going to comb that closely to make sure they are following the law with these three student populations?

One of Dutton’s reasons for adding an amendment to HB1842 to allow for takeover -was his false claim that Kashmere High School had gone years without a certified math teacher. It is ironic that we have been taken over by the state and, now, the state wants to fill our  schools with uncertified teachers. It makes zero sense. We  want a quality well-rounded education for our kids taught by  qualified teachers with knowledge of pedagogy & child  development- what the state is offering is test prep  masquerading as an education. This is not enriching kids' education.  

It's important to note that there are more non-certified staff  teaching in high-poverty schools with large populations of  Black and Brown kids than on other campuses. And now this  would be giving the district a blank check to do more of that,  with no transparency or accountability. How is that  equitable? Whose kids are going to get the uncertified  persons and why does the DOI committee and/or DAC think  uncertified personnel are ok for other people’s kids? I am  sure Dr. Tran had certified qualified teachers. The members  of the DOI committee seem to be successful people in  THEIR given profession which is not education. You do not  see teachers telling medical doctors how to do their jobs but  yet here we have a doctor without the proper education or training trying to dictate how to best educate our children. 

Finally, the mechanism for seeking exemptions under state takeover does not allow for a modified exemption. The state will exempt Houston from certification requirements for all grade levels. In other districts, the elected school board provides checks and balances- some call them guardrails) that Houston ISD currently does NOT have. Another reason to vote no.

First Day of Instruction  

To use their rationale back at them- most school districts are DOIs and they use it for this exemption. It is long since past time for the law to be changed to allow the schools to begin anytime in August. We are not an agrarian society anymore. In fact, there are legislators who will be bringing a bill or an amendment to do just that. I take issue with this because  this decision is all solely based on testing, it is not about improving education.  

Minimum attendance for class credit or final grade 

The 90% rule is really the 75% rule. Kids absent between 10  days (90%) to 45 days (75%) can still receive credit. Districts already have flexibility in attendance for credit through an  attendance committee or a principal’s plan. The makeup requirement upsets parents because oftentimes the schools want kids to attend Saturday or summer school. But the schools have a  whole lot of flexibility on what constitutes makeup time. They can do lessons on Khan Academy, tutoring other kids, and go to an hour of after-school tutorials to make up time for days missed and learn in the process. 

It’s important to remember this is coming from a 2001 AG ruling- a LONG time before we went through the COVID  pandemic. School districts need to give students flexibility,  we don’t need to motivate families to send students sick to  school. Students and families should not be punished for  doing the right thing. So again- an exemption that isn’t needed because there is already flexibility.  

Teacher Appraisal Exception  

The rationale behind seeking this exemption is a word salad  that does not state exactly what part of Texas Education  Code section 21.352 they want exemption from. An  exception from state law is not necessarily needed in order  to use a local appraisal system. TEC 21.352 already allows  for districts to use a locally developed appraisal system,  districts may use T-TESS and P-TESS or they can follow  statutory procedures to adopt a local appraisal system. This  does not explain which of these procedures could not be utilized or why they do not want to pursue that route.  

Professional Development for teachers

“TEC 21.451 prescribes staff development described by Subsection (a) must be predominantly campus-based…and developed and approved by the campus-level committee established under Section 11.251.

Houston ISD seeks to change that only 30% of staff development will be campus-based and campus developed.  With the exemption, up to 70% of HISD professional development will be provided by Mr. Miles' and his “ team,” limiting campus-based professional development to 30%.

EXEMPTION REQUEST REMOVED FOR NOW: Parental Notification of Uncertified “Teachers”  The rationale and justification of this is laughable.  

“Providing written notice to parents and guardians is an  unfair assessment to otherwise competent, high-performing teachers who may have not yet received their certification.” If a person has never taught, how can we call them competent, high-performing teachers?  


Instead of working to make class sizes small, a move that  would improve education for children, the district wants to  exempt itself from class sizes. Districts have always been  able to get class size exemptions and as far as I’m aware  none of them have been denied. So then why seek this  

exemption? A district that exempts itself from class size TEC  25.112 is not required to provide notice of a TEA class size  waiver under section 25.113. The DOI plan does not even  mention that it will no longer provide notice to parents that  their child is in an overcrowded classroom. This plan is so  deceitful, conniving, and flat out dishonest. They know that  parents will probably miss that the TEA & BOM is trying to  push DOI through but parents do notice when they get a  letter sent home that their child is in an overcrowded  classroom. The BOM wants to operate in darkness and not  be held accountable or be transparent with families in HISD.  

EXEMPTION REQUEST REMOVED FOR NOW: Campus Behavior Coordinator  

Texas Education Code section 37.0012 requires school  districts to appoint a person at each campus to serve as  campus behavior coordinator with primary responsibility for  maintaining student discipline. The statute also requires the  campus behavior coordinator to promptly notify parents, by  telephone and in writing, when a student is suspended,  removed to a disciplinary alternative education program 

(DAEP) or a juvenile justice alternative education program  (JJAEP), or taken into custody by a law enforcement officer.  

DOI plan casually leaves off the part of 37.0012 that requires  the behavior coordinator to promptly notify parents by phone &  in writing when a student is suspended, removed to a  disciplinary alternative education program or juvenile justice  alternative education program or taken into custody by law  enforcement. I believe this is about not having to notify  parents, not being transparent or accountable and not  having to maintain records. The current law does not say  that principals cannot be held accountable nor say that  teachers and school staff can’t work collaboratively on  behavior. I think there is a running theme here: the TEA &  BOM wants to lie by omission to parents and community  members.  

They do not want us to know the qualifications of who is teaching our children, how many kids are in the  classroom, or if our kids get in trouble. This is so serious and wrong to deny parents these basic rights.  

The DOI Proposal survey received 792 responses. 516 parents, 245 teachers, the remainder identified as “other”. 96.2% said the DAC should NOT approve the DOI proposal while only 3.8% said the DAC should approve the DOI proposal.