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Forced pacing is an assault on our children. Unfortunately, it is front and center in Superintendent Mike Miles' takeover plan and is among the most harmful results of the Houston ISD takeover. It is as bad as the endless worksheets or the curriculum full of errors or inappropriate content like Prager U. It is as bad as Miles eliminating fully functioning libraries in 85 high-poverty schools. It is as bad as Special Education and bilingual laws violated at every turn and the culture of fear for teachers and parents.

The impact of forced pacing is that students begin to doubt their capacity to learn and end up hating school.

F Mike Miles believes that students should learn at the pace he decides; lock-step across the district. He views teachers and students as replaceable widgets, working on a factory assembly line. 

But teaching and learning are much more than that. The best teachers teach kids WHERE THEY ARE. When a teacher sees a student who clearly is not understanding, they help them. That is the basis of good teaching. Teaching is built on relationships, creativity, and inquiry, not shame. 

But Miles denies teachers the autonomy to reteach, pace to the needs of their students or find a different way to teach the same material. Under the Miles’ plan, when NES and NES-A teachers deviate from the lesson to accommodate student learning needs, they are reprimanded and rated as “bad teachers.”  In fact, it is the norm rather than the exception that teachers have been observed forty times since the beginning of the year to promote this factory model. 

Here is an example of what a factory model ninety-minute elementary school math period looks like.

Class starts at 8:00. Kids in the cafeteria are sent to the classroom at 7:40 am.

  • 7:45-8 am: The teacher is supposed to give restroom breaks, tutorials and check homework. Students are discouraged from going to the bathroom during the day during “bell to bell” instruction.
  • 8-8:35 am: The teacher provides whole group instruction about the lesson of the day.
  • 8:35 am: Students practice for ten minutes. The teacher helps students one-on-one or in pairs. For unfathomable reasons, Mike Miles discourages small group instruction.
  • 8:45-8:55: The students take a ten-minute Demonstration of Learning (DOL) test. The teacher is supposed to grade the DOL while the students are testing. At NES and NES-A elementary schools, students take a daily DOL in math, English, and the science of reading and every other day in science. 
  • 8:55: Students grab their packets according to their level. The L and S1 students get their packets and move to the front of the classroom to have the material re-taught in whole group instruction. The S2 and A students get their packets and go to the library (team center) to work on the packet independently for the next 35 minutes. 

Forced pacing harms our kids. Our children need to be nurtured, supported, and treated like people. 

Will you help fight for our kids? Visit houstoncvpe.org/events or houstoncvpe.org/state_takeover to get more involved.

Build community at the Saturday, 12/2 CVPE Potluck Holiday Party, 6-8 pm on Saturday at 6239 Queensloch 77096 (SW Hou.) Children are welcome.

Attend the Sunday, Dec 3, blockwalk for public education, 2-4 pm. Meet at 619 East 11 ½ St 77008.



Working Together to Strengthen Houston's Public School System